We arrived to Auckland at night (12am) and went to bed straight away as next morning we had to wake up early. We had bought the Kiwi Experience bus ticket for the North Island, and our tour began by going to Te Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove). In every destination we had different options for activities, some of which free of charge. I chose to go for a walk and see some stunning views while Mr. A went canoeing. First impression of Kiwi: WOW WOW WOW! Absolutely beautiful. The temperature was much lower than in Australia, so I felt chilly (still ranging from 18-25 degrees), but the air was so fresh and nice. We spent couple of hours there and then drove to our destination; Coromandel Peninsula (Hot Water Beach) where we all spent the night. In the evening we went to the beach to wait for the low tide and dig our own small hot water pool. It was pretty amazing to find these kinds of spots under the sand where the water was boiling hot.
The next morning we drove to Waitomo (wai meaning water, tomo meaning cave) where we chose to do a bit of black water rafting. We put on our wetsuits with rubber boots and a helmet and took our rubber tubes to the “practicing place” where we had to jump backwards from dock to the freezing cold water. (At this point I realized this whole trip is going to be a “fear factor” for me as I don`t like jumping to the water from high and especially not backwards with a rubber tube when the water is so cold it takes my breath away!) Anyway after practicing the correct jump we walked through the rainforest in order to go into the Ruakuri/Waitomo Glowworm caves. Part of the tour we walked inside the cave in the water trying not to fall down, and part of it we floated with the tubes letting the rip take us. (The scariest parts were when we had to jump from the cliff in order to get deeper into the cave with the technique we practiced before entering the caves. I just had to cross my fingers and hope I wouldn`t hit the sharp rocks or drown etc on the way down.) We saw beautiful bright blue colorized glowworms and cave corals. Btw did you know that glowworms glow basically because they burn their waste off? So I was admiring glowing shit (sorry mum!), great 🙂 But it was definitely cool experience! In the evening we just went to bed as we were really tired.
The next day we drove towards Whangapipiro (Rotorua, meaning an evil smelling place). The sulphur dioxide gas created by the geothermal activity causes the town to have this “special” smell. On the way to Rotorua we stopped to have a scenic walk in Ruakuri Reserve. The walks were really nice. In Rotorua we decided to go to skyline luge, which is pretty much driving a carting car down a big hill. It was fun, but not specially something you couldn`t do somewhere else. In the evening we had a Maori cultural hangi (traditional Maori meal) and concert at the Tamaki Maori Village. We learnt about their culture, and they performed us some traditional songs and dances after which we had really good dinner (the meat had been cooking for 4 hours underground, pretty impressing!). Sweet as bro! (This is kiwi dialect meaning “what you are saying sounds good/I accept your propose. One can hear locals saying “sweet as” almost in every sentence). We decided to stay one extra night in Rotorua, so the next day we went to the thermal spa to try the natural hot springs.
After Rotorua it was time to take the bus to Taupo where we had the opportunity to skydive or do a 17km volcanic walk. I really wanted to do both of them, but in the end did neither since I still had a bad influenza that made me feel very tired. It was a pity because I couldn`t do some nice activities, but no can do. It could have been worse, so luckily I didn`t have much temperature that would had prevented me to travel. In Taupo we just walked a little bit watching the view and the mountain Ngauruhoe (In the film Lord of the Rings called Mount Doom). Sweet as! We visited Te Puia center where we saw Maori carvings and handicrafts. We also saw the Kiwi bird: it was so cute (google a picture of it)!
The next day we had to go back to Auckland. On the way we stopped to see the Huka Falls (Huka meaning foam). The water channel is natural and actually formed by and earthquake. What a power it carries, wow! We also saw some mud pools and geysers. They are so interesting, I reckon, and it makes me think about the wonderful (and diverse) nature we have around the world… In the evening we arrived to Auckland and started to unpack a little. The next day we walked around the city and went to beach. I had been wondering if I should do a sky jump from the Auckland sky tower (85km/hour base wire jump from the height of 192m). Finally when I decided I want to do this, since the skydive did not work, it was already closed. Too late, too bad. Oh well, the next time then! The next day we were suppose to have a flight really early in the morning, but when we arrived into the airport, our flight was re-scheduled for the night so we got a free stay in a airport hotel with a nice breakfast and lunch included. Not too bad. The flight back to Brisbane was awful (no food included, no TV`s and awful turbulence, disgusting), but we survived. In Brisbane the weather was as bad as when we left; raining and super humid. Great! But the trip in New Zealand was so awesome that I wasn`t depressed.
I would highly recommend New Zealand to everyone as it is a unique and absolutely stunning place! I fell in love, and I have to come back to see the South Island as well! Kia ora and Haere ra (“Hello and thank you/regards” in maori) from Kiwi!