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Liam Naden

New Zealand Travel

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Strange Taste Sensations from the Wild West Coast

Monday April 14, 2014

Hokitika Gorge near Hokitika, West Coast, South Island
Hokitika Gorge near Hokitika, West Coast, South Island
Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

Fancy a taste of stallion semen or crispy tarantulas? How about a couple of seagull eggs easy over? Believe it or not, all of things are not only edible, they're among the many strange food 'delicacies' that are featured at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival. Held each year in March, this event draws in big crowds each year, keen to sample some of the weirdest foods available in the country.

Hokitika is one of the small and characterful towns that dot the coastline on the West Coast of the South Island. In one of the most isolated parts of New Zealand, the people who live on the coast imbue the whole region with a unique character. This, along with the breathtaking scenery, makes the West Coast a great place to explore.

To discover more about Hokitika and the other towns of the West Coast, see:


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Fine Dining in Auckland

Thursday April 10, 2014

Auckland Sky Tower, Home to One of Auckland's Best Restaurants
Auckland Sky Tower, Home to One of Auckland's Best Restaurants
Image Courtesy of New Zealand Tourism/Ken Hansen

Fine dining does not have an especially long tradition in New Zealand. The first restaurant to serve wine with meals was only opened in the 1960s, when such a concept was regarded as a strange novelty. However, the growth in sophistication for dining has taken place alongside the development of the New Zealand wine industry.

The best fine dining restaurants are in Auckland and Wellington. Auckland has a very high standard of establishments, some of which have been operating for many years. If you are looking for somewhere for a special occasion, Auckland is a place which won't disappoint. I have created a list of what are regarded as the best of Auckland's fine dining restaurants. See the full list here:

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Treaty of Waitangi: New Zealand's Founding Document

Tuesday April 8, 2014

Interior, Maori Meeting House, Waitangi
Interior, Maori Meeting House, Waitangi
Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

Perhaps the most important event in New Zealand's history took place in 1840 with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. The treaty, between the local Maori people and the British Crown, is in fact New Zealand's founding document. It marked the beginnings of New Zealand and a British colony and a new nation. Today the Treaty of Waitangi still retains a great deal of significance in New Zealand law.

The Treaty is named after the small headland where it was first signed. 500 Maori chiefs and representatives from the British Crown gathered at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. Today the area is named the Treaty Grounds and it is well worth a visit if in the Bay of Islands.

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The Best of Auckland City

Saturday April 5, 2014

Auckland City
Auckland City
Image Courtesy of Tourism New Zealand

Auckland is the arrival and departure point for most visitors to New Zealand. As the largest city in New Zealand, there is a lot more on offer than you might expect of your typical major international city. It has a hugely diverse population, made up of many ethnic groups; there is a significant Pacific Island population, making Auckland the largest Polynesian city in the world.

Auckland is also home to the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere, the Sky Tower.  If you like to walk you can walk between the two oceans on either side of the city - the Pacific to the east and the Tasman Sea to the west - in less than four hours. You will pass some of Auckland's 48 volcanoes along the way.

Auckland is a unique and exciting city. Check out the highlights with my story:

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Remote New Zealand: South Island West Coast

Wednesday April 2, 2014

Buller Gorge, West Coast, South Island
Buller Gorge, West Coast, South Island
Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

If you're looking for the wild and remote New Zealand - with spectacular scenery - then several parts of the country are going to fit the bill. However, the place that New Zealanders themselves like to explore for its truly isolated feel is the West Coast of the South Island.

The West Coast has the lowest population density of anywhere in mainland New Zealand. There are only a few small towns scattered along its length of more than six hundred kilometers. It also takes an effort to get there: there are four roads to the coast, all of which are through the Southern Alps mountain range. However, once there you are rewarded with pristine forests, rivers, mountains and glaciers. For more information on the West Coast see:

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So You Want to Visit New Zealand?

Wednesday March 26, 2014

Please let me stay in New Zealand!
Please let me stay in New Zealand!
Image Courtesy of New Zealand Tourism/Julian Apse

Like most countries in the world, New Zealand has specific requirements for entry. Whether you are wanting to work or live here - or even just to enjoy a holiday - it pays to know what you will need to get into the country legally.

Fortunately, most of the requirements for holiday visitors are fairly simple and most people will have no problems at all when they arrive at a New Zealand airport. Working or living here can be present rather more complications, however.

For all of the details, consult my guide:

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Russell: The Hellhole of the Pacific

Monday March 24, 2014

Russell, Bay of Islands
Russell, Bay of Islands
Image Courtesy of Destination Northland

It is hard to believe that the quiet and romantic town of Russell in the Bay of Islands was once one of the most notorious and lawless towns in Australasia. So much so, it was nicknamed the "Hellhole of the Pacific". In the early 1800s the main street was a continuous strip of drinking houses and brothels, servicing the whalers and trading ships that called into its sheltered harbor.

Little remains of Russell's colorful past (apart from a few bullet holes in the local church). Today it is a lovely town to visit on a day trip from Paihia or Opua across the bay.

For more about Russell, including the best things to see and do, read:

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Climbing the Volcanoes in Auckland

Thursday March 20, 2014

Talk like a Kiwi in New Zealand
Auckland: City of Volcanoes
Image Courtesy of New Zealand Tourism

Visiting Auckland, you would hardly be aware that you are in what was once one of the most volcanically active parts of New Zealand. In fact, there are no fewer than 48 volcanoes scattered throughout the city. Fortunately they are all dormant and there have been no signs of any activity for a long time.

However, the volcanic remains do make for some interesting places to visit. Some are now lakes (such as Lake Pupuke) and others have been quarried for their scoria stone to the point where this is very little left other than a name. However, a few remain as prominent landmarks - great places to walk around and take in panoramic views of the city and beyond. To see which of Auckland's volcanoes are the best to explore, read:

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Home and Hosed in New Zealand

Sunday March 16, 2014

Talk like a Kiwi in New Zealand
Talk like a Kiwi in New Zealand
Image Courtesy of New Zealand Tourism/Jocelyn Carlin

Any idea what it means to be a "box of fluffy ducks"? Or what has happened to your car if it has "carked it"?

New Zealanders use a variety of unique expressions and slang terms and understanding them can help make a conversation with the locals great fun. I've created a guide to some of the more common slang terms and expressions you will hear in this country. So rattle your dags and read the following article and you'll be on the pig's back!

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Beaches of Auckland's West Coast

Wednesday March 12, 2014

The Wild Beaches of Auckland's West Coast
The Wild Beaches of Auckland's West Coast
Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

The west and east coasts of the North Island are dramatically different and nowhere is this more apparent than around Auckland. Auckland is a unique city, sitting on the intersection of two harbors and two coastlines. The West Coast is dominated by the Waitakere Ranges, a mountain chain that protects Auckland from the prevailing westerly wind. Below that are the long stretches of beach which face Australia across the Tasman Sea. They are windswept and rugged, with large seas and black sands.

Find out more about the beaches on the west coast of Auckland here:

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