New Zealand: National parks of the island state
All together there are 14 national parks in New Zealand which hold 10% of the country's landmass. In each park you can find breathtaking natural landscapes. In our blog we would like to introduce some of them and give some valuable facts.
Tongariro National Park
Location – in the centre of the Northern Island
Area size – 795 sq. km
Year founded – 1887
Specials – Officially, it was the fourth National Park worldwide, UNESCO world nature legacy
Tongariro National Park happens to be the most famous one of the Northern Island. Here are many extremes placed next to each other. The park is surrounded by huge volcanoes which are Tongariro (1.968 m), Ngauruhoe (2.2921 m) and Ruapehu (2.797 m). Stunning lakes, alpine grasses and hot springs surround the landscape which is characterized by volcanoes and show an environment of impressing diversity. All three volcanoes are active and could erupt any time. In 2012, Mount Tongariro erupted for the last time. The park is watched by an early warning system which warns in time if there are eruptions about to happen. There is no reason to be afraid and one can enjoy the beauty of smoky craters, old lava lakes and thermal seas during a hike.
Fiordland National Park
Location – at the Southern peak of the Southern Island
Area size – more than 12.000 sq. km
Year founded – 1952
Specials – most humid climate in New Zealand
Here, you can expect high mountains, blue lakes, mighty fjords and rainforest-like woods. This region could be protected from anthropogenic influences on the bigger picture. The landscape decreased mainly from glaciers which ate into the stone over the years and left indescribable fjords. The most popular fjord is Milford Sound in the North of the Park. Its humid woods are home to numerous bird species such as the Takhae bird or the Kakapo parrot. The Takhae bird was believed to be extinct for over 40 years before it was seen in the park again. Both species are not able to fly. In the waters there can be found dolphins and seals. This region is suitable for alpine hikes, kayaking and diving; moreover, you can join one of the numerous boat trips through the fjords. Furthermore, long hikes along mountains covered in snow and bold waterfalls are offered.
Abel Tasman National Park
Location – between Golden Bay and Tasman Bay at the Northern peak of the Southern Island
Area size – about 225 sq. km
Year founded – 1942
Specials – New Zealand’s smallest National Park
This coastal paradise is perfect to relax. Between trees and coastline you can find wonderful sandy beaches. Sun clear rivers are running through valleys covered by moss and meet the ocean at the end. At the cape there are stone formations out of granite and marble surrounded by regenerating and native rainforest. The local fauna is a basic part of the park. Here you can spot birds such as the honeyeater or the Tui parakeet. At the ocean one can find sulidae, little penguins and fur seals. You cannot only spend your days relaxing at the beach, but also do kayak rides or hikes. The islands Tata, Tonga, Adele and Fisherman are also part of the National Park. In 2012, the project Janszoon was started. The project aims to restore the whole area until 2042 – the 100-year-anniversary of the park.
Paparoa National Park
Location – Northern Westcoast of the Southern Island
Area size – about 306 sq. km
Year founded – 1987
Specials – the so-called Pancake Rocks
The landscape in the park fascinates with peaks consisting of granite and gneiss which transform into layered stone formations into the direction of the coast. The foundation mainly consist of chalk stone. Therefore, the landscape is characterized by many Karst formations. Fox River, Pororari River and Punaikiki River are the main rivers. They flow through the area in all directions and build subterranean streams resulting in Karst formations. Another highlight in the park are the Pancake Rocks located at the beach. These stone formations are the product of weather conditions on stone blocks with different hard and soft layers. Moreover, here are tubs and holes in the stone through which water flows. The coast has high cliffs which will be eaten away by the Tasmanian Sea over time. In the coast’s ocean waters fur seals, sea leopards, dolphins and orcas can be observed.
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