2018 saw my biggest adventure yet.
A two month solo trip around the beautiful land of New Zealand. It didn’t just meet my expectations, but it went above and beyond all that I’d imagined it would be. It truly was the adventure of a lifetime.
I figured I’d split New Zealand in to two posts; a North Island and a South Island. Because to be honest, there’s just too much to fit into one post.
Before I go any further, I should say I travelled with a company called Stray across both Islands. They are a hop-on-hop-off bus tour company, offering a variety of passes and excursions. Click here to visit their website and find out more.
So without further a do, here is my must sees in the North Island!
Most visitors will start their Kiwi adventure in the vibrant city of Auckland. With the majority of New Zealand’s population living here, its a city that is constantly buzzing, with incredible opportunities to explore and discover. If you love a good hike, I’d definitely recommend Mt Eden. A dormant volcano, it’s the highest point in Auckland and provides incredible views of the city. (I’d 100% recommend hiking in time for sun set, the views are even more breathtaking).
2. Cathedral Cove, Hahei
Hahei Beach is probably one of the best beaches I’ve been on in a long time. Its also not far from hot water beach, where you can find hot water bubbling through the golden sand either side of low tide. However my favourite thing about Hahei is Cathedral Cove. If you’ve ever seen The Chronicles of Narnia, you may recognise some parts of the beach. They used the area to film during Prince Caspian. But if that’s not enough to make you want to visit, you can also explore marine wildlife and go kayaking.
So I love everything to do with Lord of the Rings. It’s one of my favourite books, and favourite films, so visiting Hobbiton was obviously going to be high on my list of places to visit.
There are 44 Hobbit Holes still in place across The Shire, as well as The Green Dragon Inn, where you can grab a refreshing drink after you finish your tour. Speaking of tours, you can choose from the standard Movie Set Tour, Banquet Tours, and Private Tours.
4. Lake Taupo
Taupo is located right in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island. Its crystal-clear lake draws people to the town all year round. The Lake itself is roughly the same size as Singapore! From Taupo Town you can visit Huka Falls, an incredible waterfall where tonnes of water plummets over it every minute. You can also get a bus to the infamous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a World Heritage Site and one of the most popular day hikes in the country. If you’re brave enough to take on the task, you’ll be met with incredible views of blue lakes, and Mt Doom from the Lord of the Rings series.
Wellington was my favourite city in New Zealand. Although its the capital city, its a compact city with a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, botanical gardens and a working harbour. I thought I’d give you my highlights of the glorious city so you don’t miss out!
Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum, and is full of geological, biological, cultural and social history. Every floor has unique and vibrant displays; and if that doesn’t tempt you, it’s free entry!
If you’re after a good afternoon hike, and want incredible views to boot, I’d definitely recommend Mt Victoria. When you reach the summit, you can take in panoramic views of the city and it’s harbour. And if you have a couple of hours to spare, they why not take a picnic and soak in those incredible views.
If you’re a film buff, then visiting the Weta Workshop must be on your list. It gives you the opportunity to get an insight into the behind the scenes of various films, and the artistry that’s gone in to all the props and features of the films. You can also choose to do the Lord of the Rings location tour, where you can visit nervous filming locations for the films, ending at the Weta Workshop.
Visiting the Wellington Parliament Buildings and doing a tour is definitely worthwhile. Not only do you learn so much about how their Parliament runs, what the various buildings are used for, but you get a unique insight into New Zealand’s history.
Even if you’re not a rugby fan, I’d still recommend heading to a game. The atmosphere, and the high calibre of rugby definitely makes it worthwhile.
So if you’re heading to the North Island any time soon, then I hope this guide will give you some inspiration of where to go and what to do during you’re time there.
Keep an eye out for my South Island guide coming soon!