Tag Archives: North Island

My incredible experience traveling New Zealand’s North Island

Last week, I went on an amazing tour with Kiwi Experience, I took the Geyserland and Lake pass. We visited Hot Water Beach, Waitomo, and Rotorua. On Wednesday morning, the bus driver picked us up at the Kiwi Experience office and we took off for our backpacker adventure. Before we went out of Auckland we did a quick toilet stop at the Auckland Domain and here our bus driver told us everything about the Kiwi Experience adventure, safety, activities, and accommodation during the bus trip. After that, we started our journey to Hot Water Beach, our first stop of the bus trip. My bus driver was really amazing! He was really funny and knows everything about New Zealand. He tried to help us as much as he could with our travel and activities and he really wanted us to have fun.

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During our trip to Hot Water Beach, we stopped once in a little town with a shopping mall. We had some time to do some groceries and get some lunch. We stopped nearby a PaknSave, the cheapest supermarket in New Zealand. Kiwi Experience is really trying to think about your money and tells you when there is time to do shopping and they will tell you where you can find cheap food.

Around 14.00 pm we reached our hostel in Hot Water Beach and we had about 30 minutes to check-in, go into your room and get changed. Then we went for our first activity of the trip. The bus took us to Cathedral Cove and we had to walk 45-minutes down. It was a really easy hike and the moment you reach the beach is breathtaking. This beautiful spot was used for the movie ‘Narnia’ and it was one of the locations in the music video for the song ‘Can’t hold us’ by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. We spend an hour around the beach before we went back up. When we visited the beach, the weather was really great and the view looked like a brochure picture. We went back to the hostel for dinner and we eat some fresh fish and chips.

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We were not able to get to Hot Water Beach before 12 pm. We missed the low tide at daytime so we went to the beach at night. This experience was amazing! We went with the whole Kiwi Experience group and had to find our way in the dark. At the beach, we had to find the perfect spot where we could mix hot and cold water to make our own natural Jacuzzi! The sky was clear, so we sat under the stars and had a perfect night in the hot water. This activity is definitely one of the best experience I’ve ever had!

The next day we were really tired, but we had to get up really early because of our busy day. Most people slept the first 1,5 hours on the bus and after that, we had our first stop to get some breakfast and do some groceries for Waitomo. After our break, we did a short hike track in Krangahake. Our bus driver guided us around the track that leads us through mines.

Next, we went back on the bus and continue our drive to Waitomo. During the ride, different accommodation and activity sheets were given and you could sign up for everything you wanted. I signed up for the Maori dinner and accommodation in Rotorua the next day. When we reached Waitomo, we first had to get out tickets for the Glowworm caves and the Maori dinner or sleepover. After that, we went to the hostel and we had some free time. Around 3 pm, 10 others and I were picked up at the reception and we went for the Black Labyrinth in the glowworm caves! This tour was really impressive. We had to climb and walk in the caves and when we reached the water we did the cave tubing and some small waterfall jumping. The most impressive moment was when all the lights went out and you could see all the glowworms in the caves!

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The next day we left Waitomo to go to Rotorua. After a 10-minute drive, we stopped for a short morning hike and afterward we left for Hobbiton. I did not go to Hobbiton this time, but we had some really nice weather so the people that went on the tour had a perfect day! The people that did not choose to go on the Hobbiton tour left for the OGO balls in Rotorua. I went in the OGO balls with one other girl and it was so much fun! First, we did the Straight Track, where you race another OGO balls downhill. The second time we did the Sidewinder Track, this is de world’s largest track. When we had to wait we could just chill in some outside Jacuzzi and enjoy the view over the Rotorua lake.

After a while, our bus driver picked us up and we went to our hostel in Rotorua. I stayed here for two nights and enjoyed my time with different people in the hostel. The first night, I went with the Kiwi Experience group to Tamaki, the Maori village. This cultural experience is amazing! You will learn a lot about the Maori culture, they will show you Maori dances, tell you stories and they will sing old songs. After that, we got some traditional food that they cooked beneath the ground on hot stones. They will end the evening with all the guys performing the Haka and some lovely songs.

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The next day, I left the Kiwi Experience group and went to explore Rotorua. In the afternoon, I visited the Redwoods with some people I met in the hostel. This forest is really beautiful and you can choose to do the free hiking tracks or go for a tree walk at day or night. We ended our trip in de Lava bar that is next to the hostel!

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On my last day, I went on another Kiwi Experience bus and went back to Auckland. Before we left Rotorua, we stopped at the Rainbow Springs Nature Park to learn something about the kiwi birds in New Zealand. We got on a tour and saw some baby kiwi along the way. After the tour, my trip was done and we went back to Auckland. My experience was really great, I had the opportunity to see many beautiful places and enjoy many different activities!

 

Cheers,

Melanie

 

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INTERNeX New Zealand: STRAY trip north Island

Hi there,

Wow, wow, wow, what an awesome trip was that. Last week Luus and I went on a trip to the North Island with the STRAY bus. For so far we only had seen Auckland, what we really enjoyed, but it was really fun to see the real stuff of New Zealand, the Nature!

It was an week full of amazing activities, STRAY did a really good job! We went on a trip from the 18th till the 22th of September. It was an trip around the north island of New Zealand. We will tell you about every stop we made, to get a good view from what we did and what you also can do!

Wednesday we left from the office off stray early in the morning, so we still had the hole day. We first drove to a supermarket, so don’t worry if you’re not prepared (as we did). After the supermarket we made a quick stop at an beautiful waterfall from eleven meters high. Then we drove to the highlight from that day namely Raglan, the surf paradise from New Zealand.  It was an beautiful day for surfing, so we were really lucky. It also is an really quiet beach, what’s good. But maybe that was, because it was winter season. You can get a lesson from two hours from some really kind surf teachers. You start with practice on the ground and after a few minutes they bring you to the beach, where you can practice your surfing skills. If you don’t like to surf, there is also an possibility to hike in to the mountains (the sleeping lady). In the evening we did an harbour cruise to see the sunset. You sleep in an amazing hostel when you go to Raglan. The hostel is in the bush bush, but still with an view over the sea.

The second day we went to waitomo caves, were we did some caving. That is absolutely amazing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or boy, you definitely think this is extreme. You go via a really small entrance into the caves and then you follow some small course. You go abseiling for 80 meters under the ground, also along some waterfalls. A cool part in the caves is that you can see a lot of glowwurms. After the caves, we went to a maori family to experience their culture. First you do the ceremony with the maori traditions including the hongi (nose kiss). After the ceremony, you got some really good food, made by the family and then you’re going to watch to some maori dances. Of course you also going to try them by yourself, what is fun! Post a good night you will sleep together in a beautiful maori house.

 

The next day we went to a national park called National park. Because of the wetter we were not allowed to do the hiking. But if you go there, try to do one of the beautiful walks. Instead of hiking we went to the hidden pool from Gollem, of the Lord of the Rings movie. The hostel were we stayed that night is absolutely relaxed. You have a good room for three people, so you just share your bathroom with two other people. Besides that, you have two hot tubs, were you can relax the hole evening. Or you can go to the bar just 100 meters further. That is what we did, a cool place to grip a beer.

After a good sleep in the hostel, we went to a place that called the blue duck station. Is was in the middle of nowhere, what makes it very special. In the midday we went haunting. You go with an jeep into the bush and see the beautiful nature and if you want you can go shoot some goats  or rabbits. In the evening we make an fire and enjoyed some beers and have some good talks and good sings. So conclusion, the STRAY trip was absolutely amazing!!! If you also want to go with stray just ask Chris or Luus or Lies for more information or experiences and you can book it via INTERNeX (if you’re from INTERNeX) with some discount.

Cheers,

Lies & Luus

Picture of the Week: Paihia

This week’s photo of the week is of the Wharf Building in Paihia. Paihia is located around 4 hours north of Auckland and is known as the “Jewel of the Bay of Islands”. It is a beautiful place to visit with plenty to do including dolphin tours and the opportunity to swim with dolphins, visiting the historic site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, taking the ferry to Russell, visiting the scenic Haruru Falls, Kayaking, Fishing and much more. If you’re visiting Paihia be sure to stay with our friends at the Pipi Patch Base Backpackers Paihia 🙂