Take the Kids to New Zealand

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The Land of the Long, White Cloud, (or should it now be’ Middle-earth’), New Zealand is a fabulous country to visit with a family.  An astonishingly beautiful slice of land, one of the main reasons to visit New Zealand is for the spectacular scenery; from the beaches and volcanoes of North Island to the mountains and crashing surf of the South Island, New Zealand is a geographical wonderland.

Tourism in New Zealand is geared up for high adrenaline sports (and ‘Ring’ enthusiasts!), you can white water raft, jet boat, bungee jump, take part in mountain go-karting (?) and any number of other terrifying activities.  If you prefer a more sedate pace, then the wine country is a great place to visit, or you can hire a van and travel the roads less travelled.  It might feel strange to fly half way around the world and find red post boxes and Scottish churches, not to mention Arthurian curiosity shops and devonshire cream, but all of this British culture is laid on top of a remote Maori island, with exotic, extraordinary wildlife and a fascinating indigenous culture.  You need time to explore this land properly, but if you do, New Zealand cannot be recommended highly enough (although you will shudder at the word ‘hobbit’ for a while to come).

 To Eat –

Although once famed for nurturing the over cooked meat and two veg. style of English cooking, recently New Zealand cuisine has found its feet.  Pacific Rim cuisine is increasingly popular here and modern New Zealand cooking combines Old World meat, (lamb, mutton, beef) or fabulous fresh fish with flavours drawn from the East.  A typical Kiwi menu is eclectic to say the least; seafood linguine, Thai meatballs, lamb hotpot, but imaginatively cooked with a Kiwi twist.  Wines are superb of course and Kiwis excel at puddings.                                                                                                                                                                                                      To do –

Go on a walking trail, it’s the best way to experience the beauty of New Zealand.  We recommend the Routeburn Trail, not too difficult for children and features spectacular waterfalls, ancient forest, mountain views (interesting huts to sleep in!) and great bird life.

 Visit the touristy Queenstown as the water sports on offer are wonderful.  You can jet boat the steep narrow rivers around Hamilton, or white water raft, there really is something for everyone here (although its very expensive to stay in Queenstown). Take the ferry between the two islands, ending up in Picton; it’s a fabulous, exciting boat ride.  You can then continue on through the wine lands near Marlborough or head towards the walking trails or skiing around Nelson.  Visit the Karori Sanctuary.  This is a beautiful area of land near Wellington where conservationists are attempting to recreate the land before mammals (and humans) were introduced.  It’s full of extraordinary (and tame) bird life and ancient plant life.

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