If there’s one thing that we’ve definitely learned the value of since lockdown, it’s travel. The ability to visit far off lands and discover the hidden gems they offer has never seemed so sweet. But while we might not be able to take a trip right now, the power of technology does mean that we can still immerse ourselves in the wonders of the world from the comfort of our sofa.
New Zealand is probably one of the most fascinating places on the planet and some of the natural (and not-so-natural) scenery and spectacles are unlike anywhere else in the world. With this in mind, we wanted to share with you some of our favourite New Zealand virtual tours – each one taking in stunning scenes from around this fabulous country and giving you the opportunity to escape the daily struggles of the current situation for just a few short moments.
So, grab a cuppa, hunker down and enjoy the ride…
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Video Credit: Stoked on Saturday
If magic and fantasy is what you’re looking for, then the beautiful glowworm caves of Waitomo are definitely a sight to behold. Situated in the southern Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island, the glowworm caves form part of the Waitomo Caves system which also includes the Ruakuri Cave and the Aranui Cave. Geological and volcanic activity has created around 300 known limestone caves in the Waitomo region over the last 30 million years, the caves are full of life but are one of the few known homes of the Arachnocampa Luminosa – a glowworm species found exclusively in New Zealand.
Some suggest that James Cameron took inspiration from the caves for his smash hit film Avatar, and we can certainly see why he would!
The Hobbiton Movie Set
New Zealand has been a point of inspiration for a number of fantasy films thanks to its unwavering natural beauty and otherworldly offerings that are hard to believe exist. Hobbiton may be man-made, but it’s no less a fascinating experience, especially if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan.
Another splendour of the Waikato region, Hobbiton can be found in Matamata and is home to 44 hobbit holes; each one with a carefully tended garden and a warm, comforting view of the “Shire” that we’ve come to know and love.
Video Credit: Devin Super Tramp
Located in the Fiordland region, Milford Sound isn’t a sound at all like the name might suggest. It’s actually a fjord carved by a glacier and forms part of the Tasman Sea, it’s home to rare corals, fur seals, penguins and dolphins to name a few.
Regarded as the Eighth Wonder of the World, taking a cruise through Milford Sound encapsulates what New Zealand is all about. Breathtaking scenery with its towering Mitre Peak, lush rainforests, waterfalls, an abundance of wildlife and an unrivaled sense of calm and spirituality… this incredible part of New Zealand’s South Island is without a doubt the jewel in its crown.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Pools
Video Credit: Gipfellust
Māori for “sacred waters”, Wai-O-Tapu is an area bursting with geothermal activity and the dramatic conditions perfectly sum up the unique landscape of New Zealand. Located in Rotorua, Wai-O-Tapu sits within the Taupo Volcanic Zone and with geysers, mud pools and colourful hot springs such as Champagne Pool, Artist’s Palette and Primrose Terrace, it really is like taking a walk through a land before time.
Coromandel and Cathedral Cove
Video Credit: Michael Schollum
Epitomising Kiwi coastal living, Coromandel is an idyllic, peaceful town situated on the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand’s North Island. Famed for its lush green lands, crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches, it was once a major sea port serving the region’s gold mining and forestry industries. Nowadays, it’s a popular destination for artists and those seeking an alternative lifestyle.
One of Coromandels major highlights is Mercury Bay, home to Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve – known as Cathedral Cove. A lush beach peppered with stunning rock formations and unending views across the waters, it really is hard to tear yourself away from such a beautiful place. Some may also recognise Cathedral Cove from The Chronicles of Narnia film franchise, where the cave and beach were used to re-enter Narnia. New Zealand really is so full of magic!