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  • Writer's pictureBinoy Ray

Navigating New Zealand

A family holiday is always exciting, stressful, funny, and peaceful. In November 2023, when the school year finished, we went on a trip to New Zealand. It was the holiday where we explored, relaxed, and even bonded with each other. There are two islands in New Zealand: the North Island and the South Island. This is the most adventure-packed and interesting story of a family trip to both the islands of New Zealand.


The Sky Tower, Auckland, the North Island

On the first day, we went to the Central Business District (CBD) of Auckland and visited the Sky Tower. We saw restaurants, buffets and even a casino. Then we booked the tickets at the front desk for the Sky Deck view. We went to level 68 of the Sky Tower, which is 328 m high! The Sky Deck had a 360° view of Auckland. There are 1,267 stairs leading from the Sky Tower base to the very top of the Sky Tower. At the top, there were three choices: a VR headset activity called Sky Slide; the Sky Jump, where you jump off the Sky Tower with a rope; and lastly, Sky Walk, where you first walk and then jump with a rope. Sky Tower is one of the most iconic places in New Zealand that I have been to during our trip.


My Rating: 4/5

   

Waitomo Cave, the North Island

The next day, we went to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to see glowworms in the dark.  We booked our tickets, waited for 30 to 40 minutes and finally went to the cave entrance, which was first found by Chief Tane Tinorau in 1887. There are three main caves in the area: the Waitomo, the Ruakuri and the Aranui, each with its separate entrance.


We went into the Waitomo cave. The waterflow in the cave is called the Tomo. It is a 16-meter shaft that flows during heavy rains. There were pathways in the cave with naturally made limestone on both sides: the stalactite and stalagmite. These are formed by water dripping on baby limestone and helping it grow into adult limestone. It takes years to grow fully.


We went down the stairs and the tour guide took us on a boat to see the glowworms on the ceiling.


Did you know that glowworm larvae use very thin mucus to catch their prey? Adult glowworms do not eat anything.


At the end, we stopped at the Mangaphue Natural Bridge. The Waitomo River flows at the bottom level through the gallery of glowworms. It was very interesting.


My Rating: 5/5 


The Hobbiton, the North Island

On the third day, we went to the Hobbiton Movie Set. We were almost late for the bus to Hobbiton. We were so relieved when we made it. We rode on the bus and then walked to the village. We went to the place where they filmed The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbiton is named after the hobbits, the characters from the movies. Frodo, Sam and Bilbo are the most famous hobbits.


The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy, which means the movie is in three parts: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. The movie is about Frodo getting the Ring of Power from his uncle Bilbo and then going on a journey to destroy it in Modor, where the volcano is. If he fails, evil will be unleashed. Frodo realises in the end that without his companion Sam, he wouldn’t have made it. They learn that loyalty and teamwork are important if one wants to succeed in a quest.


The hobbit houses are under the hills and very tiny. The doors are round and small. Their clothes are small and colourful.


There was only one artificial tree on the set. It took 150 hours to make. Each of the leaves was handpainted one by one. It looked so real!


There was a bar called The Green Dragon Inn. We went there at the end of the tour. I drank the ginger beer. We took lots of photos and also got a Green Dragon beer mug. I sadly lost my favourite water bottle there. Then we bought two Lord of the Rings posters from the souvenir shop. I really enjoyed the set and the nature. It was fun and amazing. It was a memorable experience.

My Rating: 5/5

 

The Rotorua Geothermal, the North Island

The next day we went to the Rotorua Geothermal tour by bus. The bus took us near the water to see the geothermal lake around us. We went to both sides of the lake and I'm sure I spotted a massive fish in the water near us! We came back to the bus and had food. Then we walked down the road to see the scenic views and the geothermal eruptions. I could feel the heat in the air and on the rock. There was an unusual rotten egg smell in the air. My dad told me that the smell was due to sulphur. Well, the smell didn’t really bother us because the scenic view was magnificent. It took thousands of years to form this wonderful and stunning geothermal lake. The colour of the lake was green, and smoke came out of the lake. The colour was due to the high content of sulphur and other volcanic minerals. I would highly recommend visiting this place.


My Rating: 4/5

 

The Puzzling World & That Wanaka Tree, the South Island

We flew to Christchurch on South Island and rented a car. On our way from Lake Tekapo to Fox Glacier, we visited the Puzzling World near Wanaka. The place has a crazy house with lots of puzzling rooms to trick your mind. It has a great maze with 1.5 km of passage where you can get lost easily. It is a real challenge for tourists to find their way out. I couldn’t go to the tilting room because I felt dizzy. The Puzzling World has the world’s first mega maze with five illusion rooms and a huge café.


From there we went to see That Wanaka Tree. It is a lonely tree in the middle of a lake.  It has been standing there for over 70 years! The local people believe the meaning of the lonely tree is the natural strength and the life force. Some believe settlers intentionally planted the tree in the 1900s, but some believe it grew naturally. We took quite a few pictures of that place.


My Rating: 5/5

 

The best thing about traveling to New Zealand is its natural beauty, which changes every season. Overall, even though it was a bit expensive, the trip was a dream come true. Therefore, I would highly recommend that you visit there. So good luck with your adventure going to New Zealand and I hope you find my experience helpful!


Overall Rating: 10/10


About the Author


Binoy is a Year 5 student. He loves reading, playing video games and travelling. His favourite sport is cricket. He can play four instruments. He lives in Melbourne with his parents and younger brother.

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