My Top 5 Favourite things in New Zealand by Jasper
We arrived at Auckland in New Zealand for the start of our big adventure. Mum and dad told us we only had a couple of weeks and had lots planned. The first day was mums birthday so we went to a cafe for her birthday lunch and there was a helicopter which we sat in. We did a tonne of driving in New Zealand but these were my favourites places in New Zealand:
1) Seeing the Birds in New Zealand
I enjoyed how inquisitive some of the birds were. We saw lots of birds while we were out walking. We saw the New Zealand Robin, Tui, Kaka, paraqueets, Kite/Hawks, Royal Albatross and a Pukeko.
But my favourite bird was the Kea. We stopped at a viewing point on our way to Arthurs Pass and found these birds wandering around. One was so close that Ethan and I could touch it – but we didn’t. They were friendly. A few more arrived while we were there, but one had only one eye.
Most of them had bracelets around their feet (some didn’t) – these were their tags to keep track of them. You have to look carefully to spot them in this picture!
We also visited a Bird Sanctuary in Te Anau where we got to see live Kaka chicks. There was a feeding session which we joined, one morning.
The lady asked if we could help her feed the Takahe. I like how the Takahe always come when you have food and then you have to try and shoo them away – they were a little cheeky.
We also fed the ducks, who got a little excited when we got the food out and tried to bite our fingers!!
2) Whale Watching in Kaikoura
Before we went on the boat we had to listen to a safety briefing on the TV. After this, we got on a bus to take us to the boat which took us out to sea. The first thing we saw was what we were looking for – a Sperm Whale!! It was amazing! We watched it do the fluke (tail in the air).
At the same time we also saw a few Royal Albatross flying around. They were mahoosive!
The lady who was looking for the sperm whales put a huge microphone (called a hydrophone) into the water, which takes in the sounds that the sperm whales are making.
By listening she knew which direction they were coming from and when they were coming to the surface. The boat raced to the next stop and another Sperm Whale popped up to the surface.
After that we headed across the bay and found a huge pod of Common Dolphins. They were jumping, flipping and generally breaching for air. They looked like they were having a ‘whale of a time!’ – ha ha!
Sperm Whale Facts that I learned: sperm whale don’t taste their food. They can swallow a great white shark WHOLE! They don’t chew their food. Males are the only ones we saw because they have thick layer of blubber. Therefore it’s too cold for the females in this water
3) Luging at the top of Bobs Peak
Mum and Dad told us we were taking up a big mountain behind Queenstown, called Bobs Peak. The walk was tiring because it was all uphill and you had to climb at times. But luckily Ethan and I found some short cuts. We were watching some of the mountain bikers flying down the mountain.
On the way up we saw people riding on the ziplines through the trees. Further up we heard people doing the bungy jumps too. When we reached the top we found there was a Luge Track so Ethan, Dad and I went on it – it was good fun. I only went on once, because I saw the red track and it was quite steep.
We also had an ice-cream from the cafe at the top – yummy!
4) Rotorua Maori Village (dancing & smelly lakes)
It has a lovely tour around the village.
People still live there and use the geothermal activity as ovens, baths and cooking most of their food.
They also grow their own vegetables. There was a small house and we learned that the men stand guard outside, while the women and children sleep. After our tour we could roam around the village, there are lots of shops which sell real jade.
We also went to have a look at the Geyser, one was called the starter geyser which was only small and went up to 15 metres into the air. The larger one could go up to 30m!
We also watched a live performance of local Maori music and dancing. We even saw them doing the Hakka. It was good to use a few hours up.
5) Hot Water Beach & HaHei & Cathederal Cove
During our travels in North Island we stayed at a campsite near HaHei Beach, which was beautiful. We really enjoyed playing at that beach. But while we were there we also visited a couple of other beaches. Firstly, Hot Water Beach – which was my favourite beach!
You have to dig a hole and try and get into a Geothermal stream with boiling water, but you can’t have too much of it otherwise it would be too hot. You also can’t have too much cold otherwise it would feel like the sea.
We went one morning and it was really busy! We struggled to find a spot, but someone gave us their’s since they were leaving. We asked Mum & Dad to go back that night and we found a perfect spot and there was a boiling stream near so we could add more hot whenever we needed! We also helped other people make their hot pool and diverted our stream to theirs.
The other beach we visited was Cathedral Cove. We had to walk for about an hour and a half to reach it. It was a medium to hard walk, as it was sooo hot and a little up hill.
When we got there we all jumped into the sea and played in the waves to cool off.
New Zealand was great, I’d highly recommend for all ages. It was a great place to visit with lots of outdoor activities. Although I was a little tired of all the walking by the end.
Thanks for reading!