first week of the new year was filled with adventures and new acquaintances. I spent a fair amount of time exploring cities in the Netherlands: going from café to café, from bookstore to bookstore and occasionally to a botanical garden or museum.
Natural wonders, wildlife and historical sites – the world is a truly spectacular place to explore. If there is one place that no visitor to New Zealand should miss, it is Rotorua. Set in a tranquil lake studded basin among forested hills, the town is centre for a region where one surprise follows another. Geysers spout 50 ft or more into the air, bubbling cauldrons spit out mud and steam vents hiss to an all-pervading stench of sulphur.
The green rolling landscapes of the Waikato Region that lies to the south of Auckland form some of the most fertile land in New Zealand, yet this is one region in particular which holds more than just surface appeal… literally. For Waikato also boasts an extensive labyrinth of underground caverns that formed millions of years ago and are now a major tourist attraction.
Essentially forming a region of its own, the Central Plateau is New Zealand’s main volcanic area largely made up of national parks, which are perfect for exploration. Tongariro National Park is the focus, comprising moonscape craters, lush native forest, lava formations and crystal clear rivers and lakes as well as the imposing volcanoes of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. Ruapehu is the country’s most active volcano, spectacularly erupting in 1995, although several minor eruptions have occurred since.