New Zealand is one of the top destinations in the world for the eco tourist to visit. We recently convinced a friend that owns a busy New Jersey fence company to visit New Zealand on his most recent vacation. He said it’s one of th most beautiful places he’s ever been (and nothing like New Jersey!) Here are just some of the best ecotourism destinations in this stunningly beautiful country.
#1 Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve
If you enjoy diving, you will adore the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve. This amazing place is an internationally recognized site which may be given World Heritage status. The Poor Knights Islands are located 23 kilometers off the Tutakaka Coast. The Islands have volcanic origins which are thought to date back some 11 million years.
This is a perfect location for exploring the water as it has a huge variety of underwater species in a dramatic environment with drop offs, arches and tunnels. This is a truly spectacular place to dive. The fish seem to have got used to interacting with the divers. This has been a Reserve for over 20 years and the fish seem to have adapted to the idea of sharing their environment with con
However, this isn’t just a place which can be enjoyed under the water. There is a Reserve above the water too. Life has evolved differently here. The Poor Knights Islands have developed many of their own eco systems. Things have evolved differently here and it is fascinating to observe.
The Islands have a huge importance to many different species. The Buller’s Shearwater birds fly here from North America. Remarkably it is the only place in the world where they will nest. You will find many native species here. You can be lucky enough to observe native parrots, cuckoo and kingfishers on the Islands.
If you look out to the ocean you may also catch sight of the migrating dolphins and whales.
#2 Tongariro National Park
New Zealand was always way ahead of its time in eco-tourism. It was one of the first countries in the world to establish a system of national parks. The land was donated by the Maori people and Tonagriro National Park was established in 1887. This was the fourth park in the world to receive such a designation. It is now a mixed cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage site.
If you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings movies you will definitely want to visit here as many of the scenes were filmed here.
If you are looking for a challenging hike, then take a walk up Mount Doom. It is a strenuous 7-hour hike which is well worth it if your level of fitness is up to the challenge. If you want even more of a challenge, then think about tackling the Northern Circuit. This requires a time commitment of 3 or 4 days if you are talking the whole trail. The scenery is breathtaking.
#3 Fiordland National Park
This World Heritage Site has to be on your wish list if you visit New Zealand. To describe the scenery as dramatic really doesn’t do it justice. This is one of the most amazingly beautiful places to visit in New Zealand. The landscape was formed by glaciers millions of years ago. When it was awarded World Heritage status it was described as a “superlative natural phenomena.”
There are excellent opportunities for hiking as well as cruising on the fjords and lakes in Fiordland National Park.
Visitors can take a cruise around Milford Sound. You will see the landscape largely unchanged from the time in 1851 when Captain Stokes was the very first European to see this stunning fjord.
The interestingly named Doubtful Sound Fjord can only be accessed by water. It is well worth the excursion to see the stunningly beautiful fjord.
Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapori are also well worth a visit if you have time in Fiordland National Park.