Made up of some of the most incredible bays and beaches, the north island is a holiday you won’t want to miss. In our last story we headed to Picton to join the ferry for the crossing to Wellington where we will experience the Heritage listed Mt Ruapehu, Mt Taranaki in Egmont National Park with 300 kilometres of walking tracks and wine tasting at Hawkes Bay. But a real highlight is Pukaha Mount Bruce where you can see the famous white kiwi. Experience endangered wildlife up close in an environment where a concerted effort is being made to save not only the kiwi but the Tuatara, Kokado and Kaka. While in Wellington visit Te Papa museum or for those interested in classical endeavours – the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Symphony orchestra.
Lake Taupo situated to the north of Ruhapehu – considered to be nature’s great escape. The region of Aotearoa and the largest lake- it is a pristine outdoor playground. Featuring icy rivers and secluded bays, it is possibly the trout fishing that may interest many travellers. Just 5 kilometres north of Taupo are the famous Huka Falls. Natural hot pools are welcome at the end of a travelling day.
Refreshed and ready to move on, it is a short journey north to Rotorua and the geysers and mud pools. The incredible Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve has some of the most stunning horse riding tracks in the north. Surrounded by Californian Redwoods, it is only 3 minutes from the city and free to access. The geysers at Te Puia erupt around 20 times a day and the thermal beaches can not only help soak away aches and pains, it can also v=cook the fish you may have caught during the day. There is so much to do in Rotorua including a jet boat thermal safari, the skyline gondola and the Hells Gate geothermal park and mud spa.
There has to be a few Lord of the Rings enthusiasts out there who would enjoy the Bay Of Plenty and Gisborne. Apart from the long stretches of white sandy beaches New Zealand’s only active marine volcano is located on White Island. The region is well noted also for Marlin and Tuna fishing and provides some spectacular diving. But of course it is the Hobbiton Movie Tours that are the number one attraction. Visit places like the Green Dragon Inn, Hobbit holes and the Mill. At dusk canoe on Lake McLaren to see the enchanting Gloworm Canyon or explore the Bay on a wildlife tour.
One of the most exhilarating tours heading north is located in Waitomo- that of cave exploration through the underground river while floating on a tube. The city of Hamilton is known as a horticulture heaven while Otorohanga is the home of the Kiwi reserve and bird park.
While to the south you can experience nature at its finest, the north boasts the Coromandel Peninsula and some of the finest beaches where you have a choice of water temperature for your bathing needs. Enjoy a 2 hour walk to Wentworth Valley Falls or explore the old gold mine at Thames. Enjoy the scenery along the coast road of the Bay of Islands before making your way south the Auckland for your journey home. Take one last cruise on the ferry to Waiheki Island to sample some of the finest wines in New Zealand at places like the Brickworks winery as you watch the sunset over another perfect day.
There is so much to see in New Zealand that the best advice I can give is ‘Just Go’.
Happy Travelling Deanne Scanlan Travel www.destinationdesigner.com 0411682577
The Bay of Islands