I didn’t expect myself to head back to New Zealand so soon after exploring South Island with the family in 2014. Naturally, I was extremely excited to head back to soak and drown myself in nature’s freshness.
Here’s the places we covered during the short 2 weeks we had (3, for me) and go-to places we had to hit:
- Auckland: 20 – 22 Oct ’15
- Waitomo: 22 Oct
- Taupo: 22 – 23 Oct
- Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (Rotorua): 23 Oct
- Whakatane: 23 – 25 Oct
- 1st Sunrise of the World (Te Araroa): 25 – 26 Oct
- Tolaga Bay Wharf/ Rere Rockslide: 26 – 27 Oct
- Taranaki Falls + Mount Ruapehu (Whakapapa): 27 – 28 Oct
- National Trout Centre (Turangi): 29 Oct
- Lower Tama Lake Walk (Whakapapa): 30 Oct
- Palmerston North: 30 – 31 Oct
- Wellington: 31 Oct – 2 Nov
20 October, Tuesday
Caught the night flight from Melbourne to Auckland and we reached about 5.05am. Morning… jeez. We had a car reservation made online with Thrifty and could only collect the car at 8am so we idled around.
I mentioned earlier we made no plans for New Zealand and that included accommodation. We scrambled to find the cheapest spots to put our ass in to comfortably rest and in the end settled for Jucy Snooze at NZ$65 for a private room + shared bathroom. Not the cheapest we could deal with but we had no other choice for such last minute decisions; all part of the thrills of traveling freely!
We didn’t do much this day apart from sorting out our itinerary proper and eliminating some places to go to due to time constraints. We had a tiring but productive morning!
Walked to the city to enjoy some Auckland air, grabbed lunch, grocery shopped for necessities, headed back to the room early to sleep. We both slept for more than 12 hours.
21 October, Wednesday – Maungawhau Volcano + Mount Eden Village
I’ve heard many things about Auckland, how people dislike the city. No doubt about that when North Island has so much to offer as compared to the city life! But since we were there, we had to do at least one touristy thing to make it worth our while.
With Auckland’s metropolitan area sitting on top of a volcanic field and being vulnerable to volcanic eruptions, what better way to spend the time visiting a volcano!
So many volcanoes to choose from, we settled on Maungawhau (Mount Eden).
- Maungawhau – meaning mountain of the whau tree
- 196m/ 646ft high
- Highest natural point in Auckalnd
- Large, well-preserved crater contained within the summit cone (~50m deep)
Mount Eden Village
Decided to check the suburb out cause it has a pretty cool name! Did a brunch stop before we headed to South Auckland to check-in to the Airbnb place.
That’s pretty much what we did in Auckland:
- Visit the city center
- Mt Eden Village
Partially why we moved to stay in South Auckland was to shave off some driving time to Waitomo to do the LEGENDARY black water rafting! (!!!)
More about that in my next update.