Sep 19, 2011

New Zealand - Cape Reinga/Wellington

Cape Reinga lighthouse

At the extreme north of the North Island, Cape Reinga witnesses the tumultuous collision between the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. In this windy place of wild beauty we actually saw the waters clashing and creating furious currents! This cape is considered by Maori as the departing point for the spirits of the dead.

At Cape Reinga

Near Cape Reinga, huge sand dunes make it possible to practice sand boarding. Those dunes can reach 100 metres high.

Te Werahi Stream

Our driver/guide teaches the basics of sand boarding

Te Paki Sand Dunes

In the Northland region, we also experienced another Kiwi must: the Ninety Mile Beach! Well in reality it stretches over 63 miles but who would notice... ;) It is anyway the longest beach in the country and.. a registered highway!

Ninety Mile Beach Highway

A seal crossing the highway... ;)

On the west coast, kauri forests gives an idea of New Zealand ancient native forests. The giant kauri trees are protected for environmental and spiritual reasons. The oldest living kauri in Puketi Kauri Forest is 500 years old.

To cut down a kauri you need a highly good reason. The demand for carving and building works - with the wood of one kauri, ten houses can be built! - make locals search for burried ones. Recently, a 140 tonne kauri log was excavated and saw the light for the first time in 45.000 years.

Puketi Kauri Forest

Tree staircase at the Ancient Kauri Kingdom


At the extreme south of the North Island is located the capital of New Zealand, Wellington. It inherited this status thanks to its central location in the country. Wellington is the third most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 400.000 inhabitants.

View of Wellington from Mount Victoria Lookout

The Beehive (on the left) and Parliament House (on the right)

Known for its very strong winds, this compact city is set arount a harbour and built upwards on surrounding hills. Places of interest are a short walk from each other. An historic cable car and some pastel-coloured wooden houses add some charm to the cityscape. Centre of the city vitality, the well laid out waterfront offers a lot of recreational options with museums, galleries, restaurants, sport facilities and constitute a nice walk.

Chaffers Marina

Civic square

Behind Te Papa museum

At the east of the waterfront, Te Papa Tongarewa is New Zealand's National Museum. This dynamic museum displays both Maori and European artefacts and art with an innovative presentation.

 Life mask of Taupua Te Wanhoa

Interactive Haka Room

There we had the opportunity of learning and practicing the Ka Mate movements thanks to an interactive training facility. Ka Mate is the world's best-known haka, performed by Kiwi rugby players before every All Blacks game.

"Ka mate, ka mate,
ka ora, ka ora.
Ka mate, ka mate,
ka ora, ka ora.
Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru.
Nãna i tiki mai whakawhiti te rã.
à upane, ka upane!
à upane, ka upane.
Whiti te rã hi!"

1 comment:

  1. Et ben, heureusement que j'ai rattrapé mon retard sur les photos! La Nouvelle-Zélande est un vrai voyage à elle seule, c'est immense :) Nous on est revenus à Paris hier...snif. Gros bisous! Claire