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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

TRAVEL SPECIAL - Experience the MAORI LIFE

Experience the MAORI LIFE


After experiencing Auckland, take time out to plan day tours out of the city to live the Maori life around it

It will be a waste of a vacation if you do not take a ferry ride or drive around New Zealand. Their biggest city and North Island hub Auckland has ample sites within a short driving or ferry distance. It is best to head out for day tours and explore not only scenic marvels but also experience Maori culture.

BAY OF ISLANDS
A three-hour scenic drive takes you to probably the most picturesque spot in the country. Bay of Islands area is a combination of over 140 small islands and is known as the `birthplace of New Zealand'. It offers some of the best water activities and a unique experience of Maori culture. Sea diving to shipwreck spots, and sailing and walking around this area are popular activities. Your visit here will be incomplete without a selfie in the backdrop of the world's largest kauri tree. After a day of feasting on Maori stories and food, relax on 90 Mile Beach.

ROTORUA
Less than a three-hour drive from Auckland is the city of mud baths, natural hot springs and geysers. More importantly, it is also a place of Maori significance with many heritage sites. Unique adventure activities here draw tourists from across the globe. Zorbing -bouncing in a large inflatable ball as it rolls down a hill -cycling while being suspended from a monorail track, jet boating, luge karting or mountain biking, are as popular as a dip in a hot spring.Must-try: Food cooked in natural thermal steam and water.

WAIHEKE ISLAND
A 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland will take you to this maverick point of New Zealand. According to legend, when artistes and musicians found the mainland becoming too busy, they discovered their own pastoral escape in this tiny is land. Today it houses some of the pretti est vineyards, dainty olive groves and pristine beaches. Most of the vineyards have their own cafés which serve local produce and wine. While exploring the island on a bicycle or zipping across a zip line are usual bets for tourists, exploring with a Maori guide is a great way to get some local perspective.

WAITOMO
A two-and-a-half-hour drive on scenic State Highway 1 and State Highway 39 takes you to this unique natural wonder ­ Waitomo Glowworm Caves. A boat ride under glow worm-lit caves is one of the most memo rable experiences, replete with Maori folk tales. Your visit here will be incomplete without a traditional meal ­ Kai Maori.
Must-try: Dishes prepared in Hangi, an oven made under the earth and used for traditional cooking.

MATAMATA
Meaning headland in Maori, Matamata is a significant Maori site, a two-hour drive from Auckland. Known as the horse breed ing and dairy hub of the region, it was placed on the world map when Peter Jack son chose a local farm as The Shire for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.
Amin Ali

TL 5FEB17

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