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It’s that time of the year when the weather is getting pleasant, as things stabilize in spring and the summer season next, with flowers blooming into new colours and bird migrating their way back. The moderately cool weather makes for an ideal escape to some of the top spring spots in New Zealand. Here are some great places to visit, which can be easily accessed for your group by booking bus charter with us.
Spring is a great time to explore the largest estuarine lagoon in New Zealand, as you take a kayak tour in Okarito, home to over 70 bird species. Located on the western coast of the South Island, Okarito has a huge area of tidal flats and shallow open water just waiting to be discovered. It’s an ideal location for kayaking, with plenty on offer. The lagoon is bordered by the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, with lush native rainforest. It’s a vital feeding ground for a variety of bird species, including the rare Kotuku.
The kotuku bird is sacred to Maori people, and they believe it to be an inhabitant of the spirit land of Reinga. In fact, the old funeral chant of the Maoris end with the words “kotuku to tapui, e Tama – e” which means “Oh my son, Kotuku is now your sole companion.”
This scenic town in New Zealand is one of the oldest settlement in the country, with a population of over 43000 people. It’s hardly a couple of hour’s drive from Mount Tongariro, Mount Ruapehu and Wellington. It is home to some prominent heritage buildings including the likes of Sarjeant Art Gallery and Whanganui Opera House, and also the largest fine arts community with glass and mixed media artists. Don’t miss a chance to visit the regional museum and appreciate the collection of Maori treasures and Lindauer portraits.
While there are many notable events happening at this place throughout the year, the key attraction during the spring season is the charming Whanganui River, known to be the longest river in the country through which you can navigate. In ancient times, it served as an important link between European and Maori settlers.
Take a scenic drive over the Takaka Hill and enter a nature paradise in the Golden Bay, which is sure to leave you enthralled. The picturesque road journey commences with a slow climb over the marble mountain, with signpost lookouts along the path, and Ngarua caves. The Pupu springs, also known as the Te Waikoropupu Springs is on the opposite side of the hill, known to be a sacred place for Maori tribe. Meander through the walkways and soak up the beauty of nature.
With the trails leading you to the west, you will be entertained with expansive views of the sandy Golden Bay, which is widely renowned for its scallops. Wrapping itself around the upper region of the bay is a lengthy sandpit, which is basically a bird sanctuary. Wharariki Beach is on the Tasman Sea side of Cape Farewell, and is an elegantly wild place where waves and wind have created colossal sand dune and rock formations. It’s an ultimate horse trekking experience here.
The Waikato region in Hamilton offers plentiful spring-based attractions and activities surrounding vibrant city hub, which is popularly known for its rolling green hills and black sand surf beaches. Located towards the east is the Hobbit-sized village, Hobbiton Movie Set, created especially for the movies. On the other hand, Raglan is an ideal spot for surfing. For some mystic experience, head south to Waitomo Caves, where the natural charm of stalagmites and stalactites dazzled by glow worms will leave you in awe. Abseiling and black water rafting options are also there for those seeking an adrenaline rush.
Given the scenic diversity, there are plentiful options available for those keen on cycling, hiking and walking, from mountain biking and overnight bush walking to casual stroll along the Waikato river. Maungatautari Ecological Reserve is the key highlight of this region, which allows you to soak up the wooded ambiance as it used to be tens and hundreds of years back.
Offering unique experiences with various sightings on offer, Kaikoura is known to be the whale watching capital of the Kiwi Island. The popular figure of this show are the giant sperm whales, which can be spotted throughout the year. A typical whale watching tour may encounter the endangered Wandering Albatross, pods of Dusky Dolphins and New Zealand Fur seals. Depending on the season, you may also spot Southern Right Whales, Blue Whales, Pilot Whales and Humpback Whales. It also hosts the largest dolphin in the world, Orca and the smallest, the Hector’s. The region is also home to a large concentration of seabirds, including 7 types of Shearwater, 14 varieties of Petrels and 13 species of Albatross.
A scenic drive past the Milford Road will take you on a memorable journey into the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area and Fiordland National Park, with some of the most striking features revealed along the way. There is so much to explore in the 4-hour drive that you are better off hiring a coach to soak up the sights peacefully. Eglinton valley is the first major highlight with golden tussock floor and steep rock sides that once used to be covered with glacier ice. This is followed by the Mirror Lakes, reflecting the Earl Mountains, and optical illusion created by the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain, which gets smaller on approaching it. Take a nature walk along the 45-min loop track, on reaching Lake Gunn.
Signalling your descent to Milford Sound is the Homer Tunnel, cleaved from solid granite, and before reaching Milford, soak up some fresh air at the spectacular waterfall, The Chasm. This is usually a busy road, and you need to take extra care while driving in New Zealand. Using bus charter is generally advised if you are travelling in a group, not only for the purpose of safety, but also for the best-in-class comfort.