Monday, March 1, 2010
Central Park NZ Action and Adventure
For the first time there is now one holiday destination that combines all the very best in action and adventure that New Zealand has to offer. Collectively known as Central Park, seven regional tourism offices have launched a new brand under their own banner to market one of the most spectacular regions of New Zealand.
Central Park is a collaborative effort that brings together Rotorua, Waitomo, Lake Taupo, Ruapehu, Hawke’s Bay, the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel. All are in the central North Island and within short driving distances of each other and all are richly diverse, unique special regions that together create the magic of Central Park.
Clip in your pedals and check out some of Central Park’s sensational bike trails. Mountain bikes are designed to take you across inhospitable terrain no matter what the weather forecast predicts on a mountain or forest trail, over boulders, tree roots, or whatever else nature throws at you. In a region blessed with spectacular scenery, mountain bike enthusiasts can choose from the rugged Coromandel Ranges or Eskdale Mountain bike park in Hawke’s Bay, to the shores of Lake Taupo, or bike into the primeval Whakarewarewa forests surrounding Rotorua and even across the slopes and forests around Mt Ruapehu.
Thousands of people every year take rafting trips on our waters in the North Island on some sensational world class rivers. From Grade 2 to Grade 5, the Central Park region caters to all-comers. The Kaituna River is famous for the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. The Okere Falls at seven metres offers an unparalleled rafting challenge. The Mohaka River and Motu River’s 100km course are both superb wilderness-rafting trips with some amazing scenery along the way and a good mix of Grade 3-5 rapids. The Nagarururo River offers top quality two to seven day rafting and the Rangitikei, the Rangitaiki, the Togariro and the Wairoa rivers also offer up plenty of fun. It’s a crazy sport and one where you’ll have to roll with the waves no matter what happens, so learn to go with the flow and have fun, it’s what river rafting is all about. Note: These same rivers are also ideal for kayaking too.
Abseiling, Canyoning and Caving
All these three topics are related in more ways than one. Inevitably if you go canyoning in New Zealand you’ll need to know some basic methods of abseiling, luckily most companies that arrange such trips teach it to you in no time at all – then all you need to do is overcome your fear of heights. The same thing applies to caving as many times you will abseil down into a cave to start off your adventure. The only real difference is that canyoning and abseiling can be practiced above ground and in a short time and in a safe environment. Caving as the name implies takes place in a dark world hundreds of metres underground. Waitomo Caves is where a lot of the action happens including black-water rafting or explore the caving channels in Nuhaka, Northern Hawke’s Bay.
New Zealand’s network of public tramping tracks has been developed over many decades throughout the country but most spectacularly in Central Park. The best known is the one day Tongariro Alpine Crossing as it winds its way over the Tongariro massif and around Mt Ngauruhoe. This walk passes through unique and stunning landforms which include volcanic craters and glacial valleys. Lake Waikaremoana is another three to four day tramping track which follows the shore of the lake for most of its length. There are also fantastic day walks in the Coromandel, through Hawke’s Bay wine country, breathtaking coastal walks in the Bay of Plenty and the forests of Lake Rotorua and Lake Taupo. Discover for yourself the ‘Land, Legends & Life’ in this special part of New Zealand.
Skiing and Snowboarding
In the North Island, at Mt Ruapehu the two skifields of Turoa and Whakapapa are literally positioned on either side of a volcano. It’s safe to say there are very few places in the world where you can ski on an active volcano – certainly this is the only place in New Zealand. Mt Ruapehu is New Zealand’s largest and most developed ski region. It also allows for cross-country ski traversing as well as snowboarding and alpine skiing. Mt Ruapehu is the highest point in the North Island at 2797m and one of only three mountains in the world boasting a crater lake, surrounded by snow and ice. Whakapapa Village, Ohakune and National Park are the closest ski villages to the mountain and offer a range of accommodation, restaurants and alternative activities.
Without the invention of the Hamilton Jetboat in the 1950’s, the tourism adventure industry we associate with jetboating today would have been impossible. It was simply that propeller driven boats found it impossible to navigate many rivers in the South Island until a local Canterbury farmer named William Hamilton invented and perfected the principle of water jet propulsion in a propellerless boat. Today jetboats operate on the Kaituna, Motu, and Waikato Wanganui Rivers. In some cases operators offer more than just the thrill-a-minute aspect of the trip, and include additional attractions such as hiking into geo-thermal areas as well as explaining the cultural and natural history of the region. So hold on tight because this adventure sport has something for everyone.
Tandem Sky Diving
Overcome your fears, feel the adrenalin rush and discover what skydiving is all about. Skydiving will always be edgy, adrenalin fuelled and a personally challenging adventure. Here in Central Park there are multiple opportunities to tandem skydive from Tauranga, Lake Taupo, Lake Rotorua and Hawke’s Bay, where adventure junkies strap themselves to an instructor for the once-in-a-lifetime leap of faith. You can choose jumps from 2,700m to as high as 4,500m descending at 200km an hour before gently drifting back to earth with views of the towering summit of Mt Ruapehu and Tongariro National Park.
Coastal Water Sports
For action and adventure on the sea you can expect a plethora of activities to keep you occupied for a week or two. To name a host of blue water options try deep sea game fishing, sailing, diving, swimming with dolphins, jet skiing, kayak fishing, sea kayaking, kitesurfing, windsurfing and surfing. Sea kayaking on the other hand is today an incredibly popular outdoor activity and one in which the whole family can get involved with, as double kayaks offer the chance for family bonding. So if you are the kind of person looking to ride the crest of a wave or dive on underwater wrecks, then get your feet wet and dip into the coastlines of the Central Park region.
This is where the options are as varied as there are activities and adventures. Combos that include a helicopter are a way to get both an adrenaline high and a work-out in natural environments where scenery and wilderness are pristine. Try heli-biking, heli-hiking, heli-rafting, heli-skiing, even a helicopter flight to White Island or simply heli-fish in wilderness lakes and rivers where the trout are gigantic. There are other options to consider such as a helicopter ride onto a crater rim with the opportunity to hike inside and then mountain bike back down the mountain. Whatever option you take the scenery of Central Park will blow you away.
AJ Hackett, along with his pioneering co-founder Henry van Asch is credited with turning bungy jumping into a distinctly New Zealand tourism icon. In fact the bungy phenomenon acted as a catalyst for the creation of New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry. Bungy jumping nowadays is one of the most popular adventure thrill seeking sports around the world, an ‘elastic fantastic’ attached to suspension bridges, dams, platforms, cranes, buildings and towers. The primary sites in Central Park are in the towns of Taupo and Rotorua and out at Mokai Canyon in the Manawatu.
Whether it’s an adventure camping holiday you’ve always wanted to experience, maybe the chance to ski a volcano, mountain bike a forest, bungy jump into a canyon, white water kayak or hike the world famous Tongariro Crossing or maybe even trout fish in world class lakes or rivers, Central Park offers it all in one region.
And now it is all on your doorstep with direct flights from Sydney to Rotorua, the gateway to Central Park. Air New Zealand operates twice weekly services on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
WIN an Adventure Package which includes airfares direct from Sydney, 4 nights accommodation in Central Park, rental car hire and heaps of action packed activities! Enter your details on our Win a Holiday page to stay up-to-date with latest activities and events and exclusive offers and you’ll go in the draw to win a trip for two to immerse yourself in New Zealand’s newest playground - Central Park. For more information visit www.centralparknz.com