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Around the World: For the love of the North

August 13, 2019

 

 

They hit the Outback of Australia in the middle of summer, toured the East Coast and explored the beauty of the Great Ocean Road. Now we follow Chloe and Matt as they venture across to New Zealand with their trusted side-kick Caroline…

“On 29 December, after a lovely family Christmas, we boarded our flight from Sydney to Auckland to start our tour of New Zealand.

 

In Auckland we visited the Sky Tower, Auckland War Museum, hiked to the volcanic crater on Rangitoto Island and took a guided tour of Eden Park (to satisfy Matt’s rugby withdrawal symptoms).

 

We celebrated New Year’s Eve at Mount Victoria in Devonport, watching the fireworks from the top of the Sky Tower. We must admit we found the fireworks a little underwhelming but maybe we’re being unfair by comparing them to London and Sydney.

Shortly after, we picked up Caroline, our beautiful camper van and home for the next three and a half weeks.

After collecting Caroline we had the long drive up to Paihia, hoping we made it in time for our kayaking trip. On arrival we found out it had been cancelled, which was a real shame as the local bays looked stunning from the beach.

 

The next morning we were up and out early and took the ferry from Paihia to Russell where we were due to board the R Tucker Thompson for a day sailing trip, but not before we tucked into the best breakfast ever at Butterfish on the waterfront in Russell.

 

The R Tucker Thompson provided an amazing day out with the right mix of relaxation, fun and education on local cultural history. They provided a lovely lunch and afternoon tea service and allowed you to climb the rigging to really take in the views. A fantastic day out finished with fish and chips on the waterfront in Paihia.

The next day we were up early and visited the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. With our first dose of New Zealand’s history and culture, we had lots of things to think about on our long drive down to Waitiomo that afternoon. 

Zip lining and abseiling through caves, climbing up underground waterfalls and floating along underground rivers lit only by beautiful glow worms was next on the agenda as we took on the Black Abyss Tour with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company. This was an amazing experience and definitely worth the $255 price tag.

‘I’m going on an adventure’ we yelled as we drove Caroline from Waitomo to Rotorua, but not without stopping at the famous Hobbiton for a guided tour, including a nice cold beverage in The Green Dragon.

After reaching Rotorua we headed out to the Redwood Forest to walk up in the trees on the Treewalk, just like Harry and Meghan did.

Afterwards we headed to the Polynesian Spa for a little breather and some relaxation after running around like Hobbits all day.

Feeling completely relaxed, it was all ruined by an early start and an exhilarating adventure White Water Rafting with Kaituna Cascades, which was amazing and scary as we rafted down the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world at around 7m. That afternoon we hiked up the Pohaturoa Track to get a view of the whole city.

Another great view was from the Skyline, which was where we headed the next morning. Here we had three luge runs each and had so much fun! 

 

Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activity and that afternoon we headed to Te Puia Geothermal Park to see the famous Pohutu Geyser, Geothermal Mud Pools and unexpectedly got to see the National Maori Arts and Crafts Institute where they train locals and educate tourists on traditional Maori arts such as carving and weaving.