Manawatu Gorge

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Manawatu Gorge is a spectacular geographical structure formed thousands years ago by the Manawatu River, the main river in Manawatu-Wanganui region. Manawatu Gorge is only 15-20 minute drive from Palmerston North city. The gorge is popular with jet-boaters, kayakers, walkers and campers (credit to DK Eyewitness Travel New Zealand & wiki). Shuttles from Palmy to the gorge (vice versa) are available from the Palmy I-Site in summer.

The most popular walking track is the Manawatu Gorge Track, a 10.1 km or 3-5 hour track one way, from Manawatu Gorge East to West (or West to East). My classmates and I did the East to West track in late autumn 2014 so it was pretty cold. The following year, my friend and I did the opposite (West to East) in early summer.

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Rivendell ~ Kaitoke

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Kaitoke Regional Park, located only about 13 km from Upper Hutt City, is one of the important locations during the Lord of The Rings Trilogy filming. “Rivendell” or Elven Town, where Lord Elrond, Lady Arwen and other beautiful elves live, was filmed in the park. The Ford of Isen, the place of the battle between Saruman and the Rohirrim (of Rohan), was also filmed in the Kaitoke Regional Park (credit to gw.govt.nz/Rivendell).

Thanks to Ickel & Ruddy who brought me to this amazing world of Rivendell during my winter break. If you are fans (or not fans but curious about “Rivendell”) of the LOTR and Hobbit trilogy (like I am), you should visit this awesome place.

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Kimbolton ~ Cross Hills

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Cross Hills Gardens + Nursery is a garden that features one of the world’s finest collections of rhododendrons and azaleas. It is located in Kimbolton, 40 minute drives from Palmerston North. Cross Hills Gardens + Nursery opens every day September – May 10.30am to 5pm, but it is best to visit the garden around October – November (spring season) where most rhododendrons are in full bloom. Check out their website here for more information.

I went there with my friends during our end of semester trip. Most rhododendrons were blooming beautifully. I did enjoy and admire the beauty of rhododendrons and this amazing garden.

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Muriwai, Piha and Karekare

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Located in Auckland’s west coast, Piha and Muriwai Beaches, also Karekare Falls, are favourite tourist destinations for many Aucklanders especially during holiday seasons. Muriwai Beach is home to a colony of thousands of Australian gannets. The best time to see them is around December and March because it is their breeding season and we can meet many cute chicks^^. Piha, a black-sand beach is famous for surfing in summertime. Karekare Beach is famous as the shooting location of “The Piano” but that time we went to Karekare Falls which is famous for swimming and picnic spots (credit to DK Eyewitness Travel New Zealand).

Thanks a lot to our friend Lynsey who brought us to these amazing places during our Christmas holiday.  That time was perfect because we met so many cute and lovely Australian gannet chicks^^. Before, we had no idea that the busy city Auckland has these beautiful and quiet places – perfect for holidays. Most of the visitors are locals so I hope in the future these places are not only popular for locals but also for tourists from all over the world.

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Waiheke Island

 

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Waiheke Island is rated as the fifth best destination in the world to visit in 2016 by Lonely Planet and voted as the fourth best island in the world in the Condé Nast Best Islands in the World List. It is located near Auckland in the Hauraki Gulf and also the second largest Island in the gulf (after Great Barrier Island). Waiheke Island is famous for its beautiful white sand beaches and vineyards (credit to Wikipedia). Thanks to my friend Lynsey for bringing us to this super awesome place during our summer study break (Christmas holiday) and Sue for your amazing pictures (you are a good photographer).

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Feilding

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Feilding (not Fielding) is a small town, only 30 minutes (by bus) or 15 minutes drive from Palmerston North. The town is named after William Feilding who settled in the area in 1870s.

3 Facts about Feilding (credit to Feilding official website):

  • Feilding is 14 times winner of New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Town
  • Feilding Farmers’ Market is 3 times winner of New Zealand’s Market of The Year 2012, 2013 and 2014
  • Feilding Livestock Centre is one of the largest saleyards in the Southern hemisphere.

I used to visit Feilding quite often, as it is quite close to Palmy, where I used to live. If you come to Palmy don’t forget to visit Fielding as well.

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Ruapehu, Tongariro & Ngauruhoe

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Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Doom are three volcanic mountains located within Tongariro National Park, the first in the world as the UNESCO World Heritage Status for both its natural (1990) and Maori spiritual and cultural value (1993). The national park is very famous for skiing and snowboarding in winter as well as walking, tramping and mountain climbing in other seasons (credit to DK Eyewitness Travel New Zealand). Two most famous ski-fields in North Island, Whakapapa and Turoa, are located at Mt Ruapehu. Happy Valley in Whakapapa ski-field is very family-friendly. Not only for skiing and snowboarding for professionals, it is also a great place for kids for tobogganing, making “Snowman” or just playing with snow. North Island is not like South Island, which the latter usually has lot of snow in winter. Therefore, Ruapehu is like a winter escape for most people in North Island.  I used to come to the park mostly as part of my university club activities in autumn and winter.

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Devonport

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A North Shore suburb, only a 10-minute ferry ride from Auckland, Devonport is famous for its Victorian architecture. Devonport has associated with Royal New Zealand Navy since 1941. The Naval Heritage can be seen at the Navy Museum in Devonport (credit to DK Eyewitness Travel New Zealand). When I came there during my autumn holiday, I saw a Dog Parade in Devonport which was amazing (I also saw my favourite dogs – Golden Retriever at the parade).

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Auckland

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The largest city in New Zealand with around 1.4 million inhabitants, Auckland is famous for the panoramic views of the city, harbour and outer islands. Main attractions include The Waterfront with its many shops, historic buildings, restaurants and bars. The most famous landmark is The Sky Tower, the tallest building in New Zealand which can be seen from many sides from Auckland City and Port Harbour. Central Auckland itself has been built around 14 extinct volcanoes, now becomes famous tourist attraction including One Tree Hill, Auckland Domain and Mount Eden Domain. Auckland is also a heaven for shoppers – Queen Street, Ponsonby, Parnell and Newmarket are just a few of many shopping areas in Auckland (credit to DK Eyewitness Travel New Zealand and Wikipedia). I have been there several times as I have a few friends studies in Auckland.

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Rotorua

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North Island’s most popular destination, Rotorua town centre located on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua. Rotorua is home for many thermal activity, healing mineral pools, adventure activities and beautiful lakes, rivers and crystal springs. As the heartland of Maori culture, visitors can experience Maori art, architecture, song and dance and cultural performances in several Maori Villages in Rotorua. We can enjoy the beauty of the city from Mount Ngongotaha in which Skyline Skyrides located (credit to Skyline Skyrides, Mitai Maori Village and DK Eyewitness Travel New Zealand). I visited Rotorua twice during my autumn and summer holidays.

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