One of the few places to be settled by the pioneers of New Zealand, and known for its warm climate and idyllic beaches. In the Bay of Islands, the historic town of Russell was briefly the country's capital in 1840 -- the same year the country's founding document was signed at the Treaty House at Waitangi just across the bay. With over 100 islands, the bay is also a popular destination for holiday-makers who flock there from Auckland during the summer holidays.

Also known for its great Kauri forests, where Kauri gum was particularly sough after for producing a range of goods that are now produced synthetically. Today, what is left now is given protection, and massive 2000 year-old trees still stand in the Waipoua Forest.

Some interesting places are Mount Ruapehu (last erupted 1995, but not active) and the Whakhapapa Village, where you can get to enjoy magnificient ridges, pass the splendid blue-green volcanic lakes and streamy hot springs. It's also popular for skiers for winter activities. The mountain can be reached by cable car (a 2000m travel) and you can start walking from there (two hours).

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All original content is © 2001,2002 by Ganesh.