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New Zealand – More than Rugby

all-blacks-by-kiwi-flickr

In New Zealand, and in some households, the Rugby World Cup is in full swing. As England scraped through by beating Scotland this weekend, they will now face France in the quarterfinals next Saturday. On Sunday, host New Zealand’s team the All Blacks will try to beat Argentina and fight for home glory.

new-zealand-by-mhxEven for the not-so-rugby minded New Zealand has a lot to offer. A country the size of roughly 270.000 square km, the size of the American state Colorado, it has a population of four million people (Colorado roughly has five million), which makes it one of the least populated countries in the world.

The Tasman Sea is the water that lies between Australia and New Zealand and is also referred to as ‘The Ditch’: “crossing the ditch” would refer to travelling from the one country to the other. The Tasman Sea is named after Abel Tasman, the Dutch explorer who first recorded the sighting of New Zealand in 1642, even before Captain James Cook explored the coastline in 1769.

New Zealand has a gorgeous and diverse landscape so you can find glaciers, mountains as well as forest and beaches within the same country. Film director Peter Jackson famously used the country diverse landscape as backdrop for his Lord of the Rings Trilogy. These days you can take Lord of The Rings tours to see the locations where filming took place.

hot-air-balloon-flight_7793To really take in the spectacular views, take a hot-air balloon ride from Christchurch to see the sun rise from the ocean while admiring the stunning view of the city and the snow capped mountains surrounding it.

bungeeThe more adventurous have a lot of choices from bungee jumping in Queenstown to a Shotover Jetboat ride through the infamous Shotover River Canyon. Make sure to hold on tight as you shoot through the rapids and take 360° spins.

vineyard-phillip-cThere is also enough more sophisticated entertainment as New Zealand has lovely vineyards to explore. If you’re in Auckland for the Rugby Final anyway, why not take a ferry and visit the island Waiheke where you find three of the best vineyards and  can participate in some wine tasting during a vineyard tour.

No matter what you are looking for New Zealand has an array of activities, though if you fail to understand what the fuss surrounding Dan Carter’s all about, you might want to wait to travel until after the 23rd of October when the final of the Rugby World Cup will be played!


Photocredit Flickr: All Blacks by Kiwi Flick, Map by mhx, vineyard by Phillip C

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