Four Ways to Discover the Wild Side of Middle Earth
“Long before director Peter Jackson selected his home country as the filming location for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy, New Zealand was known for its raw wild beauty,” writes Debbie Olsen in an article for The Calgary Herald.
“Exploring New Zealand’s quaint and quirky metropolitan centres is a must, but every visitor should save a little time to see the wild side of the place that has come to be known as ‘Middle Earth.’”
- Find a kiwi
Seeing a Kiwi “in the wild can be a bit of a challenge.” “Of the five recognized species of these small flightless birds, two are vulnerable, one is endangered and one is critically endangered,” writes Olsen. Despite their rarity, there are a few places on the islands where you can almost always see a kiwi. One of those is Zealandia “an eco-attraction and a 225-hectare nature sanctuary outside of Wellington” – another is on a Kiwi Discovery Walk at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers Resort near Hawke’s Bay on the east coast of the North Island.
- Bike the Redwood forest
“Uutside Rotorua in the Whakarewarewa Forest, Californian Redwood trees tower above everything else,” writes Olsen. With more than 140-kilometres of purpose-built mountain bike trails in the area with tracks for all levels from beginner to advanced riders Whakarewarewa Forest is considered one of the top mountain biking destinations in the world.
- Take a hike
According to Olsen “hiking is one of the best ways to experience New Zealand’s awe-inspiring scenery first-hand”. “New Zealand has a well-developed trail system and beautiful day hikes lie right outside most major centres. The Department of Conservation has also designated nine Great Walks that encompass première tracts of wilderness in some of the country’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.”
- Go on a wildlife tour
Take a guided tour to get closer to New Zealand’s wildlife. Olsen recommends swimming with wild dolphins in the warm waters of the Bay of Islands, riding “an inner tube through a series of glow worm caves in Waitomo”, getting up close to rare yellow-eyed penguins, Hooker’s sea lions, New Zealand fur seals and little blue penguins on the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin and visiting Cape Kidnappers Gannet Reserve near Hawke’s Bay.
Article Source: The Calgary Herald, Debbie Olsen, July 29, 2017
Image Source: Pixabay