New Zealand is packed with activities and stunning scenery. No matter how long you stay you'll miss more than you'll see. I spent one quick week here and barely had time to sit down and take a breath between all the action. Next time I'm setting aside at least a month for this incredible place. And that's just the North Island alone...
Some fun facts about New Zealand:
It has more coastline than all the United States
It is illegal to grow GMO
The population is roughly 4 million but enough local food is grown to feed 160 million people
It is among the top ten best counties for cleanest tap water
There are no snakes in NZ, at all
It was the first country in the world to legalize women's right to vote
Only 5% of the population is human - the rest animals
NZ is geographically similar to the UK in size but there are only 4 million people in NZ and 63 mil in the UK - This + more coastline than the U.S. = zero crowded beaches
Sounds too good to be true doesn't it?
I couldn't believe this little paradise existed but after one of the best weeks of my life I am convinced. These are just 10 of thousands of adventures to do in New Zealand's North Island alone. One day I'll visit the South Island for more!
1. Hike the Tongariro crossing through the (very) active volcano's of tongariro national park
This 7 hour trek takes you through some of NZ's most unique landscapes. Pass through "Mordor" (where Lord of the Rings was filmed), a flat crater that looks like the moon, and sulphuric lakes that glow green and blue. Oh and did I mention there are literally steaming geysers? This active volcano is a ticking time bomb.
2. Skydive or bungee over Lake Taupo
Have an insane view of Mordor "Mount Doom" across the vast Lake Taupo as you free fall from the sky. This experience at Tandem Taupo Skydiving was so awesome. Everything is super relaxed and made you feel like jumping out of a plane was nothing! If that is even possible. Bungee jumping is another option for visitors and while it looks incredible, I discourage bungee jumping due to the physical force on the body it has. After all, I am just as concerned with biomechanics as I am nutrition! Why cause unnecessary damage to your body bungee jumping when you can just skydive for a similar thrill? Silly!
3. Explore Lake Taupo and all it's adventures
Lake Taupo is the largest fresh water lake in NZ and is big enough to fit all of Singapore. The lake is a giant water-filled crater formed by a massive volcanic eruption 26k years ago. It has natural warm spots heated from the active volcano where it nestles, providing a warm pace to swim. The activities here don't end: from jet boats, to float planes, to water-skiing - it goes on forever.
4. Go black water rafting in the Waitomo's glowing worm caves
These caves can be explored via boat or black water rafting - cruising on tubes in the pitch black through the narrows of the cave. Some excursions even involve repelling down narrow crevices of the spectacular cave. You may recognize this famous place from an episode of Planet Earth.
5. Explore the bubbling mud baths in Rotorua
The thermal activities in Rotorua include bubbling mud baths, geysers, and hot thermal springs. It is crazy you can go from the city of Auckland to here in just a few hours.
6. Hike the dormant volcano Mt Muanganui for a scenic view in Bay of Plenty
The hike only takes about an hour from top to bottom for a nice mini workout with a huge pay out. The stretch of crystal-clear coast in Bay of Plenty goes as far as the eyes can see. A perfect way to start the day if I do say so myself.
7. Kayak around the Cathedral Cove in Hahei beach
Need I say more? This nearly empty beach is nestled in Coromandel, just north of Bay of Plenty.
8. Take a trip to Hobbiton to see the Shire
I love Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter - anything with magic really. So naturally I absolutely loved seeing the shire. With 44 holes and bright green rolling hills complete with the Dragon Inn, this was such a cool experience.
9. Sunset cruise around Auckland's neighboring islands and volcanoes
1 in 3 people in Auckland own a boat. Yet somehow the waters are uncrowded and mini neighboring islands are empty. Take a sunset cruise to nearby beaches and have a little picnic in paradise with no one in sight. Go from city to nature in minutes.
10. Go wine Tasting in Hawke's Bay
New Zealand is known to make some of the world's best wine. Known especially for their Pinot Noir, you can't go wrong wine tasting in one of NZ's biggest wine making regions.