Rotorua: is in North Island, in the center of an area of thermal activity. There is everything here, boiling mud baths, spouting geysers, alkaline and sulphuric waters. The waters are famous for bathing and drinking. There are many hotels as well as a Government Sanatorium. There are physicians in attendance at the Rotoura Spa, ready to give special advice and treatment for all sorts of ills. But you don’t have to to ill to enjoy Rotoura. There is plenty to do even if you do not wish to have the baths. It is the center of Maori life for one thing. To visit New Zealand without having seen these New Zealanders is unthinkable. Whakarewarewa is a Maori village in which the Maoris live their own easy, pleasant lives in their carved and thatched huts. Maori carvings are wonderful. During the season, which runs from September to April, Maori concerts are given at Rotorua. If you are fortunate enough to be there at that time, be sure to attend. Maori girls sing and do a dance reminiscent of the Hawaiian hula.
There are two day-trips of great interest which may be taken from Rotorua: the Waimangu (Government round trip) and the Rotorua-Okataina Trip. The first of these takes you to Earthquake Flats, site of a vanished lake, down the Waimangu Track, across two lakes to Lake Rotomahana. Cross the lake in a launch and walk to Lake Tarawera, which you cross by launch, to the buried village of Te Wairoa. Beyond are the Blue and Green Lakes. The Rotorua-Okataina trip takes you through six lakes, including picturesque and beautiful Lake Rotoiti.
Five miles from Lake Taupo there is the modern Wairakei Hotel, which is centrally heated by steam that is drawn from the nearby thermal area. The hotel has its own mineral swimming pool, golf course, tennis courts and bowling green. Trips are run several times each day to the Wairakei Valley thermal area which is spectacularly thrilling and easily accessible. Other sightseeing trips include the Karapiti Blowhole, called the Safety Valve of New Zealand, Huka Falls; Aratiatia Rapids and Lake Taupo. Trout fishing is excellent here. See description under sports above. :
Tongariro National Park and Egmont National Park !. : There are two National Parks on North Island that are well worth a visit if you have time. Tongariro National Park is in the center of the Island just south of Lake Taupo. There is a splendid modern hotel here, the Chateau Tongariro a golf course, tennis courts, etc. Also wonderful fishing here in the mountain streams and some breathtaking scenery. You will see three volcanic cones, two of which erupt spectacularly but harmlessly from time to time. Much of this park is untouched forest. Egmont National Park, about 100 miles to the west of Tongariro, is dominated by snow-topped Mt. Egmont, which rises from the plains and is an extinct volcanic peak. Here, too, is a forest preserve and some interesting drives.
Wellington : The capital (about 2 hours by air from Aucklamd) is built on steep hills overlooking a beautiful harbor. The hills may be climbed by cable cars and electric trams rather like those in San Francisco. The best hotels are the Royal Oak, the St. George and the Waterloo. There are interesting drives through the mountains which form a backbone for the capital and a good highway which follows the coastline north. There are, of course, all sorts of public buildings, a National Art Museum, Katherine Mansfield Park and the Botanical Gardens to see in the city. A trip to Hutt Valley is worthwhile.
South Island : South Island has some of the most marvelous scenery in the world, high mountains, wonderful fiords, wide plains, and untouched bushland. The Southern Alps provide magnificent skiing and awe-inspiring sights. The three highest mountains, Mt. Cook (12,349 feet), Mt. Sefton and Mt. Tasman, tower over dozens of other peaks. The Southern Alps are fast becoming world famous, as thousands of visitors arrive each year to ski or climb the peaks. The Hermitage, at the foot of Mt. Sealy, is a delightful modern hostelry.
The rolling country pictured here gives an idea of the scenery around Otehei Bay in New Zealand’s popular Bay of Islands area.
Excursion launches take you all around the Bay of Islands for wonderful fishing and sightseeing. Shown here is the rock tunnel off Cape Brett, Pierce Island.
About a dozen miles away is Ball Hut, suitable for mountaineers. Regular excursions are conducted to Tasman Glacier, largest in the country. There are guides and ski instructors available at the Hermitage. All ski equipment can be rented there. There are practice slopes and wonderful ski runs and jumps. It is seventh heaven for mountain climbers who can, if they like, cross the Alps to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. You walk over a suspension bridge to see this sight. The Franz Josef Hotel is being rebuilt here. The Fox Glacier Hotel is also nearby. Guides conduct visitors here over foot bridges and streams to the very foot of the glacier. You may cross the glacier itself as far as the Pinnacles. A good place to start your tour of the glaciers or the Southern Alps is Christchurch (about 4 hours by air from Auckland), a perfectly delightful city with wide parks and broad gardens, wonderful beaches in the New Brighton and North Beach areas. There are yachting, racing and some interesting drives. Hotels include the United Services, Warners, the Clarendon. Go by coach via Lewis Pass or by train to Arthurs Pass, the starting point for your tour of the Southern Alps. This is less than 3 hours by train from Christchurch. Arthurs Pass is the main break in the Southern Alpine chain. The longest railroad tunnel (5Vt. miles) in the British Commonwealth goes through the Pass. The train takes you to Westland, or land of the glaciers and the Alps. South of Arthurs Pass is Tasman Park, which includes Tasman Glacier described above.
II? The Milford Track and Fiord Country : The easiest way to reach the magnificent fiordland is by Scenic Airways or Amphibian Airways. Charter flights can be arranged. One-day motor coach trips also leave from Dunedin to Milford through scenic Eglington and Cleddan valleys. This territory can also be reached by the Milford Track, called the finest walk in the world. This walk, however, takes three days and you need to be fairly fit for it. All roads to Milford converge at Lumsden. You go by car to Lake Te Anau, the first stage of the journey, where you stay at Te Anau Hotel, and where you leave your surplus luggage until you return. From here you walk through some of the most superb scenery to be found anywhere. The Track carves its way through sheer mountain walks, passes mountain lakes, waterfalls and bush. Clinton Canyon, 14 miles long and a half mile wide, is the first stage of the walk. Then comes Mackinnons Pass, named for the first white man to discover this way through to the sea. You spend the night at Pempolena Hut, and then leave for Quintin and go on to Milford Sound, your destination, where the luxurious Milford Hotel awaits you. Mitre Peak rises 5,560 feet out of the water, dominating the entire scene. The walk itself covers approximately 30 miles in three easy stages. The launch trip down the sound gives you an opportunity to see some of the magnificent fiords. The whole trip is a memorable experience for there is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world. A motor road has now been constructed so the return journey to Te Anau can be done by bus. This new road travels through the spectacular Eglington and Hollyford valleys.
Queenstown .,. Located on the arm of Lake Wakatipu is the center of the great lakes district of the South Island. The White Star Hotel, the Mountaineer and Eichardt’s Hotel are the largest. The Beach House and several small guest houses here are also excellent. Wakatipu Lake is 50 miles long from Kingston at one end to Glen-orchy at the other and is almost surrounded by 7,000-foot peaks.
Dunedin : established by Scottish pioneers, is the nearest city to Queenstown. Hotels are Wains, the City and the Grand.
SOURCES OF FURTHER INFORMATION : The Government Tourist Bureau, Queen Street, Auckland (Tel. 30-330), will give you all the general information you require about Auckland or any other part of the country and will plan detailed tours for you to all parts of New Zealand. The Public Relations Office, Achilles House, Customs Street (Tel. 31-825), specializes in services for Auckland visitors. Pan American’s office is at Windsor House, 58-60 Queen Street, Auckland (Tel. 31-834). In the United States, offices of the New Zealand Travel Commissioner are at 153 Kearny Street, San Francisco, and 630 Fifth Avenue, New York.