New Zealand Adventure: Best of North Island

Tripoto
15th Sep 2013

Dolphins in the Bay Of Islands

Photo of New Zealand Adventure: Best of North Island by Riya Poojary

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Peninsula

Photo of New Zealand Adventure: Best of North Island by Riya Poojary

Glow worms in the Waitomo Caves

Photo of New Zealand Adventure: Best of North Island by Riya Poojary

Te Papa Museum, Wellington

Photo of New Zealand Adventure: Best of North Island by Riya Poojary

Napier

Photo of New Zealand Adventure: Best of North Island by Riya Poojary

New Zealand tourism is slowly evolving, yet there is so much in this country that is yet untouched. Travellers come to its abound natural beauty and rightly so, yet they sometimes miss out on certain finer aspects of culture, history and urban life that is growing with its beaches and landscapes. The North Island of New Zealand provides an opportunity to get a little closer to the real New Zealand, the people, the cities, the culture, the history and the biodiversity.

New Zealand is hardly a place for luxury travel, by which my mean 5 star hotels, expensive transport, pre-planned itinerary etc. It is a place for adventure, by which I mean picking your backpack and going where the road takes you. In New Zealand, following the road won’t be disappointing. In fact, the road will reward you will a rare sight/place that hasn’t been encountered by most other tourists, and probably even locals yet. This is very possible in this country that needs more enthusiastic explorers to bring to light the hidden bonanzas.

New Zealand is divided into two halves, North Island and South Island. North Island is the smaller of the two, yet it where you will find the urban culture of the place mixed gently with the breath-taking geographical features. It is more populated than the South Island. If South Island is the rugged, country side of New Zealand, North Island is the developed, urban side. This trip to North Island states some of the place I found fascinating and would probably recommend. But, as I mentioned before, you are free to discover more!

The Bay of Islands lies in the Far North of the North Island. Although, it is quite a popular tourist destination once you reach there, you will know why it is on the top of my list on things to visit here. This place is an invitation to the Natural bounty of New Zealand. The highlight of this place? Swimming with the Dolphins! You can take the lovely NZ Dolphin tour or take a dip into the waters yourself. Other water activities such as fishing and sailing can also be done. If you aren’t a water person, you can hike along the amazing landscape as you take in the fresh sea breeze and admire the sparkling blue waters. You can head to the small, yet chirpy town of Paihia afterwards and grab a nice meal.
Photo of Bay Of Islands, Paihia, Northland, New Zealand by Riya Poojary
Mount Tongariro is a volcanic mountain and one of the best hiking trails in New Zealand. This 20 kilometer hike, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, takes about 10 hours and is mostly recommended during May to November. Apart from being challenging, this is also one of the most beautiful trails, with some of the most colourful landscapes of unparalleled beauty. The eruptions in the past have created some of the most beautiful craters, and blue lakes that you can spend hours around. A great one day adventure in New Zealand.
Photo of Mount Tongariro, Tongariro National Park, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand by Riya Poojary
Wellington is the Capital city of New Zealand. Also called, the “Capital of Cool”, this urban city is filled with art, culture, theatre and history. While roaming around the capital might take some days. Apart from taking the city to sea walk, riding in the cable cars and visiting Makara park, your urban experience is incomplete without the Te Papa Museum, also known as New Zealand’s National Museum. It is the world’s most interactive museum and a one stop guide into the history and culture of New Zealand. A walk through this museum means experiencing the Maori culture, legends and cuisine. There are also two rides inside the museum to make things more exciting. These rides are basically stimulators called the High Ride and the Deep Ride. On the whole, this museum is a rare occasion where being indoors in New Zealand is equally fun!
Photo of Te Papa Museum, Wellington, New Zealand by Riya Poojary
The caves, the cliffs, the tunnels and the amazing scuba diving experience. A great chunk of New Zealand is covered with water bodies and so diving here is an obligation for any water lover. These islands of volcanic origin are situated on the east coast of the North Island and are protected by the Marine Reserve that also facilitates deep sea diving. The actual beauty of this place is seen underwater, with its rich marine wildlife and colourful corals. It is like those scuba diving scenes that you see in movies with a school of fish passing by you. You need a permit from the conservation department prior to your visit and it isn’t such a hard thing to get. Local tour operators help non-divers get a diving experience too.
Photo of Poor Knights Islands, Matapouri, Northland, New Zealand by Riya Poojary
The Solscape Eco-retreat is situated on the west coast of south island overlooking the famous Manu bay. It is a 10 acre property that provides budget accommodation to backpackers amidst the care of nature. Most travellers recommend a stay here.
Photo of Solscape Raglan - BBH, Wainui Road, Raglan, Waikato, New Zealand by Riya Poojary
Believed to be around two million years old, the Waitomo caves are a glimpse into the Maori legacy. The Waitomo caves are easily accessible and made of lime stones. The Waitomo caves system as such hold many different set of caves. The glowworm caves being the most famous. These underground limestone caves are known for their glow worm population that light up the caves at night. This species of glow worms, Arachnocampa luminosa, found exclusively in New Zealand are found in huge numbers in these caves.
Photo of Waitomo Caves, Waikato, New Zealand by Riya Poojary
We made a quick stop here on our road trip around the North Island. There wasn’t much more than driftwood and footprints on this beach on the Coromandel peninsula.But, it is lovely place to relax and take a quick stop on your way. This peninsula is known for its quiet and lovely beaches lined with crystal clear blue waters.
We made a quick stop here on our road trip around the North Island. There wasn’t much more than driftwood and footprints on this beach on the Coromandel peninsula.But, it is lovely place to relax and take a quick stop on your way. This peninsula is known for its quiet and lovely beaches lined with crystal clear blue waters.
Photo of Coromandel, Waikato, New Zealand by Riya Poojary
This small town with its well preserved architectural heritage, seaport in the Hawke’s Bay on the eastern coast of North Island is usually left out from the travel list. Yet, this small town has such a rich art deco architecture that it is easily the photogenic town of New Zealand. Tourists mostly flock this place in February when the famous Art Deco Weekend is held here. The town is bustling with people holding maps, but otherwise it is silent and peaceful for the rest of the year. The place is filled with art galleries and museums. The national Aquarium is a notable feature of this place too. On the whole it marks a calm end to your adventure in New Zealand.
Photo of Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand by Riya Poojary
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