Nearly 30 percent of New
Zealand’s land area is comprised of protected areas
and national parks or taonga or treasures of
irreplaceable and priceless value.
Several of these
house Maori artifacts and features of great
spiritual and historic significance.
The Tuwharetoa Maori chiefs in 1887 gave their
ancestral volcanic mountains of Ruapehu, Tongariro,
and Ngauruhoe in the North Island’s central region
to all the New Zealand people, producing the
nation's 1st and the world's 4th national park
called the Tongariro National Park.
Currently, there are thirteen areas like this that
preserve for future generations some of the most
awesome scenery of New Zealand, its rare and
threatened fauna and flora and its archaeological
There are also two World Heritage sites in New Zealand. One
is made up of parts of Fiordland, Westland, Mount Aspiring,
and Mount Cook National Parks while the other one is
Tongariro National Park.
In perfect combination with the national parks are twenty
forest parks that provide superb scenery and several
Easily reached from Auckland is the Coromandel
Forest Park which boasts of over 30 walking trails
through luscious forests, historic mining sites, old
volcanic landforms, as well as swimming, fishing,
camping, sailing, and diving.
Located in the central North Island is Pureora
Forest Park which has been dubbed as New Zealand’s
best wildlife preserve for endangered wildlife birds
ever observed on the country’s mainland.
Four historic and maritime parks preserve rare
animals, vegetation, and archaeological sites on
some of the world’s loveliest headlands, islands,
and coastal lands.
While a lot of these facilities are open to the public for
purposes of recreation, a special permit is needed to visit
some of the distant island reserves that have purpose-built
to facilitate endangered species.
Among such places are the Bay of Islands Maritime
and Historic Park which is a playground of
subtropical islands, beaches, tidal inlets with
mangroves, and bays. This northern beautiful park
provides coastal and forest walks, fishing, boating,
diving, swimming, camping, and big-game fishing.
On the doorstep of Auckland is Hauraki Gulf Maritime
Park. The waters surrounding its forty seven islands
are a boat-athlete’s paradise.
Encompassing Mount Taranaki (the most perfectly
symmetric volcano of New Zealand) is Egmont National
Park. The walking paths in this park cover from the
rainforests of the lowlands, through the alpine herb
fields, to ice and snow.
Situated on Rotorua’s southeast is Te Urewera National Park.
It is the largest remaining forested wilderness region on
the North Island. Its crowning feature is Lake Waikaremoana,
with good fishing, swimming, boating, walking paths, and
Located at the topmost part of the South Island on Tasman
Bay is the Abel Tasman National Park. It is the smallest of
the national parks of New Zealand. Its 4-day walking track
surrounds a wonderfully secluded coastline of untouched,
gold sandy beaches and rocky coves, against a background of
forested hills. The famous 3-4 day coastal walk is
appropriate for people of different ages.
Larger than the rest of the parks combined, the Fiordland
National Park is a big area which includes broad walking
tracks, rainforests, lakes, and stunning fiords, including
the renowned Doubtful and Milford Sounds.