5 WA Holiday Safety Tips

Western Australia is the biggest state in the commonwealth. Because of its size, it also guarantees a lot of surprises for both regular tourists as well as new backpackers and visitors of the golden state. A hired campervan can surely take you to your destination of choice, like from Perth to Broome or in Australia’s heartland – the Outback.

However, you must always remember to watch your step when travelling in the great wilderness of Western Australia, even if you are in a comfy Cheapa campervan. There are real dangers when you step out of your campervan and explore the vastness of the state, even if it’s at one of the pristine beaches or the national parks of your choice.

As the adage say: “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” So, we have prepared some important reminders for when you visit Western Australia or any other location in Australia, for that matter. So, read on and learn more about the things you can do at the dangerous destinations in the golden state.

Sun’s Out Guns Out!

BY Michael Theis

Apply as much sunscreen as possible before you go out. Western Australia is mostly hot, arid land. From the long coastline down to the orange sands of the Outback, you need to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays.

Get the SPF50+ sunscreen that is highly recommended by experts in Australia. Also, remember to apply the lotion 30 minutes before exposing yourself to sunlight.

Although sunscreen would protect you from some of the harmful effects of UV exposure, it is also great to protect your eyes and face by wearing a good visor and a pair of sunglasses before stepping out.

Swim Safely

The beaches of Western Australia are famous for their cool blue waters and abundant marine life. However, most of the marine life dwelling in these calm seas are untamed. That is why you need to take some precaution when swimming in open water.

BY Tim Sneddon
The sea is full of sharks and other wild aquatic animals that have been thriving in the waters. However, this shouldn’t prevent you from fulfilling your dream vacation to, let’s say, swim with sharks.

Actually, there are great ways to enjoy being one with the marine wildlife of Western Australia.

Visit one of the many national parks in the state where you can observe marine animals at a safe distance, like the Aquarium of Western Australia. They offer tours where both kids and kids at heart can watch sharks up close, separated only by a thick industrialised strength glass.

If you’re a true adrenaline junkie, you can still swim with sharks under close supervision, of course. There are several tours in Western Australia that offer shark cage diving tours. You can observe these giant sea predators in their element inside the safety of a stainless steel cage.

Slithering Snakes

The Outback is teeming with of wildlife even if most of the region is covered by desert sand. The loose, orange-hued sand hides some of the most fantastic species of insect and snakes. One thing to remember while walking amidst low shrubs and the stony terrain is to be on the lookout for insects and reptiles that may be venomous. Their stings or bites could even be deadly if you are allergic to its toxic composition.

The best way to avoid these hidden desert creatures is to go on a tour of the Outback with a reliable guide. Or if you want a more intimate vacation, always follow the familiar footpath which has been used by previous visitors. Avoid taking off on your own, especially if you have never toured the desert before.

BY dilettantiquity

Being lost in the desert is something you would want to avoid. Aside from the creatures lurking in the sand, there is also the threat of dehydration if you wander too far from your campervan. Add to that, it would be very difficult to contact anyone using your mobile phone if you lose your way in the desert.

To avoid getting lost in the desert, it would be better to move in pairs so that you have enough resources as well as instant help when the need arises. Always bring a bottle of water when walking in the desert to avoid dehydration as you take in the smouldering beauty of the legendary Outback.

Wild Western Australia

The “Golden State” is home to many endemic species. These creatures live in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries where they can be observed by both locals and tourists at a safe distance. Some of the most popular animals in these parks are the kangaroos and wallabies.

BY Scott Calleja

Although you may be allowed to come close to these marsupials, you must approach with caution. Kangaroos could pack a wallop if they feel threatened. It is best not to provoke these animals by teasing them or showing them food that you do not intend to share with them. Those things might rub them in the wrong way.

The best way to observe these wild animals is at a safe distance. If you want to come close, at least have someone from the park

nearby so that you’ll have someone to assist you when something goes awry. Also, remember the other golden rule that is “do not feed the animals.” Most of the attacks were caused by people trying to feed these cuddly by wild animals.

Actually, this rule applies to all wild animals that you come close contact. No matter how cute or cuddly they may appear, they are still untamed and must be approached with caution.

Campfire Cares

BY badjonni

When you set-up a campfire in the woods, always remember to put it out before leaving the campsite. There had been incidents of bushfires caused by campfires that weren’t properly attended to.

Wildfires destroy several kilometres of forested areas, which would make several wildlife species homeless. Add to that, the plants that once covered the earth would take years to grow. These plants hold the soil together, which prevents soil erosion.

It is only common courtesy to put out your campfire properly before you leave the campsite. In this way, the next visitors would also have a great time in that holiday destination, just like you did.

So these are just some of the things you need to remember when going on a tour of Western Australia. What’s more important is that you enjoy every minute of your holiday. What other safety measures do you have in mind when touring the wilderness of Western Australia? We would love to hear from you. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter and share the destinations you’ve been while in a campervan holiday.

5 Breathtaking WA Holiday Escapes

Western Australia covers around a third of the vast continent. The “Golden State” is bursting with so much life that the entire 2.5 million square kilometres is full of surprises. This is despite the fact that the state’s population is just around 2.5 million. When you hire camper van, a day won’t be is not even enough to tour even just the state’s capital city, Perth.

From the western shores where you can catch some of the best sunsets in the world, to the highlands where you can discover the hidden jewels of this vast region, you certainly can never go wrong with spending your holiday in Western Australia. From historical hotels (you could do an online search similar to ‘Historic Hotels America‘ to find something similar for this state) to the sandy beaches of Perth – you can never get too much of WA! Whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning to your old haunts, a cheap campervan hired to tour Australia’s western front would be the best choice so you can get the most out of your holiday.

But Western Australia is HUGE. Where do you start? Well, that’s why we’ve prepared a list of destinations that would guarantee a memorable holiday.

Exhilarating Esperance

Esperance is where Western Australia makes an eternal handshake with the southern waters of the mighty Pacific. The town is nature’s canvas where you can see different hues of blues and greens. You can even see oranges and reds with the outcrops around the area. The beaches are breathtaking with white sand blanketing the entire coastal area.

You can see a lot of the tourist destinations that Esperance has to offer when you take the Great Ocean Drive. While on the road, you can visit the Wind Farms at Salmon Beach and marvel at how the strong draft is “harvested” to generate electricity, which helps reduce the fuel costs of farms nearby. You will also be awestruck once you head off to the Pink Lake. The changing colours of the lake, from sparkling blue to powdery pink is caused by the living in the lake.

The “Bay of Isles” is absolutely fantastic from September to November when the wildflowers start to blossom. This is also the best time to visit Cape Le Grande National Park. The national park also offers some of the best sites where you can gasp in astonishment as you observe the Archipelago of the Recherche from a viewing deck.

Nearby Esperance at the town of Hyden you can face one of the biggest breaks in Australia. The Wave Rock is a geographical feature that was transformed by the elements for over 2 billion years. It stands at 15 metres from its base, which should be covered by brilliantly coloured wildflowers in spring. While at Hyden, visit the cuddly koalas and the rare white kangaroo at Hyden’s wildlife park.

BY kcp4911

Colonial Kalgoorlie-Boulder

Kalgoorlie boasts one of the most well preserved colonial districts. The historical Hannan street is home to some of the most iconic colonial establishments in Western Australia. The Kalgoorlie Town Hall is among the most well preserved facades in the area. The town hall is was established in 1908, it became the silent witness to the many challenges and victories of gold panners and diggers at a time when the glittering metal was an inescapable temptress in the region.

The remnants of gold mining’s glory days are still visible at the present time. Visit the Old Ivanhoe Mine Head at the Kalgoorlie – Boulder Goldfields Museum. Its steel frame tells the many tales of people that have once thrived in the largest city at the Western Australian Outback. You can even see where miners once lived while digging for the elusive ore. Meanwhile, the pièce de ré ·sis ·tance in the museum collection is the Mundrabilla meteorite exhibit.

The extraterrestrial rock, which is mostly iron, was discovered in the region around 1911. Now, a portion of the ancient rock lies in display as a testimony to the element rich earth of the region. Another testimony to the massive mining industry in the region is the Super Pit just on the outskirts of the city. The magnificent terraces were built using giant earthmovers as miners search for earth’s robust veins filled with precious metals.

After a day in the arid landscape, you can stretch your legs on a comfy bed at any suites in The York Hotel. The hotel has a red bricked facade adorned with two minarets would surely pull you back in time when the streets were laden by horse-drawn carriages and the air buzzing with the excitement of the gold rush.

BY Mark Ireland

Perky Perth

Perth is Western Australia’s capital. When you look at the map, you’ll see that Perth is the only state capital that faces the Indian Ocean. That alone tells you the significance of the metropolis. It could be regarded as the western gate of the huge state – of the country, for that matter.

Being one of the first settlements during the English exploration, Perth boasts a number of historical sites brimming with

tales of people that long have gone preserved in monuments that celebrate their achievements as well as their struggles. Visit the Old Courthouse, the Arts Centre and the Fremantle Prison.

The city is host to the Western Australian Museum. The museum has a huge collection of several artifacts that celebrate the scientific innovations and cultural diversity of the state. If you want to catch the indigenous spirit of the entire region, you can take a tour at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

After you’ve made your way through the cultural hubs and cafés of the central business district, why not try cruising Perth’s coastline? Apart from being Australia’s western gateway, it is also a city of sails! Many of Perth’s residents love being one with the sea. You can be part of this communal practice when you visit the Royal Perth Yacht Club.

BY Ruth Ellison

Captivating Kalbarri

The Kalbarri National Park is a breathtaking exposition of the rustic beauty of Western Australia’s desertland. Explore the fantastic rock formations that adorn the entire nature reserve that covers around 2,000 sq kilometers of river gorges and wild bushland.

Ride towards the Z-bend, which offers one of the best lookouts where you can see in astonishment how nature carved out a deep gorge in the region. From above, you can see how the river’s rapids dull the Tumblagooda sandstone. After being overwhelmed by the view, gather your strength for the 1.4 km walk back to the car park.

Eagle Gorge also offers a panoramic view of the national park. The gorge takes its name from the eagles that have built their nests on the area. You might also want to catch a glimpse of wild kangaroos that could be grazing along the Mushroom Rock Walk trail.

Finally, you can take your meal while being drenched with all the natural beauty of the park at Hawk’s Head. There are picnic tables that are already set-up in the area where you can still have a great view of the Kalbarri National Park.

BY K McLean

Relaxing Ningaloo Reef

The Ningaloo Reef is a protected marine sanctuary that is home to over 500 species of tropical fish as well as around 200 species of corals. Snorkeling is one of the best ways to observe these sea creatures more closely. There are also dive sites where you can have a close encounter with whale sharks, the biggest fish on earth.

The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area measures around 600,000 hectares. It is a complex that includes Bundegi Park, Cape Range National Park, Jurabi Coastal Park, and Ningaloo Marine Park. Some areas of this marine sanctuary even boasts of secluded beaches which are protected from modernity that ravaged some of the more popular beaches in the country.

If you do not wish to dive, why not try the double sea kayaks that are also part of the tours that feature the sheltered lagoons. Or you can even take a semi-submersible which would bring you underwater without getting your feet wet. This is also one of the best ways to grab that perfect photo of the underwater splendour of the Ningaloo Reef.

After a tiring but enjoyable day at the ocean, retreat to Exmouth. The town is a centre of eco-tourism in the Northern portion of the state. Most of its streets are named in honour of Australian and British servicemen. You can relax in any of their historical pubs and hotels.

These are just some of the best destinations in Western Australia. You can hire a camper van and start from the capital Perth to the waters in Ningaloo Reef. Just imagine the possibilities! You can hire a cozy camper van from our website and start your epic journey.

So, do you have any ideas where to begin in your Western Australia journey? We would love to hear from you. Connect with us in Facebook and Twitter and start sharing your adventures with other travel junkies across the globe.

6 Big Sydney Day Tour Destinations

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

Lao Tzu

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu emphasized the importance of taking that decisive action of moving towards the direction you want to go. However, where do you begin making that first step if you were in a camper van hired for a quick day tour in one of Australia’s largest and busiest metropolitan centers?

It doesn’t even have to be a hired camper van though, you can easily invest in your own camper van (if this is something that interests you), as you might decide that you want to take your camper van with you to every location that you visit. Just remember that if you do this, then you will need to spend an evening and compare camper van insurance, you don’t want to get caught out on your travels! But at least when you’ve got your insurance sorted and all the kit you need, you can go and enjoy yourself by going on some amazing adventures!

Sydney is a webwork of roads, nature trails and bridges that intertwine with the vast expanse of ocean before it vanishes to infinity. A camper van hired for a quick day tour around the city is absolutely a daunting challenge. But with that being said, owning a camper van or hiring one may make traveling around a city like Sydney a lot easier. There’d be no need to worry about taking public transport. Plus, considering there are camper vans with facilities such as a bathroom, being comfortable on any trip is very important. Why not check it out if you’re looking to find out more information? The more you know, the better it maybe when it comes to planning a trip.

The city’s approximately 26.15 sqm of steel and concrete towers combined with parks and recreational areas make up the metropolitan region alone. It doesn’t cover the remainder of the city’s rugged nature trails, beaches, and national parks.

Let us help you take that decisive step by giving you a guide on where to go for a quick day tour of Sydney. Not only would you be able to tour some of the most spectacular sights in the city, but you would also have a taste of what “the harbor city” has to offer to every traveler eager to make that first step towards a great holiday.

Big Sydney 6

Before even moving a muscle, you must remember that Sydney is a cluster of “regions.” The entire city is so rich in cultural diversity that each of these regions offers a different perspective of what Sydney is truly all about. To help you out, we searched for some of the best places for your day tour in 6 key areas just to get you started.

These locations are within the bay area and are accessible through the various public transportation available in the metropolis. The 6 “regions” are: the City of Sydney, Inner West, Northern Suburbs, Eastern Suburbs, Western Sydney and Southern Sydney.

City of Sydney

The City of Sydney is ideal for first time tourists. The community is right across the legendary Sydney Harbour where you can visit the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the picturesque Sydney Opera House. Both had adorned postage stamps and tourism posters since anyone could remember. Also, both of these man-made marvels could be visited by going on a leisurely stroll along Circular Quay.

BY hjjanisch

This area is where you can check out the city’s 1st central business district (CBD). While at the CBD, visit the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) where you can shop for jewellery and home wares. You can also try the line-up of cakes and pastries that are served in the cafés established in this iconic façade.

Speaking of shopping, why not visit Sydney’s Chinatown and Haymarket for an introduction to the Oriental palate? Immerse yourself to a parade of authentic Chinese delights as well as a showcase of gift shops that would absolutely inundate your senses.

BY Pablo Rodríguez

Inner West

If you haven’t gotten your fill of the food choices sold at Sydney City’s restaurants, why not try some of those served in the Inner West? This area is all about food and shopping!

Shop around the fashionable streets of Oxford and William. Meanwhile, you can also check-out the second-hand shops at Balmain, Glebe, Leichhardt and Newtown. These streets are also filled with bookshops and cafés that would arouse any bibliophile’s interests.

Among the marketplaces founded in the area, Balmain’s could be one of the oldest, as it has been serving locals and tourists with fresh produce and tasty delicacies since the 1800’s. On the other hand, some of the shops focus on regional gourmet dishes, like Leichhardt, which serves mouthwatering Italian delicacies.

Northern Suburbs

The Northern Suburbs is where you’ll get your first treat of Australia’s wildlife. There are several places that exhibit the local flora and fauna in the continent as well as imported featured species from the African savannah and tropical forests around the world.

Taronga Zoo in Mosman is a perfect spot where family and friends can learn a thing or two about the estimated 4,000 species that have called this park their home. Apart from foreign wildlife, Taronga also hosts several endemic species like the well-loved koala.

If you’re more of a sea-loving chap, you can visit the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary. Or you can also try your agility and strength in commanding the waves at popular beaches in the area, like Manly Beach and Palm Beach. It is also here in Sydney’s Northern Suburbs that you can visit the Northern Beaches for an afternoon of sea and surf.

Eastern Suburbs

The Eastern Suburbs is also about sand, sea and surf, with Bondi Beach serving as the cherry on top of this oceanic delight. Bondi boasts of a 6 km paved path known as the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, which features the thunderous sea juxtaposed the heavy immovable rocks to create an imagery that can only be described as breathtaking.

BY Justin Otto

There are also other attractions in the area, most of them beaches and parks where your family and friends can enjoy either a quick dip at the sea or a relaxing afternoon surrounded by nature’s calm. Meanwhile, Watsons Bay is the best place in the area where you can buy fresh, sweet and succulent seafood. It is also known as the oldest fishing village in the city.

Western Sydney

After getting a perfect tan at the fantastic beaches at the Eastern Suburbs, take a step back in time at the heritage sites in Parramatta located at Western Sydney. The Old Government House, which was built in 1799, is the jewel on the crown of Sydney’s 2nd central business district (CBD).

Still hungry for adventure? Well, there’s also something for sports enthusiasts. If you want to catch the latest game, check out the events scheduled at the Parramatta Stadium. Then, visit Campbelltown for their scenic bush walking trails that lead you to Georges River Nature Reserve.

After that, you can end your visit to Western Sydney with a feast at Cabramatta where they serve the best southeast Asian dishes in the city. After all, they aren’t called Sydney’s “Little Saigon” for nothing.

Southern Sydney

Southern Sydney is all about nature’s finest gallery of cliffs, nature trails, and coastlines that strum the chords most familiar to the heartstrings. This area is where you can find the Royal National Park as well as La Perouse Museum, which features the history of Southern Sydney. The museum was named in honour of French explorer Comte de la Perouse who came to the continent in 1788.

These are the 6 biggest tourist zones for a memorable day tour in Sydney. Although there are a lot of them, they are all very accessible through the major roads as well as public transportation that connect them to each other. Looking at the list, your itinerary options are definitely limitless.

It’s up to you which of these destinations you would like to cover. When you’re done deciding where to take that first brave step, why not turn on the ignition of that camper van you hired and start touring the gleaming beauty of Australia’s “harbour city” – Sydney? You know you want to.

We always love to hear from you! Which of the featured tourist destinations in Sydney would you visit next? Share your love and comments via Salamanda Travel’s Facebook and Twitter pages today!

5 Gourmet Camp Cooking Hacks

Holidays on the road are incomplete without a scrumptious meal prepared around the campfire as you share stories while the sun sets on the horizon. However, preparing a mouthwatering dinner while on a road trip in an Australian campervan hired by family and friends can sometimes dampen your mood when all you wish to do is just stretch your legs and lay your back after an adventure-packed day outdoors.

Perhaps a few innovative ways to prepare more than just hot dogs and steaks is what you need in order to upgrade your campervan menu handed down to you by previous generations that have enjoyed the legendary Outback. It is extremely simple to incorporate new ideas into your favorite camping recipes. However, these aren’t just any old camping recipes. You could prepare these recipes at home and serve them to your guests in antique silver trays and salvers to give the impression of a vintage time.

So whether you’re camping with friends or family, make mealtimes more fun by checking out these few hacks on how you could make the most out of your campervan kitchen.

Learn to Improvise

First off, you must plan your meals. Avoid thinking of making dishes that would take forever to cook over a campfire (remember, everybody’s had a long day of adventures and are likely to be very hungry), or would require large and heavy pots and pans to prepare (you don’t have much room to bring your entire home kitchen with you). If you want to impress your mates with an elegantly cooked dinner, look for easy-to-prepare, readily available alternatives. Think about adding some extra zest to the food, maybe with a few drops of some flavorful CBD oils that could help everyone relax and sleep well after a long day. Besides, meals that imbibe the rustic feel of a night at a campsite like pot roast with steamed vegetables or baked beans could be as good as a slab of beef from your favourite steak house.

You can also prepare a hearty breakfast using leftovers from last night’s dinner. Bring out the eggs and grate some cheese to create an omelette that would melt the sleep from your mate’s eyes. Squeeze a few fresh oranges and serve the juice in a pitcher and add some honey to give them that sun-kissed vibe to prepare them for another day outdoors.

Have a Knack for Nibbles

Sometimes, a hearty chatter at the campfire is best complemented with light snacks. Load up on fruits, nuts, and popcorn for starters. Nothing beats the combination of quirky conversations and the crackling of popcorn over a campfire.

BY White93

If you want something that would be akin to fine dining, try melting some dark chocolate on a pan where you can dip some fruits or marshmallows in it. Voilà, it’s like having your personalised fondue, camper style!

Speaking of marshmallows, a campfire huddle would not be complete if you’re not making s’mores. Try adding new ingredients to this classic campfire snack like candy sprinkles or using vegan marshmallows, as a healthier alternative.

Jostling Jaw Dropping Delights

There are certain dishes that are difficult to prepare outdoors. Examples are baked goodies such as cakes, pies, and brownies so most campers just buy from bake shops or bake them a few days before the camping trip. Well, you’re in luck because there are now innovative ways to make these without an oven, so you and your travel companions can enjoy freshly baked treats in the wild.

For instance, you could try baking brownies using orange peels. You can do this by cutting the top of the fruit and scooping off the pulp. This way, you would be creating a pocket for your brownie mix. Fill 2/3 of the pocket with your prepared batter. Put back the top and wrap the ball in aluminum foil. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes and you’ll have tangy orange-sized brownies for your mates!

You can also make pies using pita bread as an alternative for the traditional pie crust. Or why not try newspapers as an alternative to aluminum foil when cooking fish? You could even learn how to smoke fish, as this is an ideal setting for it! And it tastes yummy. The possibilities are endless. You’re camping – you can be as innovative as you want!

BY Beck

Stock Up on the Essentials

After you have planned your meals, right down to your dessert options, it’s now time to stock up on the ingredients and outdoor equipment that you’d be using. Just remember only to bring the essentials, you’ve already planned what to prepare for your gourmet holiday. So, there’s no point in bringing excessive equipment and supplies.

This makes things quick and easy to set-up when you’re at the campsite. Also, this would make your holiday baggage lighter and easier to clean-up when you head back home. If this would be your first time taking a campervan holiday, bring a sturdy cooler as well as a set of good roasters for your campfire. The rest of the supplies you’d be needing can easily be found in your kitchen cabinet like pots and pans, as well as dining utensils.

Clean as you go

Preparing wonderful meals during your campervan holiday can also be environmentally friendly. Just like the examples earlier, using alternatives to certain materials for cooking your meals would help reduce waste after your outdoor retreat.

Using old newspapers instead of aluminium foil to lock-in the flavours when grilling fish helps reduce your carbon footprint. Biodegradable materials could be turned to compost after using them for cooking your delectable treats, like the brownies stuffed in hollowed out orange peels. If you have a garden back at home, you can collect your biodegradable trash and turn them into home made fertilizer for your beautiful greens.

BY Jeff Souville

Just a friendly reminder, it’s a no-no to throw out your garbage at the campfire. It would be better to segregate your wastes and throw them properly after your holiday. Throwing garbage at the campfire not only adds up to the pollution in the surroundings. It could even start wildfires because you keep on adding fuel to the flame.

If that happens, you can wave goodbye to your gourmet campervan experience.

Camping can also be a gastronomic adventure, if you know how to turn home-cooked meals into gourmet dishes miles from the comforts and conveniences of your kitchen. All you need is some creativity and a breath of fresh air in the campsite. Now, why not make your own campervan memories? An Australian campervan hired at our website can help you make the most out of your self-drive holiday.

We always love to hear from you, so share with us your gourmet campfire cooking ideas and experiences today. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for more information on how to make your campervan holidays the best ever.

6 Reasons to Visit New Zealand Every Year

One trip to see them all.

Have you ever seen the movie Lord of the Rings? The film was shot in one of the most picturesque countries in the world, New Zealand. And just like how the film has portrayed it, the country is charming, if not magical.

New Zealand’s unspoilt scenery, from its breathtaking glaciers, lush green forests, quaint rolling hills and crystal clear lakes has attracted millions of tourists. The country is also compact and easy to travel from its northern to southern islands thanks to budget ferries.

Renting a campervan or a motorhome is a great way to explore this small country. You can pick them up in two of New Zealand’s largest cities, Christchurch and Auckland.

Whether you have been to New Zealand multiple times or a would be first time visitor, here are six reasons why this place deserves to be on your bucket list:

  1. Hobbit Village

Relive the scenes from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the village of Matamata. Take photos of Bag End, home of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins. The hobbit-sized town also has 43 other hobbit holes; some of which you can enter.

Roam the area and you will notice some familiar places from the two films like the double arched bridge, the mill, and the infamous Party Tree. Run along the green pastures and rolling hills of The Shire.

Not far from Matamata to the east, lies Wairere Falls. Plunging at a stunning height of 153 metres, it is the highest waterfall in the North Island. Wairere also has a scenic walking track and a panoramic view of the Waikato plains and valley from its lookout.


BY Tom Hall

  1. Glacier Hikes

New Zealand is famous for its snow-capped mountains and glaciers, especially in Southern Alps in the South Island. Leave your footprints in the snow while you hike through many glacial patterns.

Choose between the equally famous neighbour glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef, both in Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Leave your rented motorhome at one of the many campervan sites at the base of the mountain. Book a tour to one of these informative guided helicopter walks.

Other things to do while in this area include riding cross-country in quad bikes, kayaking the mirror-like waters of the nearby glacial lake, and getting close with kiwis (the animal, not the people) at the Westcoast Wildlife Centre.

  1. MÄori Culture

The MÄori people is perhaps among the most passionate in the world. Just listening to their “haka” war dance, popularised by the All Blacks Rugby team, lets out a fire inside your heart. The film, Whale Rider, has perfectly portrayed the life and traditions of this vital Kiwi tribe.

Nowhere in New Zealand can you experience MÄori culture more genuinely than in Rotorua. The indigenous people of New Zealand are welcoming and gladly let visitors in their homes in the spirit of manaakitanga (hospitality).

Grab a seat as locals perform their evening cultural dances or join classes on how to carve and weave traditional Maui patterns. Satisfy your hunger with steamy hangi food that is slowly cooked through thermal heat.

Aside from the unique local culture, Rotorua is also a haven for adrenaline-pumping extreme sports. The surrounding lush green forest has trails perfect for all mountain bikers, rushing rivers draw many kayakers and river rafters, and bush walks are perfect for all-terrain bike rides.


BY bradhoc

  1. Whale Watching

New Zealand is famous for its herds of sheep grazing on lush grasslands, but there is a rarely seen animal that swims in its waters- whales. Half of the world’s whale species like Blue whales, Humpback whales, Southern right whales (Tohora), Pilot whales and Sperm whales are in NZ.

The little seaside town of Kaikoura, 150 kilometres of Christchurch, is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of these gentle giants. Take a photo of them slapping their tails or spouting water through their blowholes. It is not always simple to spot them. So, if you’re intending on going whale watching, read some articles (check kaikanani.com) about how to prepare for this magnificent experience.

Other places where you can catch a glimpse of whales are in Bay of Islands where there is a large population of bottlenose dolphins, Whakatane which has a sunny warm climate, and Hauraki Gulf where you can spot orca whales and Bryde’s whales.

5. Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Are you fond of stargazing? Now, imagine doing that inside a dark cave, and instead of stars you are looking at glowworms clinging on the roof.

Waitomo Glowworm Grotto in the Northern Island is probably the best memory you will have out of your journey in New Zealand. The cave is a quiet repose that brings a magical moment as if you are frozen in time as you gaze into the living lights.

For the more adventurous, try the nearby Lost World cave tour where you get a chance to rappel 100 metres down a cave wall, followed by a dry carving adventure. The cave has a mystical vibe because of an eerie mist amplified by the roar of the Mangapu river echoing throughout its cavern.


BY Kristina D. C. Hoeppner

6. Marlborough Region

Toast a glass of exquisite wine as you explore the wine region of Marlborough. Close to eighty-percent of wine products in New Zealand is produced in this region including the renowned Sauvignon Blanc.

There is nothing like the seafood dining experience in one of the region’s restaurants and wineries. The regional dishes in Marlborough has components of honey, wild meat, oils and nuts produced from its

Aside from wine, the region is also famous for its historic sites and serene coastline. At Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, they show old plane models from the World War I and II era. Meanwhile, the sea-drowned valleys of Marlborough Sounds offer great kayaking experiences for beginners and pro paddlers.


These six things will surely make you want to go back to New Zealand every year. Hire a campervan or motorhome if you want to explore this wonderful country in an inexpensive and convenient way.