Category Archives: New Zealand

New Zealand: 9 Day North Island Road Trip

Editor’s note: While we typically try to focus on family-friendly trips here on Terra Trekkers, this was a vacation we took that was deliciously free from children. My husband and I left our toddler son home with his grandparents while we soaked up the sun in Fiji and New Zealand in November 2013. I was seven months pregnant with our daughter Emma so it wasn’t exactly a wild vacation in the land that claims to have invented extreme sports, but it

New Zealand Road Trip: Waitomo Caves

This post in part of our New Zealand North Island 9-Day Road Trip series. After Bay of Island and Rotorua, Waitomo was one of my favorite stops in New Zealand. We started off our adventure with the 1km  Ruakuri Walk – definitely a must-do tramp when visiting Waitomo. There are caves, gorges, and fantastically structured limestone formations. Then we joined SpellBound Tours (see info below) for an amazing two-cave trip. Into the cave we go..  Hard hat! Lights! Warm clothing! check, check,

New Zealand Road Trip: Tongariro and Whanganui National Parks

This post in part of our New Zealand North Island 9-Day Road Trip series. We headed south from Rotorua, prepared for a long day of driving. We needed to make Whanganui National Park, at the southwest end of the island by nightfall. We made a pit stop at Huka Falls: The Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river, moves gracefully north from Lake Taupo between banks 100 metres apart. Just before the Huka Falls it enters a shallow ravine of hard volcanic rock. The

New Zealand Road Trip: Karangahake Gorge

This post in part of our New Zealand North Island 9-Day Road Trip series. Driving from Russell in the Bay of Islands to Rotorua is a long day: it’s 300 miles, includes Auckland traffic, and several twisty highways that are undergoing major construction work. We knew it was going to be somewhat stressful and worked in a few side trips to break up the monotony of asphalt, sheep, and paving trucks. One of our favorite stops was a hike in Karangahake Gorge, located off

New Zealand Road Trip: Russell and the Bay of Islands

This post in part of our New Zealand North Island 9-Day Road Trip series. There are essentially two towns to choose from when staying in the Bay of Islands: Paihia and Russell. Paihia has a greater selection of accommodations, particularly for the backpacker set, and more restaurants, cafes, and music venues. Russell, while a bit harder to get to (it requires a five minute car ferry ride), is smaller and a bit more laid back. It was also slightly more expensive from a hotel perspective. But

New Zealand Road Trip: Rotorua, Geothermal Wonderland

This post in part of our New Zealand North Island 9-Day Road Trip series. We spent two nights in Rotorua. There are many activities available in this lakeside town, ranging from zorbing (rolling down a hill in an inflatable ball) to sheep shearing. Prepare yourself for some serious sulfur smells though – there are odoriferous thermal pools throughout the entire area. First Up: Rainbow Springs Wildlife Park with the optional kiwi nursery tour (which is definitely worth the extra $, by the way). We

New Zealand Road Trip: Vacation Itinerary Template

This post in part of our New Zealand North Island 9-Day Road Trip series.  There are many different ways to approach trip planning and we’ve tried several of them over the last ten years. First there was our trip to Europe after college that consisted of us not planning. We’d get off the train in a new town and walk around until we found a suitable backpacker lodge for the evening. We’d ask the front desk for restaurant recommendations and our fellow travelers for

New Zealand Road Trip: The Kauri Coast, Waipoua Forest, and New Zealand’s Northland

This post in part of our New Zealand North Island 9-Day Road Trip series.   The north island of New Zealand is divided into several regions. Everything above Auckland is classified as the “Northland” and includes the Bay of Islands, Hokianga Harbor, and Cape Reinga (the northernmost point in the country). On our first full day in the country, we got up early and hopped on the SH-1 out of Auckland. We stopped at a grocery store on the way and purchased

New Zealand Road Trip: Auckland

This post in part of our New Zealand North Island 9-Day Road Trip series. Auckland with the sleeper surprise of our New Zealand trip. Initially, we’d only planned to spend an afternoon in the city before heading elsewhere but we were so beguiled by the town that we came back a day early and spent a full day exploring. It is by far the most cosmopolitan city in the North Island. The Maori, Caucasian, and Asian populations converge in this