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Any season is a great time to visit New Zealand. There’s a wide range of places to stay, from luxury to laid back, and getting around is a breeze by car, campervan, bus or plane

Real Dragon Tales from New Zealand


By —— Bio and Archives--September 9, 2016

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New Zealand is home to curious creatures big and small – penguins, kiwis, whales and dolphins, to name a few. But hidden in the bush, deep inside caves and often out of sight,

New Zealand’s rarest creatures can be difficult to spot if you don’t know where to look. New Zealand is the home of dragons. Yes, Elliot from Disney’s Pete’s Dragon and Smaug from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug could be seen here, but there are others that you may not know about.

Dragons’ Eggs

Visitors come from all over the world to see the Moeraki Boulders on the east coast of the South Island. The smooth rounded boulders, stuck in the sand on Koekohe Beach in the Waitaki region of New Zealand, look suspiciously like dragons’ eggs. Some say they are due to hatch any day and some say they will never hatch. One thing is for sure: Moeraki boulders are proof that New Zealand is the home of dragons. A three hours’ drive further south, you will find the little country town of Tapanui and one of the main locations for Disney’s Pete’s Dragon.

The Dragon’s Nest

For a dragon’s nest, look to Invercargill, at the bottom of the South Island, where the world-renowned tuatara breeding program at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery has pulled the species back from the brink of extinction. Henry the Tuatara, now over 110 years old, is the father of all dragons. You can spot Henry and over 100 other tuatara in different stages of development at the spectacular “Tuatarium.”

The tuatara is a lizard-like reptile – often described as a living fossil from the dinosaur age – that is only found in New Zealand. This look-alike dragon can be seen in the wild in eco-sanctuaries in several parts of New Zealand, including Sanctuary Mountain near Cambridge, Wellington’s Zealandia, and Dunedin’s Orokonui, where the British Prince Charles was seen playing with one last year. Tuatara are known to live up to well over 100 years.

Legendary Dragons

Giant beasts with dragon-like features are nothing new to New Zealand. The Maori people, who were the first to occupy this land, tell of the legendary taniwha, which appears in their ancient legends and is often depicted in their carvings.

Taniwha hid in lakes and caves, surfacing only to scare tribes; however, some were said to be guardians of the land. Rotorua, New Zealand’s geothermal hotspot, is said to have been home to a taniwha. Kuirau, a public park in central Rotorua, features a boiling lake, which some local Maori believe exists because a taniwha angered the gods. The local taniwha took the beautiful Maori maiden Kuirau and the gods became angry at the taniwha’s brazen act. They used their powers to make the lake boil so that this taniwha would be destroyed forever.

Any season is a great time to visit New Zealand. There’s a wide range of places to stay, from luxury to laid back, and getting around is a breeze by car, campervan, bus or plane. Head north to peer into hobbit holes, or kayak in the Bay of Islands. Travel south to jet boat the Shotover River, walk the Milford Track, or cycle the Central Otago Rail Trail. To savour your holiday, sip silken Pinot Noir among the vines, taste juicy Bluff oysters, or feast on traditional Maori hangi. Kiwis love making people feel at home, so you’re sure to leave feeling like one of the family.

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Air New Zealand (AirNewZealand.ca) has direct non-stop flights from Vancouver to Auckland and offers flights from many other North American cities. Amazing new experiences are just one flight away.

For more information on New Zealand or to create your unique adventure, please visit: NewZealand.com and check out the “Wishlist” handy vacation planner.



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