Coromandel is to the east of Auckland and is about 2 hours and 25 mins drive. Coromandel is famous of the Cathedral Cove. If you have seen Narnia: Prince Caspian, Cathedral Cove is the main attraction. This is one of the stops you can take if you are wishing to tour the East Coast of the North Island.
Hamilton is 1 hour and a half drive from Auckland. If you’re wishing to travel through the middle of the North Island and this is one of your stops. Things to do in Hamilton:
1. Waitomo Caves: Abseiling, rafting and glow worm tours.
2. Hamilton Gardens: The gardens has a variety of cultural gardens from Italian, Japanese, Chinese etc.
3. Waikato Museum: Museum of art and culture.
4. Hamilton Zoo: See the red pandas, tigers and other animals.
From Hamilton the next stop is Rotorua, it is a 1 hour and 20 min. But if you are wishing to take a quick detour to Matamata where Hobbiton is located it is an extra 50 min drive. Rotorua is also called “Rotovegas”. It is home to thermal attractions and you know you are close to Rotorua when it starts to smell like sulphur or rotten eggs. Here are the places you can visit and do in Rotorua:
1. Polynesian Spa: If you’re tired from all the travelling you’ve done, be sure to take a dip in the hot springs at Polynesian Spa.
2. Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park: Get up and close to the Kiwi; the national bird of New Zealand.
3. Te Puia: Te Puia is the location of the Geyser. The real thermal hot spot of New Zealand
4. Whakarewarewa: The Living Maori Village- meet the indigenous people of New Zeland
5. Lake Rotorua: Marvel at the beauty of Lake Rotorua
6. Skyline: Ride the Skyline then head back down using the Luge
Taupo is for the nature lovers. Just an hour from Rotorua, Taupo is perfect for those who really want to immerse themselves in Nature.
Lake Taupo: Here you try parachuting, fishing and take a walk around a once active volcano.
Huka Falls: Walk to the other side of this powerful waterfall using a footbridge.
Huka Prawn Park: Love prawns then this is the place for you. Here you can see the process of prawn farming and of course eat all the prawn that you want.
Mount Tauhara: Take a hike in this beautiful landscape and forget the bustling city.
Love winter and skiing? Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage site which is acknowledged for both its natural and cultural significance and is home to Tongariro Ski Field. One of the most popular site during winter time, perfect for Skiers and Snowboarders. When it’s not winter, you can try hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This is 19.1 km hike with two different trailheads. The most commonly walked is from Mangatepopo which is in the Ruapehu region to Ketetahi Hot Springs because in the Mangatepopo end is on a higher altitude at 1,120m whereas in Ketetahi Hot Springs is at 760m. This requires less climbing. This hike can be completed in 7 hours solid hiking.
Contributor: Owen MARIE