Tag Archives: Blog4NZ

The Christchurch Botanical Gardens

Christchurch Botanical Gardens entrance

In January and early February when I was in Christchurch I spent time almost every day in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens to take photos, get some running in and to just relax and take in the view. I’ve heard the devastating earthquake on February 22nd did some damage to the buildings and statues, some trees were knocked over and there are cracks in the ground. Hopefully the gardens, Christchurch and the Canterbury region of New Zealand will continue to attract people from all over the world. It’s such a beautiful place with such great people.
Christchurch Botanical Gardens

The 75-acre gardens are bordered by Hagley Park on the north and south with the Avon River flowing right through. Both just adding to the relaxing atmosphere. Going through on the many paths you’ll see a rock, water, azalea and magnolia and herb garden among others, not to mention a Peacock Fountain, a Bonsai House and a nursery. The New Zealand Gardens contains a collection of native trees and plants, some of which I remember seeing during my travels around the country. What caught my eye though and where I wound up spending a lot of time was the Rose Garden.

The Rose Garden - Christchurch Botanical Gardens

There is the saying, “Take time to smell the roses.” I did just that sitting on one of the benches around the inside perimeter of the circle shaped rose garden. I was just taking in the more than 250 different species of roses. The panoramic shot above of the rose garden is one of my favorite photos. You can get great views from the Cuningham House Conservatory balcony. The Cuningham House Conservatory is home to tropical plants, a cactus house, orchids and more.

Checkout some more of my photos from my time in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. After spending a lot of time here I’m interested in checking out other gardens in New Zealand and everywhere else. Any suggestions?

Auckland and The North Island, New Zealand

My last post contained some of my favorite experiences of the South Island of New Zealand. I’ve also had great times on the North Island, which is where the majority of the New Zealand population lives. It enjoys the same contrasts in geography as the South Island with a tropical feel at the top, mountain ranges, rolling farmland, a volcanic plateau in the middle and beaches everywhere. The capital, Wellington, resides on the North Island, as does New Zealand’s largest city Auckland.

I know the three days has past for #Blog4NZ, but I have so much more to share in supporting New Zealand travel in the wake of the Canterbury earthquake. 🙂 Some highlights of my time in Auckland and the North Island:

Sky Tower - Auckland

Sky Tower. In Auckland, it’s the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere and what most people would recognize from the skyline. There is a revolving restaurant up top, amazing views as far as the eye can see and of course there is the famous SkyJump, where you can base jump. You call also do a SkyWalk around the top.

Mt. Eden - Auckland

Mt. Eden. There are 50 extinct volcanoes and craters throughout greater Auckland. This is one of the more well-known ones. You can get great panoramic views of the entire area with walking areas aplenty.

Piha Beach

Piha Beach. Black iron sand and along the Tasman Sea, just west of Auckland it’s a popular day trip from the city. If you love to surf, try here. Also checkout just to the north Bethells Beach and the dark volcanic sand and sand dudes. Even saw some signs denoting quick sand so be careful.

Owharoa Falls

Owharoa Falls. Just like the south there are waterfalls everywhere. This one is within the Karangahake Gorge, near Waihi.

Kerosine Creek - Rotorua

Rotorua. A famous tourist destination and the heartland of New Zealand’s Maori culture. Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. The region around Rotorua contains numerous geysers, mud pools and thermal springs. Kerosine Creek, pictured above, is 30 km south of Rotorua. It’s a hot spring with a little waterfall free to all comers. A great place to relax, unwind and not think about anything.

Penguins at Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World - Auckland

At Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World (aquarium) in Auckland you can see all kinds of fish, sharks, swim with giant stingrays and of course checkout the big king penguins. Lot’s of Antarctic history and artifacts too.

No matter where you’re at always have your camera out and ready. Check out some of my other photos of my time in Auckland and The North Island. The scenery and things to do New Zealand is never-ending. What will I check out next time, hmmm.

#Blog4NZ – Traveling the South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand is the most beautiful place in the world. Great food, great people and amazing scenery that changes on a dime. You can see the rainforest, beaches, glaciers, snow-capped mountains, prairie and more with just a few hours of driving. I’m helping to support #Blog4NZ, an initiative by travel bloggers to help support tourism in New Zealand following the tragic earthquake in Christchurch. I recently went on an adventure around the South Island and here are some of the highlights, places I recommend visiting.

On the trip starting and ending in Christchurch, my sidekick and I drove, hiked, picked up travelers/hitchhikers (very common there), stayed in hostels, heated up instant mac ‘n cheese on a park bench in the rain and just soaked in all the scenery.

Church of the Good Shepherd - Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo. Church of the Good Shepherd. The church is right on the shores of the lake. The Southern Alps and snow-capped mountains make for an amazing back-drop. The church was built-in 1935. People from all over the world come here to get married with the romantic setting.

Aokaki - Mount Cook

Aokaki/Mount Cook. The highest peak in New Zealand, snow-capped of course. This is where Sir Edmund Hillary, a native, trained, prepping to climb Mount Everest. Hiking from the village where the hostel and hotel are, you reach Kea Point where you can get panoramic shots of several peaks simultaneously.

Queenstown

Queenstown. Known to a lot as the adventure (extreme sports) capital of the world. They’re also famous for there never-ending nightlife. Film crews come from all over the world to shoot scenes with the amazing backdrops around the lake. Music plays in the park along the water, along with lots of arts and crafts and people relaxing on the grass during the day. For wine lovers there are a lot of wineries in the region. Oh yeah, you gotta try a Fergburger, the best and biggest burger in New Zealand. I ate a little more than a third of mine. Don’t forget to get aioli when you get fries anywhere!

Lake Hawea

Wanaka, about an hour from Queenstown, is the perfect getaway if your into skiing in the winter months and water sports in the summer. It sits right on Lake Wanaka and is a very relaxing, small town. Lake Hawea, just northeast of Wanaka and shown above, is the most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen. The blue water, mountain and cliff backdrop, just amazing. It’s a place you could just sit and look at in awe forever.

Walking to Fox Glacier

Fox/Franz Glacier. Fox and Franz Glacier are two small towns on the West Coast home to glaciers of the same name. We did the walk to the 13km long Fox Glacier. It has advanced some recently, after mainly retreating for a long time. Didn’t get the best shot of it due to the heavy rain, but taking the 45-minute round trip walk made me really think I was in Lord of the Rings. It’s one of the easiest glaciers to get to in the world and it ends in a rainforest slightly above sea level which is rare.

Okanto Beach - Tasman Sea - West Coast

West Coast/Greymouth. Greymouth is the biggest town on the West Coast which is extremely remote. Take the drive between Wanaka and here to see rainforest and dozens of water falls along the way. Lot’s of remote, secluded beaches like Okanto beach along the Tasman Sea as well.

Check out the rest of the photos of my trip around the South Island. So many more great places to see and go to in New Zealand. I’ll be back there very soon. Hope to see you there!