"Hiking In New Zealand -
Take A Walk On The Wild Side"
Hiking in New Zealand, or in other words, depending on where you come from, trekking, rambling, bushwalking or just plain walking, is called tramping in New Zealand and is a wonderful way to experience the adventure of nature at first hand.
In the video below we get an excellent overview of some of the finest walking tracks New Zealand has to offer.
Our journey begins with a glimpse of that iconic hotel The Chateau at the foot of Mount Ruapehu in the heart of New Zealand's North Island, followed by the mighty mountain itself.
We are taken through the wilds and wide open spaces of the Tongariro Crossing in Tongariro National Park, across mythical landscapes that touch on turqoise lakes in lunar scenes and end the day bathed in golden sunsets that seek their equal anywhere in the world.
And the accompanying music bids us, Let's go there, lets make our escape...
Can you take me higher, the song continues, to a place where blind men see: and the majestic peak of Mount Taranaki (formerly Mount Egmont) rises before us.
Now I may be reading too much into it, but I can't help feeling that James, who masterfully put these pictures and the music together, doesn't miss an opportunity to pay tribute to the charming young lady who accompanies him in the images we are privileged to share in this film.
From Taranaki in the West of the North Island we move to the East and The Great Lake Walk, following the "Lake Track" around the bush clad shores of mystical Lake Waikaremoana, the Sea of Rippling Waters that the Maori legend tells us was formed by the struggles of a taniwha or sea monster.
Mighty Panekeiri Bluff towers over silvery waters that seem out of this world, reflecting as they do an unworldly light as if from a science fiction movie.
Back at "human" level, we see scenes from trampers huts, a boat on the lake, and some of the huge volcanic rocks to be found on the lake shore, deposited there by eruptions from distant Ruapehu many centuries ago.
Leaving the bush of the eastern North Island, our next taste of tramping in New Zealand takes us to the Northwest of the South Island and the Kepler Track.
Can you take me higher, the singer asks, and yes we can, as we pass from the northern West Coast through kea country (the cheeky mountain parrots) and alpine landscapes, where you get high just looking at the sights that greet you on all sides.
Tussock grasses, blue lakes in the distance between the bush clad mountains, man made steps leading ever higher, like a "Stairway to Heaven", then dark, moist bush, fast flowing rivers and waterfalls.
The Routeburn Track in the Southwest of the island is next, Jon Bon Jovi kicks in as we follow our young guides over adventuruous swing bridges, she was one of a kind, he sings, she wears a plastic crown like Cinderella...make no mistake, she's looking like a star....
The Routeburn runs from the road to Milford Sound in Fiordland to the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu (Queenstown), passing through the fairytale scenery of the Hollyford Valley, and all you can say is, wow!
Finally we return to the top of the South Island and the blue, blue bays and golden sands of Abel Tasman National Park.
We watch as "Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen from Mars", or so the song tells us, explore the bays and beaches - you and me, we're invincible, together - camping on the shore, revelling in the endless sands and swimming in the sea, another local legend and his long time lucky charm.
They're living life with no regrets, Jon Bon Jovi tells us, at least they're gonna try, and the pictures provide the proof. The film closes with the beauty queen from Mars on the beach, but the music goes on for at least another two minutes.
I don't know about you, but I kept listening right to the end - and then I watched it all over again!
So take a look at the film and ask yourself, when are you going to go hiking in New Zealand?
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