Auckland's better half

Give it an ounce of time and Auckland will most likely surprise you with what it has to offer.

It's not all sipping lattes, expensive Queen Street shopping and traffic jams, you know.

The most laidback cult in the world

120713/News/Photo: Jessica Maddock/Southland Tmes/Mugs of mulled wine were raised and the new signs at the entrances to Wanaka toasted yesterday. Wanaka Community Board chairperson and Queenstown Lakes District deputy mayor, Lyal Cocks, said the schist and metal signs - which depict the Wanaka skyline and a kea - were designed by representatives of the Wanaka Residents Association, the Upper Clutha ? Wanaka Lions Club, the Rotary Club of Wanaka, Lake Wanaka Tourism, and the community board. The two signs, at the Cardrona Valley and Mt Iron entrances to Wanaka, cost $10,000. The community groups raised half the amount and the Queenstown Lakes District Council provided the balance.

I'm jealous of all of these people because they've found their one slice of happiness.

The family who live in a national park

FAMILY BACKYARD: Meadowbank Homestead at Awaroa welcomes hundreds of hikers each summer.

The seventh-generation Wilsons of Abel Tasman lead visitors to their special park on the coastal paradise they call home.

Ready and Abel to rule the waves video

Wilson’s Abel Tasman kayak guide AJ Carrick keeps an eye on her paddling clients.

It is the country's smallest national park but has the most visitors. This guide's job it is to make the Abel Tasman an experience to remember.

The last frantic days of summer

MURDERER'S BAY: Abel Tasman lost four crew here but it was re-named after gold was discovered.

It was the last of the golden weather, and it was Golden Bay.

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