The Great Southern Route : 2013 - 2014
GSR | 117 As you head into the Bay of Islands, undoubtedly a top local holiday spot, the cafés and bars of the busy, fun towns of Russell and Paihia are balanced by two of New Zealand’s most historic settlements – Waitangi, where the document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed in 1840 to create one nation, and Kerikeri, home to New Zealand’s oldest stone building, the Stone Store, built in 1836. Take a day trip to the windswept west coast to see the largest Kauri tree still standing, Tane Mahuta, in the Waipoua Forest. Around Cape Brett and its iconic ‘hole in the rock’, you find Tutukaka and fantastic diving opportunities in the Poor Knights Island marine reserve. Through Whangarei Heads, you’ll find the northern city of Whangarei, while to the east lie the islands of Little Barrier and Great Barrier. Established as a nature reserve in 1895, Little Barrier Island is considered to be one of the most important reserves of its kind in the world with rare and endangered plants, birds and animals. Visitor numbers are limited and permits must be pre- arranged with the Department of Conservation. Great Barrier Island is also a special place with a small resident population of hardy, independent New Zealand’s small land mass and multiple islands lend themselves to a circumnavigation, although safe moorings for vessels over 35 metres are limited on the wind-swept west coast with Nelson and Fiordland the best western options. At the northern-most tip of New Zealand, the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean collide in a never-ending swell at Cape Reinga. Ninety Mile Beach stretches south down the western side of the narrow stretch known as the Far North while around to the east lies sandy Karikari Peninsula, where you’ll find New Zealand’s northern-most winery, Karikari Estate. The golden sands of Doubtless Bay lead along Coopers Beach to the seaside township of Mangonui and its world- famous Mangonui Fish Shop. The next stretch of coastline includes the many beautiful secluded bays of Wangaroa Harbour and the Cavalli Islands, areas where scuba diving, snorkeling and game-fishing are all likely to reward the keen diver or angler with the freshest scallops, crayfish (lobster), paua (abalone), snapper, kingfish or the world-class game fish which frequent these seas; tuna, marlin and swordfish. AS yOu SAIL along the many untouched stretches of New Zealand’s coastline, it’s easy to imagine the scenes that would have greeted Lt. (later Captain) James Cook when he charted this small country. Some say New Zealand’s landscapes remind them of the splendours of Canada on a smaller, more easily accessible scale. In the North Island, the semi-tropical nature of the far north transitions into pastoral farmland dotted with active and inactive volcanoes. Across Cook Strait, the South Island’s majestic mountain ranges border serene fiords and isolated high country before reaching Stewart Island’s prolific native birdlife and pristine bush. All of this set inside 15,134 kilometres of varied coastline makes New Zealand a natural home or destination for those aboard a sailing vessel of any size. Virtually all New Zealanders live within a three-hour drive of the ocean and, for those aboard sail and motor yachts, New Zealand offers an equally diverse cruising ground. Add in the rivers and lakes that abound in this temperate nation and the seafaring heritage that runs through the veins of the Maori, Europeans and Pacific Islanders who call New Zealand home, you’ll see why the locals love any sport or recreational activity that involves water. Whether you seek a scenic hour’s stroll or bike ride, or the exhilaration of completing a challenging five-day hike, you will find an extensive array of well-mapped walks all over New Zealand. Many are in the country’s 14 national parks, others are in urban locations. For more information, look on the Department of Conservation website, www.doc.govt.nz . NEW ZEALAND Small and Perfectly Formed By Kate Gordon Photography Tourism New Zealand Aotearoa New Zealand may be a small country, but with more than 15,000 kilometres of coastline and a hugely varied landscape, there is much to see and do in this beautiful country down-under.
2010 - 2011