[ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ][ Ships Daily ] [ Underlining/Highlighting: NONE ] [ Writing: NONE ] [ Edition: sixth ] Publisher: Fodor's Pub Date: 12/12/2000 Binding: Paperback Pages: 288 sixth edition. Bookseller Inventory #
Synopsis: Fodor's New Zealand 6ed"Fodor's guides cover culture authoritatively and rarely miss a sight or museum." - National Geographic Traveler
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Destination New Zealand
The promise of fabulous scenery is what brings most travelers to New Zealand, and it's hard to imagine anyone coming away disappointed. Alone, the spectacle of Mt. Cook reflected in Lake Matheson at sunrise is worth the trip, and similarly dramatic views of steaming geysers, the island-strewn coast, crystal-clear fjords, and dense, ferny rain forests reveal themselves at almost every turn. You can fish, kayak, rock climb, and otherwise exert yourself on countless outdoors adventures -- or just take it easy, sipping wine in the Marlborough vineyards, soaking up the atmosphere at a Maori hangi (feast), or simply exploring cosmopolitan Auckland or prettily British Christchurch. The open-hearted Kiwi hospitality you find at every corner of this amazing nation is an unexpected pleasure, and it adds a special shine to every experience -- however you spend your time.
When Aucklanders introduce their city, they tend to concentrate first on what's outside it. For starters, the talk usually turns to the coastal views and multitude of beaches that lie within an easy drive of the city, many in the undulating countryside of Northland. Then come the boasts of the lush, rolling hills that run down to the sand and sea of the Bay of Islands. Next, you'll be steered to the historic Treaty House, set in the lovely Waitangi National Reserve, where the native Maoris signed the Treaty of Waitangi and ceded New Zealand to the British in 1840. When the conversation finally turns to Auckland itself, the advice is inevitably to begin a tour with a boat ride on Waitemata Harbour, where it's easy to understand why residents of the so-called "City of Sails" prefer boats to cars. Back on land, a stroll through leafy "suburbs" (as neighborhoods are called here) provides glimpses of cosmopolitan pleasures -- picture-gazing at the Auckland Art Gallery, admiring the products of New Zealanders' horticultural genius at the Wintergardens, or watching young rugby fans cheer on the Kiwis' favorite team, the All Blacks.
Upper South Island
As you ferry across Cook Strait and near the rock-faced entrance to South Island at labyrinthine Marlborough Sounds, you're entering a realm of jagged mountain peaks and desolate seascapes, a land far less mellow than North Island. Even so, you might take South Island to be almost gentle if you were to begin by wine-tasting your way through inland Marlborough and Blenheim, where vines producing striking pinot noirs and merlots rise toward the mountain ranges that are omnipresent on the island's horizon. In the Nelson region, in the northwest, you find balmy weather, sunny skies, and Abel Tasman National Park, whose idyllically cove-notched shore and rugged Coastal Track attract travelers all year long. A taste for adventure comes in handy on the wild, primeval West Coast, whose fantastic, mazelike Pancake Rocks typify the area's surreal terrain. The rocks are the geological manifestation of the fogs and constant, wind-driven rains that have also, inevitably, made their mark on the forlorn landscape and on the hardy character of the locals. Inland is Fox Glacier, one of several dozen that squeak, creak, groan, and gurgle as they edge down the mountainsides in Westland National Park at a rate of up to 3 ft a day. The ongoing crush of thousands of tons of ice makes hiking a risky business and a good guide a necessity. At Lake Matheson, nature relaxes (somewhat) and offers up what's often called the "view of views" -- a claim that lives up to every bit of its promise.
Christchurch and Lower South Island
Natural wonders never cease on Lower South Island. In fact, it just gets more amazing as you move south from the high-country grassland near 12,283-ft Aoraki (Mt. Cook) to Fiordland National Park, the nation's largest, where 5,560-ft Mitre Peak shoots straight up from rockbound Milford Sound. A cruise into this long, deep canyon leaves every traveler awestruck, and the four-day trek along the preserve's famous, lush Milford Track -- past waterfalls and glowworm caves -- may well be, as Kiwis attest, the "finest walk in the world," though the region's Kepler, Hollyford, and Routeburn tracks are all glorious as well. Not that your heart won't have taken a few extra beats by the time you get this far south. This is especially true if you dare to attach a bungy cord to your ankles and plunge headfirst from the Kawarau Suspension Bridge near the former gold-mining center of Arrowtown or sample some of the other extreme sports that have made Queenstown New Zealand's adventure capital. Once you're accustomed to the South Island wilds, Christchurch may take you by surprise, with its trim brick houses, church spires, and gentle, willow-shaded River Avon, a stream ideal for genteel punting. This lovely place is said to be the most English city outside England. The surefire antidote to its civility? Head farther south to Stewart Island, the most southerly of New Zealand's trio of main islands. Remote, raw, and untouched even by New Zealand standards, it's a good place to see the natural nighttime light show known as the aurora australis; it's also the surest place to encounter a kiwi bird in the wild.
Title: Fodor's New Zealand, 6th Edition: Where to ...
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