Another beautifully lost dreamer with an incurable case of wanderlust.

Top 10 – North Island Road Trip

Last year we visited the North Island in New Zealand and it was ‘sweet as bro’!

I’ve been in the middle of writing a diary style post about this road trip for almost a year and it just isn’t working for me, so I’ve decided to simplify this article and turn it into North Island road trip must sees.

So, here we go!

 

Waiheke Island

Waiheke is a stunning island just a short ferry ride from Auckland. Boasting picture-perfect beaches and some of the most fabulous wineries in New Zealand. It was a great place to spend my twenty fifth birthday; indulging in gourmet food and drinking copious amounts of red wine (mainly to drown my sorrows about getting old.) If you’re heart is screaming ‘treat yo’self’ then book in for lunch at Mudbrick. Embrace the warm atmosphere, stunning views and dreamy dining at this award winning venue.

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This is my shot of Waiheke...

This is my shot of Waiheke.

This is what Waiheke looks like when it's not pissing down with rain! Image credit to Potiki Adventures.

And this is Waiheke when it’s not pissing down with rain! Image credit to Potiki Adventures.


Cathedral Cove at Sunset

I’m not a lover of walking, but the walk to and from Cathedral Cove really was spectacular. Following the track along the cliffs looking out to the ocean and lush green islands makes you realise you are in New Zealand! The beach where the Cathedral Cove rock is located was almost deserted, it was so peaceful. Once the sun started to set, the colours reflecting off the clouds, the water, the sand and the rock were just incredible. It’s something you definitely should see for yourself.

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Hot Water Beach

We decided to hire a spade, set the alarm for 4:30am and sleep in our campervan at the Hot Water Beach campsite. Unfortunately for us, we were a little unorganised. Half asleep; we tried to make it to the beach (which was much further down the trail than we thought). The battery on our torch went out, we got lost, had a domestic and never even got to the beach, let alone dig in the sand in search for hot water! I am aware that I’m not really selling it to you, but people I’ve spoken with who have done it, said it was the most unique experience and really recommended it, so I think it should be on your road trip list. Just make sure you scout it out where to go in the day time first! Oh, and if you’re going in winter, take your thermals!

Yeaaaaah, that didn't happen for us! Image credit to www.thecoromandel.com

Yeaaaaah, that didn’t happen for us! Image credit to www.thecoromandel.com

 

Natural Thermal Pools

It’s true, Rotorua does have a rather distinctive odour about it. But once you’ve been to the naturally heated outdoor thermal pools at the Polynesian Spa, you’ll totally embrace it! It’s the perfect place to unwind; plus, the geothermal waters are filled with minerals that nourish your skin and relieve tired muscles. Just what you need after you’ve slept in a van for a few too many nights!

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Te Puia

When you travel to a place with such an intriguing culture, you have to learn more! We spent an evening at the Maori cultural centre, Te Puia. I know that sometime these visits can feel awkward or overly touristy, but this one didn’t. It was very genuine; not too businessy and appealed to a wide audience, which was nice. (I actually met a lady who used to live in my hometown back in the UK! – Small world!) We were giving an insight into Maori culture and traditions; watched the Haka, which I am in love with, and ate dinner from a hungi. Later in to the evening we sat on naturally heated rocks and watched a geyser fire 100 degree water up high into the air. The guides were so passionate about their heritage and I felt it was a true reflection of how the Maori people lived.

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White Water Rafting

The most terrifying and freezing, yet exhilarating experience in the North Island! If you are feeling a bit ‘meh’ from your mundane life back home, a rafting trip on the Kaituna River is sure to get your adrenaline racing and your heart pounding! Read my full post here.

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Lake Taupo

We stopped at Taupo for lunch and it’s the cutest little town located right next to the famous lake. It had a friendly community feel and takes you back in time a few years! The lake itself is so vast and beautiful; It’s a great place to sit on a bench and soak it all in. Watch the seaplanes land on the sparkling blue water and admire the impressive snowy mountains in the background. This is also the place where we discovered Woolies is called Countdown (seriously, wtf?) and a shopping trolley is called a ‘trundler’. Kiwi’s make up the funniest words!

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Tongariro National Park

Driving in to the National Park you are greeted with one hell of a dramatic landscape! It was nothing like I’d seen before; the snow capped mountains and straight roads with not a car in sight! It had a magical feel about it and I was excited to be there. It was minus 6 degrees so we decided to check into an adorable mountain lodge, just like the ones you see in the movies! Lucky we did, as the key of our camper snapped clean off and we ended up getting stranded there for days! There were worse places to be stranded though. Our time at Tongariro was spent in the hot tub, having massages and exploring smaller surrounding mountains. The main reason for road tripping to Tongariro was to hike the crossing; a 20km trail that peaks at 1,886m, with a wind chill that week around -26 degrees. I instantly decided it wasn’t for me, nor would it have been a pleasant experience for anyone with me if I were to do it, so I stayed in the lodge with a cuppa and a notebook. Tom, however, set off on his adventure early the next morning. He said it was a challenge but one of the most epic hikes he’s ever experienced. His photographs are stunning and I feel like he captured the day perfectly. (Almost well enough to feel like I did it first hand!) The Tongariro National Park is a must see on your North Island road trip!

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On the Tongariro Crossing. Nice shot, Tom!

On the Tongariro Crossing. Nice shot, Tom!

 

Black Water Rafting

The ultimate caving trip, like, ever. We spent the day 25m underground, tubing, ziplining and climbing through one of nature’s amazing creations. Read my full post here.

Looking rather dashing.

Looking rather dashing.

 

Happy roadtripping, adventurers.
xx

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