Experience New Zealand – A Trip across the North Island
Don’t listen to anyone who says New Zealand can be traversed in a few days – this is a big country with an astounding number of natural and urban wonders that beg your undivided attention. So naturally, we’re going to be covering one of the two islands today, and leave the southern archipelago for another time, as the South Island really does deserve a separate mention and a unique take on your New Zealand travel guide.
With over 113,729 km² of territory within its borders, the North Island is a place you should research thoroughly in order to make a sound travel plan that will cost you not a penny more than it has to, and not a minute more than you need to experience everything the region has to offer. Here is your New Zealand travel guide across the bewildering beauty of the North Island.
Auckland to Paihia
Welcome to Auckland! Hope you had a comfortable flight and that you’ll soon be able to shake off the long hours you’ve spent in air and on stopovers. You might feel tempted to stay a couple of days here and explore the wonders of the concrete jungle, but keep in mind that you’re here for the breathtaking natural scenery, so consider staying a day tops so that you have plenty of time to explore the great unknown.
You’ll be spending the next few days going north towards Paihia and Cape Reinga, exploring Northland and all of its vantage points and glistening beauty. The 1 motorway from Auckland will take you straight up to Kawakawa where you’ll turn right and join the 11 motorway to Paihia. In its surroundings, you will find the vibrant Opua Forest and the Haruru Falls, but your main point of interest should be the outer islands and the many wonders that await you there. This is also an amazing place to go dolphin-watching!
Paihia to Cape Reinga
Situated more than a hundred kilometres from the nearest town, Cape Reinga is the northernmost point of New Zealand and a definite stop in your New Zealand travel guide. From Paihia, take the no.1 motorway straight up to the point, where a lighthouse overlooking the expansive ocean awaits. A cool idea would be to ignite that four-wheel-drive mode and take the part of the road to the point over the 90-mile beach.
You can also set up camp at the Tapotupotu campsite – a beautiful stretch of honey-hued sand overlooking the Tapotupotu Bay. When standing by the lighthouse at Cape Reinga, be sure to look for the point where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet and witness the never-ending tidal race.
The Coromandel Peninsula
Following the road back to Auckland, you can make your way to the Coromandel Peninsula. This is a famous traveller destination and a sightseeing place you shouldn’t miss on your New Zealand adventure. As you might have gathered by now, you should find cheap car rental while you’re in Auckland in order to be able to traverse these vast distances with ease and in order to explore every nook and cranny of the Island. Coromandel is no different and you will need your own vehicle for this adventure.
Now, find the no.25 motorway on the map and follow it to Coromandel Town. This will be your base of operations for your Coromandel exploration because you can not only lodge and camp here, but you’ll be in close proximity to all points of interest as well. Be sure to take the hike up to Cathedral Cove to the east from the village of Hahei, and then make your way south to the Hot Water Beach – once there, dig out your own hot spring, sit back, and relax.
Exploring Hobbiton and Mount Maunganui
Not a two-and-a-half-hour drive south from Coromandel lies Bay of Plenty and its coastal city of Tauranga. It’s here where you will find Mount Maunganui and the spectacular sunrise many travellers come to experience. But that’s not all the region is famous for.
After all, what would a New Zealand travel guide be without a visit to Matamata, home to the Hobbiton Movie set? Okay, this is might be a tourist trap, but it is well worth your time and money if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan. Even if you’re not, it’s still a magnificent sight to behold, what with the little hobbit houses weaved into the emerald greenery and the distinctly magical feeling permeating the setting. It’s a tour you’re bound to remember.
Napier and Hawke’s Bay to Wellington
Done living out your LOTR fantasy? Good, off you go to Hawke’s Bay and the beautiful coastal towns that grace its shores. Your main destination here will be Napier, a popular beachside town that offers excellent lodging, dining, and the most exquisite vine tours in the country. If you’re somewhat of a wine aficionado, then this is the place to be.
You can spend the day exploring the natural surroundings of the town (Lake Taupo is a must), you can make your way south-west towards Wellington. The capital of New Zealand is the final stop in your New Zealand travel guide, at least for the North Island. Once there, you can take your time exploring this compact urban jungle and the gems it holds within. Be sure to visit the Wellington Botanic Garden, the Wellington Zoo, and snap a few photos from the Mount Victoria Lookout.
New Zealand, contrary to popular belief, is a vast country that cannot be experienced in a single trip. Well, if you have all the time in the world, then, by all means, make it a one-time escapade. For now, though, you can go ahead and follow this New Zealand travel guide that will take you on an exploration journey you’re bound to love.