Wellington to Auckland via Napier & Rotorua
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Although small by population, Wellington is dense with wonderful attractions, from its stunning harbour, to Te Papa Museum, the famous red Cable Car, the Beehive, and Zealandia sanctuary. Definitely a great place to keep you busy – the fact it has the best restaurants in New Zealand is just a bonus. Take a drive around the surrounding area to Red Rocks and Miramar, or take a hike in the scenic hills above the city from the wind turbine above Brooklyn.
Wellington to Napier
From Wellington, travel north along the stunning Kapiti coast. Pass through the student city of Palmerston North and the rolling farm country of to arrive in Hastings, which – like Napier – features some great Art Deco architecture. Make your way to Cape Kidnappers – breeding site for over 3000 pairs of Australasian Gannets. Finally, arrive Napier, considered to be the Art Deco capital of the world.
Napier to Taupo
Make your way northwest from Hawke’s Bay to the rugged hills of of the Ahimanawa Range. Stop by Waipunga Falls Lookout, and then continue to the lakeside town of Taupo. The incredible Huka Falls are truly spectacular – squeezing 200,000 litres of water through its narrow passage every second. Additionally, Taupo is the skydiving capital of the world, with 30,000 jumps a year – why not give it a go yourself!?
Taupo to Rotorua
Just beyond Taupo, experience the sight of 200,000 litres of water squeezing its way through a narrow passage every second at the booming Huka Falls. Continue toward Rotorua through a region of intense, subterrainean pressure, where the Earth’s thermal activity inches close to the surface. Consider visiting the fascinating thermal areas of Waimangu and Wai-o-Tapu, perhaps enjoying a swim in the naturally warmed waters. In Rotorua, a diverse variety of attractions awaits, from thermal areas and mud spas to a Redwood Forest with world-class mountain biking. In the evening, consider connecting with New Zealand’s indigenous culture by attending a Maori performance accompanied by a traditional Hangi dinner.
Rotorua to Auckland via Waitomo Caves
From Rotorua, make your way to an ancient limestone region best known for its vast cave systems displaying stunning arrays of stalactites and stalagmites, and occasionally illuminated by glow worms. Experience this for yourself at Waitomo Caves, where numerous tours allow you to explore this underground wonderland. If you have some time, make the visit to the beautiful Marokopa Falls. Heading north to Auckland, consider stopping by Hamilton Gardens – one of New Zealand’s finest!
Auckland’s stunning harbour is the centerpiece of New Zealand’s largest and most international city. This is the ‘City of Sails,’ boasting more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world. Forty-eight dormant volcanoes are located around the city, including Mt Eden, from which you can enjoy superb views of the city. Alternatively, get a superb city from from the top of Sky Tower, in the city center. If you have time, jump on the ferry to Rangitoto Island, where you can climb to the summit of this extinct volcano in the middle of Auckland harbour. Great restaurants abound, including in swanky Viaduct Harbour, on the edge of the city centre.