family vacation stories View From Te Maika Down to Albatross Point

Discovering King Country

If you discover King Country, you will discover the real New Zealand. Tourists in droves are opting to travel off the 'beaten track', and to explore and experience the awesome, natural wilderness regions, New Zealand is famous for.

You're never more than 130 km from the sea in New Zealand, which has 18,000 km of coastline. It's a land of majestic mountains, pristine harbours, lakes and rivers, vast native forests, and miles of rolling farmlands.

Because the country was isolated for millions of years, unique native flora and fauna, such as flightless birds - eg kiwi - have evolved.

The variety, beauty and accessibility of these natural features are central to New Zealand's identity, and attract thousands of eco tourists every year.

So where is the real New Zealand?

Discovering the real New Zealand is not found in its glossy travel guides, nor is it necessarily joining pre-planned, highly scheduled touring partys.

The real New Zealand is not even it's magnificient natural landscapes.

You will find the real New Zealand in the interaction of it's people and rich cultural heritage.

Here's a great tip on how to discover the real New Zealand:

Slow down, and take time to mingle with the 'tangata whenua' (people of the land).

Kiwi's are a friendly bunch, so in no time you could be fishing with a Maori (an indigenous New Zealander), shearing sheep with a Pakeha (a European White New Zealander), or singing karaoke with the locals in one of the many pubs.

It is through the eyes of these Kiwis that you will discover the real New Zealand!

Good places to find the real New Zealand:

Eco/cultural heritage travelers are seeking for the unique, often out of the way attractions that make one place like no other.

If you fly into Auckland (main international airport in nz), spend a day or so exploring New Zealand's biggest city, then head for the King Country.

New Zealand has an excellent and diverse range of eco/cultural attractions n adventures, so it's a good idea to rent a camper or motorhome, where you can take your time to wander off the beaten track where necessary.

Although King Country is off the beaten track, it can be easily accessed from either end of the region, from two major cities that have international airports, (New Plymouth - Hamilton) From New Plymouth, take Sunset Highway 3 (SH 3) where it leads to Mokau, the Gateway into King Country.

From Hamilton, take Highway 3 that can lead you straight to Waitomo Caves, or turn off to picturesque Kawhia n Aotea Harbours.

To really explore the scenic wonders, beautiful beachs and bays where you can take your time, an ideal option is to rent a campervan, motorhome or rental car.

King Country - Kawhia - Aotea

An absolute must while exploring King Country, is to tour the coastal roads to Kawhia - Spiritual and Ancestral home of the Tainui tribe...

Along the way, drop into NZ's most tranquil harbour - Aotea...an absolute eco-gem with a population of less than 50 people.