The World Around Us

Top three locations in New Zealand

Country: New Zealand by Lisette

31-03-2005

Each country holds highlights as you travel, because of the traveler’s interest, experience, people you meet and crazy, random stuff that tends to happen.

As I wrote in my post about Australia’s Top Three, I have an innate interest in nature and history. As a not-so adventurous person trekking through New Zealand, I was very impressed with the crazy canoeing and bungee-jumping lovers the country seems to attract.

What I loved and treasured most since were my hikes and my flirtation with helicopters. The experience of being lifted up in a tiny helicopter making a huge noise and seeing the landscape all around me were a new highlight in my trying to conquer my fear of heights.

Let’s get to the top three I created. First, the bronze winner of being most attractive to me in New Zealand: Paihia and its surroundings. It is a cute place located at the ocean where you see dolphins playing and where the Kauri trees never stop amazing you. If only the trees could speak! Because in Paihia I had the chance to learn more about the country’s history, including the Waitangi Treaty and how this was seen and interpreted on both sides.

95-Marlborough-SoundsWW

The runner up and winner of the silver medal in my heart when it comes to New Zealand is the Queen Charlotte Track. As I walked a well-trodden path in this old forest with breath-taking views of the Marlborough Sounds I met very nice people along the way but was mostly thinking to myself. The stunning sights of the forest made the daylong hike worth the sweat. The views of the water gave me a sight of paradise. It made it simply one of the best days of my life with peace all around me.

94-Tongariro-CrossingW

The gold medal winner can be none less that the Tongariro Crossing with its views and insights into my vertigo. Where the Marlborough Sounds gave me peace, the volcanoes gave me a hard time and a stubborn tug to my fear.

A climb of a steep 1000 meters got me up, the rough beauty of the volcanoes mesmerized me but it wasn’t enough to keep the fear away. At the very top and on a tiny ridge (for my experience) anxiety took over my body. They say anxiety makes you freeze, run or fight; there is no doubt I am made of the freezing kind, for a dreadful half hour my body was a life-size statue.

In hindsight, the terror may have been too much – I have never again attempted to walk in the mountains or hills again. Somewhere in my mind I keep telling myself I was doing well and should work on my fear again. But irrational fear remembers this trip a little too well.