Apart from the extreme sports up in the sky and down undersea, there is a relaxing side to New Zealand. The warm month of Christmas is best enjoyed by exploring the country’s exquisite scenery on the road. It is an experience of calmness and serenity.
Mobile luxurious homes
December to February mark the best months for camping in New Zealand thanks to the mild weather. There are many car rental companies in big cities on both the North and South Islands. If a reservation is made beforehand, the car will be driven to area close to the airport before the visitor’s arrival, making it easy for travellers.
For a trip to explore the nature, a deluxe RV (recreation vehicle) is the way to go. These RVs are akin to mobile luxurious homes, with usual dimensions of 7 m long, 3 m high and 2 m wide. They are spacious and equipped with a range of facilities. Depending on the number of passengers (2-7 people), they come in different settings: usually a comfortable double bed, cosy couch, toilet, shower room, basin, gas stoves and basic kitchen utensils.Staying in a RV like this does not feel too different from being in a hotel room or apartment. All facilities in the vehicle can be folded away and the care to details in the design can be seen in every corner.
There are designated areas in New Zealand to park camping vans, with many of them located at popular tourism attractions. The sites are equipped with power lines, water supply and sewage disposal. Just following some basic instructions, campers can connect the pipelines to their RVs easily. With supermarkets or convenient stores near parking areas in big cities, you can restock food to cook in the kitchen or barbecue using the facilities stored in the vehicle.
The official travel website of New Zealand provides information for routes around the North and South Islands. They take approximately 4 to 20 days. It is best to download the map and check the distance, time needed and route numbers before departure. Together with GPS navigation on board,it is quite easy to travel around without getting lost. Besides that, many local mobile apps also offer information of RV parking spots. Drivers may take reference from those while planning the route.
Sleep Under the Starry Night
自駕遊的“ 彩蛋”，每每就是公路兩旁的美景，讓開車的您都不愁寂寞。新西蘭主要分為南島和北島，其中南島相當受旅客歡迎。很多人自駕游，都是由基督城出發到南島中部美絕的雪山庫克山，繼而到訪著名的蒂加波湖。蒂加波這個名字，來自毛利語的“ 睡蓆”和“ 夜晚”，合起來帶出了“ 在星空下入眠”的意思，也讓名字更加充滿詩意。這裡的風光與名字一樣，充滿著詩情畫意，日間欣賞土耳其藍的湖色和遍地魯冰花，晚上在這個全球最大的星空保護區，在光害極低的環境下欣賞整片璀璨的星空，留在舒適的房車上，欣賞南半球常年能看到的“ 南十字星”，或者拍攝獨一無二的星空和星軌，絕對會令人流連忘返。跟南島一水之隔的第三大島斯圖爾特島，天然環境下棲息著豐富的稀有物種，甚至有黃眼企鵝和小藍企鵝，有幸跟牠們相遇的話，絕對是非常珍貴的經歷。
One of the best things about road trips is that the exquisite scenery on the way. New Zealand mainly consists of the North and South Islands, with the southern one being more popular with tourists. Road trips on the South Island usually start in Christchurch, towards the snowy Mount Cook, then stop at the famous Lake Tekapo. The name Tekapo derives from the Maori words taka (sleeping mat) and po (night). When you combine the two, the name magically gives a much more romantic and poetic feel: “falling asleep under the starry night”. The poetic name is an apt description of the idyllic scenery.
During the day, the lake displays a turquoise colour, around which lush lupines cover the ground. The area has the largest Dark Sky Reserve in the world. The low light pollution make it an exceptional site for stargazing. Here you can easily find the Crux, also known as the Southern Cross, which is visible at anytime of the year on the Southern Hemisphere. That can be enjoyed in the comfort of the RV, or outside where an unique star trek picture can be taken. Just across the South Island is the third largest island of the country – Stewart. It is home to many rare species, such as yellow-eyed penguins and blue penguins. The encounter with them is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience.
As the RV continues to head south, one will reach the Te Anau Glowworm Caves in the world heritage site, Te W hipounamu. The route along the sea offers splendid views, some even call it the “paradise route”. Upon reaching Queenstown, one can visit the countryside and taste some wine at the vineyards, or hike up the hill in Wanaka for a panoramic view of the lake. There is a farm of the size of 8,000 football pitches nearby, where visitors can have close encounter with sheep and llamas.
For a trip on the North Island, before you leave Auckland, why not drive up to the peak of dormant volcano Mount Eden? On the way to Lake Taupo for a tranquil experience, you can also find other attractions such as filming locations of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, as well as the farms in Rotorua.There are a vast range of activities to suit all interests.
It is surely a lovely experience to admire the beauty of nature, but some people may want to try to conquer it as well. There are areas in New Zealand where hunting is legal. You may test your shooting skills with a hunting rifle. Usual targets include red stags, elks, fawns, chamois, wild boars, wild goats and rams. There are also sika deer, which are known for their speed, and sambar deer. Fast reaction is the key.
Licenced hunting companies often offer taster trips of 2-8 days. For the two-day trips, participants will first learn about rifle handling skills, and then head to the hunting ground in Lake Taupo for practice. If you shot an animal, a photo will be arranged as far as it is safe. No fee is charged. During the trip, participants will stay at a comfortable resort. The eight-day trip allows participants to train while practising, so they will be more familiar with shooting with a rifle. There is even a hunting trip in the forest on the fourth day. Such a one-of-a-kind travel experience.
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