We’ve now spent a whole month exploring New Zealand’s North Island in the run up to our Te Araroa trek (which we start on the 1st November, eek!) So as a sequel to our South Island highlights here’s the best of the North:
1. Thermal Activity
Being in such a thermally active environment has been an extraordinary experience, whether it was visiting Thermal Wonderland or soaking our feet in a thermal pool at the beach, we’ve had a great time. Nothing beats chilling out in a thermally heated stream with friends!
2. Beach Retreats x 2
We spent a couple of nights in Raglan; a cool little beach town west of Hamilton where Nick and Alex had a crack at surfing and we all enjoyed the afternoon drinking at the hipster cafes. The second little surfing town was Mt Mauganui where we stayed in a spectacular beach Bach over looking the ocean for a week with my parents.
3. Early Morning Rugby
It’s been great watching the rugby World Cup in the home of the All Blacks. Rugby is such a big part of the culture over here so it’s been fun watching some of the games at 8am in the pub (barring the England defeats!). Go All Blacks!
4. Eating in Auckland
Delicious Auckland! Auckland definitely has more of a ‘big city’ feel than anywhere else in New Zealand, with a huge number of places to eat and drink. Personal favourites of ours have been the fine dining food court at Elliot Stables and the weekend French Market in Parnell – food heaven.
5. Glorious Glowworms
These little creatures have been fascinating to see. Unique to New Zealand and Australia, they attract their prey by glowing greeny/white at night. We went for an evening kayak with Tim (NZ kayaker) which was brilliant. As darkness arrived we kayaked through a canyon which was lit up by Glowworms. We also went to the Waitomo Caves on our way North which are seriously magical.
6. Haka and Geysers
Probably one of our more touristy experiences in New Zealand but worth it all the same. We went on the evening tour of Te Puia in Rotorua which included seeing the largest natural geyser go off in the moonlight, taking part in a haka and enjoying a Maori feast cooked in the steaming hangi.
7. Traveling with family and friends
Spending 4 weeks traveling with Nick and Becky, followed by 2 weeks with my parents has been a real treat. We’ve been able to share some awesome experiences which I am sure we will be able to reminisce about fondly when we are tired, cold and hungry over the next 4 months of tramping!
Nothing left to do now but start walking… For a really long time!