North Island New Zealand

Our trips to New Zealand have been hugely enjoyable. The sense of space, light and unspoiled nature is - to me - like nowhere else I've visited. From the magnificence of the Southern Alps to the geothermal, sulphurous landscapes of the Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand has so much to offer. 

The photograph above is of Cathedral Cove, on the Corimandel Peninsular; a fine beach in a stunning setting.

Tree ferns abound in woodland in central North Island. Even some of the most modest walks can be so rewarding in North Island, not least because of the song of the Tui and Bell birds. 

Ferns are everywhere, as here in Coromandel Forest Park, except...

Once you start to explore the central volcanic area, you are in an utterly different world, as here at Tama Lake, to the south of Tongariro, with Mount Ngauruhoe in the background.

And if you look back from the viewpoint of the last photograph, you see fellow walkers dwarfed against the barran landscape.

And here, further back down that track, you have a landscape well suited to Mordor in The Lord of the Rings, and always with Mount Ngauruhoe lurking in the background.

But if the volcanic landscape is a bit too bleak for you, here some colourful relief in the Wellington Botanical Gardens.

Or visit Champagne Lake, where geothermal activity heats the water and makes it constantly sparkle.

The Tongariro Crossing and South Island

The Tongariro Crossing is a hike like no other - a stunning walk across the colourful, vulcanic heart of North Island. And then head down to South Island.

Dense vegegation at the Rapaura Watergardens on the Coromandel.

A Maori canoe, taking part in a festival at Wellington.