Wednesday June 12, 2013
New Zealand's Mighty Kauri Tree
Image Courtesy of New Zealand Tourism
Imagine a tree that is 51 meters (168 feet) high, 14 meters (45 feet) in girth and estimated to be nearly 2,500 years old. Such is the awe-inspiring kauri tree in the Waipoua forest in Northland, New Zealand. It is known to the Maori people as Tane Mahuta, god of the forest.
It is the largest known living example of New Zealand's most majestic native tree, the kauri. These mighty trees once covered much of the North Island. However, due to extensive clearing of the forests by European settlers from the early 1800s, the number of trees has been reduced to a fraction of the original.
Nevertheless, the kauri is a stunning sight to behold and a must-see on any visit to the North Island of New Zealand. For more information on the kauri, including the best places to see them, read:
Saturday June 8, 2013
Skydiving in New Zealand
Image Courtesy of NZOne Skydive
Kiwis have a thing about jumping from high places and flying through the air. After all, this was the country that started the craze for bungy jumping. With all the great scenery (in every part of New Zealand), it's inevitable therefore that another very popular 'sport' is parachuting or skydiving.
There are many places in both the North and South Islands where someone will willingly assist you to step out of an aeroplane at up to 20,000 feet from the ground. Of course you will have a parachute strapped to your back - and also usually an experienced jumper who will make sure you remember to pull the ripcord at the right time (or do it for you).
Humor aside, a skydive will give you some incredible views of New Zealand, as well as provide an adrenalin thrill. For many people it's a highlight of their visit to the country.
For more information on the best places to try a skydive see:
Wednesday June 5, 2013
The New Zealand Kiwi Bird
Image Courtesy of New Zealand Tourism
The kiwi bird from New Zealand is not only one of the most unique birds in the world, it is also one of the most elusive. This is for a number of reasons. It is naturally shy and, being nocturnal, is only active at night. However, perhaps the greatest single factor is the huge reduction in the population, caused by predators introduced into the country such as the stoat and the opossum.
It's possible so see a kiwi in the wild in a few places around New Zealand (see: Where to See the Kiwi in the Wild in New Zealand). However the easiest and most certain way is to visit a kiwi house or sanctuary. These are places where kiwis live in captivity, in conditions designed to mimic their natural habitat.
There are a number of kiwi houses and sanctuaries in New Zealand, some of them attached to zoos. A trip to New Zealand wouldn't be complete without a glimpse of our most loved national symbol, the kiwi. For a list of kiwi houses and sanctuaries in New Zealand read:
Saturday June 1, 2013
Winter in New Zealand: Cold Snow and Hot Jazz
Image Courtesy of New Zealand Tourism/Chris McLennan
The Wellington Jazz Festival is one of the highlights on the musical calendar in New Zealand. Wellington prides itself as the cultural capital of the country and this Jazz Festival attracts jazz musicians and fans from around the world.
The 2013 festival is being held from 6 - 8 June at a variety of venues around the city. Featured performers include Chucho Valdes (Cuba) and Cassandra Wilson (United States), both winners of multi Grammy awards.
The Wellington Jazz Festival is one of a number of events being held in New Zealand during the month of June. June also marks the beginning of winter and the fun of skiing, snowboarding and other outdoor winter sports.
Read more about what is going on in New Zealand during the month of June: