Having spent ten wonderful days on New Zealand's North Island I'd love to share the highlights of my trip with you. I hope you will find it helpful if you are planning to go.
South Island is much more touristy so I was really curious to explore North Island and to see what it has to offer. My trip has started in Auckland which I have already covered in my previous post so I'm going to focus on other places here.
Piha is New Zealand's most famous surf beach. Situated on the west coast of the North Island, about one hour drive from the city of Auckland, you may also recognise it as a movie location from the Piano. It looks amazing from above as well as from a short hike up the Lion Rock (pictured below).
If you are going to Piha, make sure to stop by Karekare Falls situated very close by.
The landscape in the area is gorgeous - just look at all those plants!
Tongariro National Park
Pictured below is Chateau Tongariro, located at the base of the road leading up to Mount Ruapehu's Whakapapa ski field. Sadly, due to bad weather conditions, our hike in the area has been cancelled but I wanted to add it to the list anyway as theNnational Park looks stunning on the pictures I've seen.
Rotorua is an area well known for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. Two pictures below were taken in Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. The colourful hot spring is called Champagne Pool due to its constant efflux of carbon dioxide gas, similar to a glass of bubbling champagne.
Rotorua is also home to a living Maori village and the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, with traditional wood carving and weaving schools. If you are travelling to New Zealand I would highly recommend experiencing Maori cultutre as it's such an important part of New Zealand's history.
White Island, an active volcano, was one of my highlights of the whole trip. There are only two ways to reach the island: by boat or by helicopter. We were supposed to by boat (the trip takes about 1,5 hours one way, more information here) but due to weather conditions, our tour got replaced by a helicopter which has made this experience even more unforgettable! It was a proper landing on the moon moment when we walked out of the helicopter wearing a gas mask and a helmet. We were able to see roaring steam vents, bubbling mud pools and hot volcanic streams. The vivid hues of yellow and orange resulting from the abundant sulphur on the island make it look even more impressive.
The wonderful view below is from Mount Manganui.
New Zealand has been used for a number of movie locations but Hobbiton is probably the most well-known one. What impressed me the most about this experience is that it's located on a family run farm and the area looks so peaceful, you don't expect to see one of the most touristy destinations there.
Another place that is an absolute must visit for any photographer/instagrammer and another famous movie location. Cathedral Cove (below) is accessible only on foot, by boat or kayak. We decided to walk there and was definitely worth it as all the views on the way were absolutely stunning. And if you still haven't guessed, The Chronicles of Narnia were filmed here.
I was a guest of Tourism New Zealand. All opinions are my own.