Our November was pretty amazing! Craig and I spent the best part of three weeks touring New Zealand’s north island. We did so many amazing things that it’s really difficult to pull out just a few highlights, but I thought I’d give it a try.
We spend a few days at the start and end of our trip in Auckland. It’s a really cool wee city, and it’s just a short drive out of the main centre to the coast. We spent some time out at Mission Bay, Devonport, a day in Auckland Zoo and an evening at the Planetarium too. It’s tempting to fly into Auckland and head straight off to explore the rest of the country, but this little city has lots to do.
I have loved Tolkien’s works since I was tiny and Craig’s a big fan of the fantasy genre too, so Hobbiton was always going to be a hit. Even keeping this in mind, it totally surpassed both of our expectations. In both detail and in scale there is so much going on, and it was pretty cool to have a pint in The Green Dragon! We stayed for lunch at the end of our tour, and it was well worth it.
Lake Taupo Kayaking
We booked this trip with about 2 hours to spare, and we’re very glad we did! A 3-4 hour trip in tandem kayaks round to some Maori rock carvings, this was a really cool afternoon out. We had the chance to jump in for a swim on the way back, and our guide even packed some cake and coffee. He did then have a laugh at us when we were surprised by a floating rock, but then we don’t get pumice in Scotland.
Often referred to as New Zealand’s best one day hike, I would find it hard to argue! Starting fairly easily along single track and boardwalk, the going soon gets steeper and more challenging as it goes. In certain months, you MUST use the local shuttle services. Make sure you check out the DOC website or check in at a nearby i-site to check the conditions and book up.
Mount Tongariro features as Mount Doom, making this a very popular hike!
If I had to give just one tip about travelling in New Zealand, I would say make use of the i-sites. They’re a fantastic resource for information, deals and what’s good locally. It’s also possible to book most things there, which is a bonus if you don’t have regur internet access.
It was an utterly fantastic trip, which already feels like it happened ages ago. I would without a doubt recommend travelling to New Zealand – their tourism industry is the best I have ever experienced, and it’s a wonderfully dramatic and varied place to be.