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The most prominent of all the historical sites in New Zealand, Waitangi is a jewel in the crown of the Bay of Islands and Northland that is an unmissable place to visit for any cruiser experiencing the wonders of Australasia.
Waitangi is at the centre of much of New Zealand's history. As the site of The Treaty of Waitangi, the agreement which formally made New Zealand a British Colony, the island is abundant with culture and outstanding historical sites.
Not only is Waitangi an island with plenty of opportunities to delve into Australasia's fascinating past and gain some educational insight, but it is a site of stunning natural beauty. Situated at the northern tip of New Zealand, just above the thriving township of Auckland, Waitangi sits within the beautiful inlets and atolls that make up the Bay of islands.
Crystal clear waters, miles and miles of verdant farmland, glorious sandy beaches and mountain ranges are all stunning features of the coastlines surrounding this idyllic island. Huge expanses of volcanic soil, fiords, glaciers and native forests which extend for miles are all there to be explored as well, giving Waitangi an ethereal beauty to complement its storied history and fascinating culture.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
The premier historic site in New Zealand, this amazing historical site overlooks the bay of islands, and has long been preserved by conservation groups and diligent locals. The treaty grounds are part of the 506 hectare Waitangi National Trust Estate, which was given to the nation by Lord and Lady Bledisloe in 1932. Visitors can view the Treaty House, the oldest and most visited historic home in New Zealand, Te Whare Runanaga, a Maori meeting house which is adorned with beautiful carvings representative of all the regional tribes in New Zealand, as well as Ngatokimatawhaorua, one of the world's largest Maori ceremonial war canoes.
For a true taste of Maori Culture, cruisers should make Culture North a priority. Providing a wide range of Maori experiences that are part of the local, vibrant culture, Culture North is a hub for music performances, artwork and lectures that illuminate the importance of Maori culture upon New Zealand. A particular highlight is the Culture North Night Show, which tells the history of Waitangi through a sound and light performance which explores 1000 years of culture, from beginning of Maori civilisation to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Along with an amazing historical experience, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds offer an extensive boutique gift shop that will provide unique souvenirs such as Maori carvings, replicas of artifacts and even local artwork for your delectation. For a truly special gift, this is definitely the place you should be visiting.
For a sumptuous meal that overlooks the stunning grounds of the Treaty House, make a trip to the Wakikokopu Café, which is known for serving excellent versions of New Zealand staples. Fresh fish and chips with gourmet twists, along with delicious French toast are staples of the menu. The Swiss Café and Grill is also a highlight, offering unpretentious yet mouth-watering fish dishes, schnitzel, and homemade strudel.
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