Highlights of a Summer Road Trip to New Zealand - North Island

Tripoto
23rd Feb 2019
Photo of Highlights of a Summer Road Trip to New Zealand - North Island by Kinjal Gala

What does one remember the most on any trip? It's always the mishaps and the unplanned detours that we would have never anticipated! We experienced a lot of such things on our 15-day trip to New Zealand covering North Island and South Island.

Tip no. 1 - Always travel in a group with multiples of 4 and make sure you have 2 people who can drive in each group. Becomes a lot more economical and convenient.

Day 1

We did not have a pretty good start to the trip. Stranded at Auckland airport at 11.30 pm in the night waiting to pick up our rental car from Ace Rentals. Two of us waited at the airport with the luggage while the other two walked 1 km to the rental office just to find it shut. Finally we took an Uber (15 NZD for 3.5km) to our airbnb and decided to pick up the car next morning.

Tip no. 2 - Always make a clear communication with the Car rental company regarding car pickup schedules.

Airbnb - Auckland airbnb hosted by Pui and Apinan (Recomended)

Day 2

The next morning we picked up our car (Toyota Yaris) from the Ace rentals office (they block 750 NZD on your credit card as guarantee). Our first attraction for the trip was the Hobbiton Movie Set. We had an early lunch at The Shire's Rest cafe in the same campus. The tour began with a 20 minute bus ride which took us to the interiors of the place. Our host was very knowledgeable and friendly. She showed us the various points and explained their relevance to the movies. Its an enchanting experience for LOTR movie fans and lots of picturesque spots to take photos. On completion of the tour, we drove to our airbnb in Rotorua.

Airbnb - Beekeeper's Cottage hosted by Wendy (Highly recommended)

Tip no. 3 - Make sure you carry a raincoat/windcheater with you always. The weather in New Zealand is very unpredictable.

These small Hobbit holes are the center of attraction of Hobbiton

Photo of Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

There is a huge stretch of land covering the entire set which took us about two hours to tour

Photo of Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Keeping in mind the size of the Hobbits, everything was designed as a miniature version of the real world.

Photo of Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

The only Open Hobbit hole on the entire set

Photo of Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

The set also comprises of a small lake around which the holes have been built

Photo of Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala
Photo of Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Polynesian Spa is one of the best experiences I had in New Zealand. Opt for a Deluxe Private Pool if you are going as a couple or the Deluxe Lake Spa if going with a group of people to get the best view of the landscapes. Spend the most relaxing time of your trip in the natural hot sulphur pools.

We took the Private Deluxe Spa package at the Polynesian Spa

Photo of Polynesian Spa, Hinemoa St, Rotorua, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

These colorful bushes were to be seen all around the streets of Rotorua

Photo of Polynesian Spa, Hinemoa St, Rotorua, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala
Photo of Polynesian Spa, Hinemoa St, Rotorua, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Our Airbnb - The Beekeeper's cottage and our rental car - Toyota Yaris

Photo of Polynesian Spa, Hinemoa St, Rotorua, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala
Day 3

We started off early in the morning to catch a glimpse of Lady Knox Geyser show at the Wai-o-Tapu thermal park at sharp 10 am in the morning. Rotorua's geo-thermal attractions are one of their kind and various colored pools are sure to leave you spellbound, especially the Artist's Palette, Champagne Pool and the Green Lake. The parks are full of volcanic craters and sulphur springs.

The Champagne Pool - one of the major attractions of the Wai-o-Tapu thermal park

Photo of Wai-O-Tapu Waiotapu Loop Road, Rotorua, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

The Green Lake - how green could it have been!!!

Photo of Wai-O-Tapu Waiotapu Loop Road, Rotorua, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Lady Knox Geyser show

Photo of Wai-O-Tapu Waiotapu Loop Road, Rotorua, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Craters formed by Sulphur springs

Photo of Wai-O-Tapu Waiotapu Loop Road, Rotorua, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

A very deep Crater formed by the erosion of rocks due to reaction with Sulphur

Photo of Wai-O-Tapu Waiotapu Loop Road, Rotorua, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Like Wai-o-Tapu, Hell's Gate is also a thermal park, however the springs are closer to the ground. The uniqueness of this place lies in the mud bath where you can cover your body in mud and wash it off in another pool once dry. All the creative minds can try a hand at wood carving and weaving which is a part of the Maori culture.

The Artistic hands-on wooden carving experience. You get to choose from around 5 symbols representing New Zealand's Maori culture

Photo of Hells Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Bath Spa, Rotorua, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala
Day 4

Taupo is a small town which comes on the way to Tongariro National Park from Rotorua. The entire city is situated alongside lake Taupo. On the way to Taupo, we took a very short detour for Huka falls - we were literally spellbound by it's deep blue shades and the immense power of the flow. We took a pit stop for lunch at Taupo and explored the city for a couple of hours. It is a beautiful city with a huge central park and a long coastline; great to have a walk along and there are cycles available on rent too if you are keen on some cycling.

The deep blue color of water flowing down the stream originating from Huka Falls

Photo of Taupo, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Water gushing through the rocky surface around the falls

Photo of Taupo, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala
Photo of Taupo, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

The beach facing city of Taupo

Photo of Taupo, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Endless beauty as far as the sight can go!

Photo of Taupo, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Lake Taupo

Photo of Taupo, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala
Photo of Taupo, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

A huge chessboard at the Central Park! It always had some players

Photo of Taupo, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

A local at the park invited us to his house to play a game of chess with my husband. This was a custom made chessboard in his courtyard.

Photo of Taupo, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Tongariro is an hour's drive from Taupo and the route is quite scenic. We spent the night at the YHA Hostel and left early the next morning. If you have a day's time to spare, you can opt for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing Hike to witness the volcanic activity in the area. The Schnapps Cafe is a cool place to hangout near the hostel.

The range of Volcanoes at the park surrounded by these wheat-like bushes

Photo of Tongariro National Park, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Birds-eye view of Tongariro National Park

Photo of Tongariro National Park, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala
Photo of Tongariro National Park, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala
Day 5

The drive from Tongariro to the Wellington ferry terminal is a long one. And for us it turned out to be quite expensive as well since we were caught twice for speeding up to 125 km/hr as the speed limit is 100km/hr. They levied a fine of 170NZD each time . The good part was the Bluebridge Ferry to Picton. Three hours on the ferry is the perfect amount of time to soak yourself in the waters around you and let your body flow with the strong winds coupled with beautiful views all around.

The mesmerizing view from the top Deck of the Bluebridge Ferry

Photo of Wellington, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala
Photo of Wellington, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Our Ferry consisted of three decks and we could spend endless amount of time on the deck

Photo of Wellington, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala

Hello Neighbour!! ????

Photo of Wellington, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala
Day 6

We spent the last day of our trip exploring Auckland city. Honestly, after spending so many days amidst the beautiful landscapes, coming back to the city didn't feel so great. However, you can still take a tour atop the Sky Tower for some bird-eye views. Think twice before renting a car in Auckland because the city does not offer free parking and the charges are high during week days. I would suggest you do an Auckland tour on the very first day of your trip.

Stay tuned to read about our most adventurous experiences in New Zealand's South Island coming up soon on Tripoto!

The Sky Tower standing tall amidst the busy city of Auckland

Photo of Auckland, New Zealand by Kinjal Gala
1 Comment(s)
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very well written
Thu 06 27 19, 18:02 · Reply (1) · Report
Thank you so much
Thu 06 27 19, 19:47 · Report