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Published on : Thursday, December 24, 2015
For a glimpse of what’s on during New Zealand’s Christmas New Year season, here’s a Kiwi take on the 12 days of Christmas which according to Christian tradition begin on Christmas Day and finish on 5 January.
Day one: White Christmas dreaming
In the Wairarapa region – just north of Wellington – the folks at Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Reserve like to celebrate a rather special white Christmas. The star at the top of their Christmas tree is a precious and very rare white kiwi called Manukura – the first all white kiwi hatched in captivity in the world. Since Manukura arrived in 2011, four more brothers and sisters have arrived. They are not albino but rather their pure white feathers are the result of a recessive white feather gene carried by both parents. Maori elders consider the little white kiwi is a special omen. Visitors to the wildlife centre – open 364 days a year – can visit Manukura in the nocturnal kiwi house.
Day two: Hug a giant
Get some friends together, link hands and wrap your arms around one of the big green trees in the Northland kauri forests. The kauri is a giant of the forest, and Northland has the biggest and most ancient specimens of this native tree species that once covered much of the North Island’s northern coastal regions. At 51m high and with a girth of 13.8 metres, Tane Mahuta – in the Waipoua Forest of the Hokianga – is one of the world’s largest living trees, believed to be about 2000 years old. In the daytime, it’s a short walk from the carpark on SH12, or take a guided night time walk with Footprints Waipoua.
Day three: Soak your cares away
Soak your cares away in steaming mineral waters at Rotorua’s iconic Polynesian Spa. Rotorua – in New Zealand’s volcanic central North Island – has long been attracting tourists looking for a relaxing and therapeutic experience in the legendary hot springs and bubbling pools of sulphurous mud. The Polynesian Spa is built on natural hot springs at the edge of Lake Rotorua. There are 26 pools and an international day spa offering unique local therapies. Nearby Hell’s Gate and Wai Ora resorts also offer special mud baths and mineral hot pools.
Day four: Stars in your eyes
Turn your eyes to the heavens for a world-beating star-gazing experience at Mount John Observatory, Tekapo – in the South Island’s Mackenzie Country. Lake Tekapo’s pollution and cloud-free night skies are recognised as an international dark sky reserve because the region offers some of the world’s best star gazing conditions in an easily accessed location.
Mount John Observatory is a research facility, and a centre for astro-tourism experiences run by Earth & Sky.
Day five: Chill out
Chill out with the penguins at the International Antarctic Centre at Christchurch Airport – gateway to Canterbury and Antarctica. Deep freeze experiences like the penguin encounter, rides on the Hagglund all-terrain vehicle, a 4D movie adventure that includes a blizzard, and the chance to play in snow and on ice, make this a popular family destination. The New Zealand Penguin Encounter is New Zealand’s first combined indoor/outdoor penguin viewing area with capacity to hold up to 26 little blue penguins.
Source- Tourism New Zealand