|New Zealand also has its own modern cities that are considered to be the best in the world / Rudy Balasko via Shutterstock|
New Zealand was put on center stage the last decade because of its pristine and magnificent landscapes that were featured in the film trilogy "The Lord of the Rings." And nothing would be more splendid if you would take the family to see first-hand the beauty that is New Zealand. Aside from its abundance of wildlife, open spaces, and nature, it also has its own modern cities that are considered to be the best in the world. Your kids will especially have a grand time if you can take them to these eight great attractions of the land of the Maoris:
1. Have an underwater discovery
You can start your journey with a visit to Kelly Tarlton's Sea Aquarium which is found in Auckland where you can enjoy a day filled with underwater discoveries. This aquarium has a collection of over thirty habitat displays with live animal exhibits which include the world's largest colony of Antarctic Penguins. There are areas for underwater viewing where your kids can get face-to-face with exotic and exciting marine animals like the mammoth sharks. They also offer awesome interactive zones where kids can play and discover an abundance of sea life.
2. Hike up One Tree Hill
According to Travel with Bender, you can also go visit Auckland's volcanic peaks to view the city from atop One Tree Hill. It used to have a tree at its crown but in its place, they have built a monolith there to commemorate the Treaty of Waitangi which to many is the most significant aspect of New Zealand's history. You might even be so lucky to find a flock of urban sheep grazing around the hill. There is also a planetarium and an observatory for budding astronomers.
3. Join the Chocolate Carnival
Only in New Zealand can you have a Chocolate Carnival which is appropriately hosted annually by Cadbury, that world famous chocolate products brand. This event takes place every summer and lasts for an entire week. During this time, the carnival attracts chocolate lovers with its chocolate decorations, tours, painting activities, and the supreme chocolate experience, The Cadbury Crunchie Train. Aside from these, the carnival also offers ice skating exhibitions, guided kid activities, chocolate demonstrations, and a lot more.
4. Visit one of the beaches
In this country, when you visit won't matter as its beaches are always beautiful any time of year. In summer, you will find the alluring beaches in Auckland. Or you can go to the Coromandel Penninsula for swimming, camping, playing, and paddling. In the winter time, head for the beaches in the west coast for more fun on its black volcanic sands, and go collect some driftwood!
|In the winter time, head for the beaches in the west coast for more fun on its black volcanic sands, and go collect some driftwood / Dmitry Pichugin via Shutterstock|
5. Tour the film locations for "The Lord of the Rings"
It would be such a great shame if you don't visit the shooting locations of The Lord of the Rings films. There were over one hundred fifty locations, each as magnificent as the other. Most of the scenes were shot close to major tourist centers and landmarks so there should be no difficulties finding them. As described by the Escape Here site, the caves in these locations are worth a visit for their thousands of twinkling lights in the glow worm grotto. For those LOTR enthusiasts, you can pose for Instagram-worthy pictures by the pond, The Green Dragon Inn, and the Hobbit holes.
6. Marvel at the local wildlife
New Zealand, because of its isolation, has its own unique wildlife. Tour the Rainbow Springs, a wildlife center and amusement park in Roturoa. This is a great opportunity to get close to the Kiwi, a flightless bird which, incidentally, is the country's national bird. Other wildlife treasures include the Tuatara, considered to be a prehistoric reptile making it a living fossil and the Kea, the world's only alpine parrot.
7. Swim with dolphins
New Zealand is the best place to swim with dolphins and for good reason. For one, the waters here are home to many dolphin species including the bottle-nosed dolphin, the common dolphin, the dusky dolphin, and the Hector dolphin, which is the rarest and smallest of all and which is only found in these waters. Another good reason is that operators of the tours take extraordinary measures to make sure that these gentle creatures aren't harmed. Most of the time, a part of the tour fee goes towards dolphin conservation. As for the rare and small Hector dolphin, you can swim with them at the Akaroa Harbor and that is the only place on earth that you can do so.
8. See the Pancake Rocks
Another attraction that nature lovers will definitely fall in love with is the wonderful Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki. These spectacular rock formations are truly strange geographic phenomena that should be visited. The path walks through native flax and bush makes it easy enough to tackle even for young kids. You may even get lucky to get yourself wild and wet even before you see the sea water gushing up between the rock formations that form blowholes.