The Far North

The Far North

There’s a magnetic quality to New Zealand’s Far North. The people and place exude a raw energy that seems as timeless as the primeval landscape. For the traveller, the journey to the point where two worlds meet calls with an insistence that cannot be ignored, and every encounter on the way brings unexpected sights and friendships that are somehow deeply familiar.

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Golden Bay - Farewell Spit to Takaka

Golden Bay - Farewell Spit to Takaka

At the northern-western tip of the South Island, where the mountainous Wakamarama Range rolls down to meet Golden Bay’s turquoise horseshoe, a long narrow spit of sand curves into Cook Strait like a chalky overgrown fingernail against a blue blackboard.

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Abel Tasman Time

Abel Tasman Time

Abel Tasman time. What a different pace. After a few days here your biorhythms fall under the spell of the rolling tides, the glorious sunsets, and the warblings of tui and bellbird, which greet you joyously every morning.

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Raglan's Raglan and Kawhia's Cool

Raglan's Raglan and Kawhia's Cool

Surf's up when we arrive in Raglan. We haven't yet seen the ocean but it's easy to tell because there's zillions of surfboard-clad vehicles all vying for a park on the main street, where salty individuals lounge outside cafés. Nearby at Manu Bay, famous for its left-hand break, the surf pounds in. Every summer surfers from around the globe compete here in the international surfing competition so we're not surprised to see locals making the most of the good swell.

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Memories of Mokau

Memories of Mokau

When you’re a kid, the perfect holiday mix includes plenty of sand and sea, ice creams as big as your head, BBQ bangers and toasted marshmallows, and a good dose of exciting yet educational local activities organised by Mum and Dad, who are eager to inspire and create those never-to-be-forgotten ‘first time’ experiences.

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Riding the Gentle Annie from Napier to River Valley

Riding the Gentle Annie from Napier to River Valley

Sometimes shortcuts don’t work out as planned. A new pathway transforms itself into an epic journey through a scenic wonderland of interesting diversions … and in short, there’ll be nothing short about it. And so it was with the Gentle Annie, mere centimetres of meandering yellow line on the map leading from the summery brown and windswept plains of Hawke’s Bay through to the Central Plateau.

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Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

A visit to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves is something of a rite of passage for young New Zealanders. The caves were first explored in 1887 by a local, Tane Tinorau, accompanied by an English surveyor, Fred Mace. They entered the caves via the Waitomo Stream, negotiating their way underground on a raft built from flax stems.

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Waitomo's Cave of the Spirit

Waitomo's Cave of the Spirit

Stars twinkle in the inky blackness, constellations never before seen, emitting beams of light tinged with green. A myriad galaxies swirl by, like so many Milky Way’s, with such dizzying regularity that I’m starting to wonder if I’m not on some intercosmic mission.

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Trout fishing Lake Rotorua

Trout fishing Lake Rotorua

Sunlight glances off Lake Rotorua. Beneath its glassy surface some three metres below, brown and rainbow trout undulate sensuously. We’re 200 metres or more from the mouth of the Ngongotaha Stream and the flies on our lines gently pulse as we troll back and forth.

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