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SEO for Beginners: How to Rank On Page 1 of Google

Every blogger’s goal is to get more traffic and to see how their audience is growing. I’ve seen many bloggers getting frustrated that they can’t get where they want, trying all kind of Social Media tricks and writing great content. Don’t get me wrong, content is the king but without using proper SEO no one will be able to find and read this awesome information.

Beginner’s Guide to SEO

To be the best in ranking for the first page on Google you should get to know the techniques of SEO, Search Engine Optimisation. Here you will find out more about SEO strategy, to build your audience and finally get more traffic to your blog and rank on page 1 of Google. You probably know that 60% of all Google users click on the first 3 results. If you make it happen to be in the first three results your site will get more authority, visibility and finally more traffic.

If you are ready to improve your blog, finally save your time then it’s time to implement some important techniques. After you apply these simple principles you will see immediate results.

What is SEO

On-page SEO is an essential factor to get your posts at the top of the search result pages. Search Engine Optimisation means to apply specific techniques to be identified by search engines like Google, Yahoo etc. as the best answer or solution for the users.

The simple truth is: The better you optimise your blog or site for these search engines, the more traffic and page views you will receive. It means you won’t need to promote your blog on social media or various Facebook groups because it will naturally come to you through organic traffic.

What else does it mean to you? Being ranked in the first three results of Google will lead to more visibility for your site, which means the more money you can make, the greater the opportunities and deals you’ll be offered, additionally the higher will be your domain authority.

The Most Important SEO Strategies You Should Use

Create Great Content

As I already mentioned before content is the king. It’s important to write High quality and useful texts to be in the first results of Google page. But what does it mean to write great content? How many words should a proper article include?

Nowadays there are so many competitors, so many various bloggers who are writing about the same things but some get a high amount of cyber attention, others just get lost on the e-web.

There are 5 main aspects that should be considered to get higher traffic and to improve your content.

Step 1: Work on Your Title

The title is like a business card of your text. It’s important to write a catchy title that shows exactly what your post is about. To write better headlines I’m using this awesome free tool that I would recommend to everyone, Headline Analyzer.

Step 2: Solve the Reader’s Query

When we are searching for something on Google we want to see the high quality and quick result. That’s why your title and your content should be about a specific topic, so the user won’t be tempted to click on the other search results. Just try to immerse into the users shoes to understand what he or she is searching for to give the best answer to their question.

Step 3: Check your Competitors

Before you start writing your next article, you should always see what your competitors have written about it. I would suggest first to pick up the long tail keywords and then find other bloggers who are ranked on the first Google page.

The best way to do it is to open an incognito window and type in the keyword phrase that you would like to use. I always go through the results of the first Google page. Commercial websites like Tripadvisor shouldn’t be your concern.

After going through your competitors pages look at the length and the plot of the texts. Try to write a better post by adding more qualitative information, more insights, details, better meta description, pictures.

Step 4: Increase the Amount of Words

Toast.com has written that longer posts get higher chance of ranking well in Google. It has been proven that articles of around 2000 words get better results. That should be your goal to implement more information and more keywords into these amounts of words.

How to Choose the Right Keywords

SEO-For-Beginners-The-5-Most-Important-SEO-Techniques-You-Should-Be-Using

Keywords are the base for every existing site in the internet. Every search engine is based on keywords, so if you are planning to get ranked on page 1 of Google then it’s time to learn how to research and use the right keywords.

Believe me, it’s much easier to research keywords than everyone thinks. You should find the useful long tail keywords before even planning to write your new article. Otherwise it’s a pure waste of your time. Imagine you’ve written a great text, you’ve spend hours to research it and to take or find awesome pictures. Afterwards you find out that no-one is searching for this kind of information and there are no useful keywords for this topic or it’s too hard to compete with the other articles? It’s a shame, right?

Your goal is:

  • Find great long tail keywords, it means the keyword should contain 2-3 words. Longer and more defined search phrases will help you to get more attention. It should also have a high search volume and low competition. I will explain it later.
  • Write high-quality texts, better than you competitors with the intention to give full answers for the readers
  • Add 10-20 other related keywords to your post.

Online Tools to Find Great Keywords

There are various free online tools that you can use to find keywords. I’m using Keywords Everywhere to get some inspiration. It shows the search volume and cost per click (CPC) for the phrases. Again I believe it’s good to find some ideas but it doesn’t give you very accurate information regarding ranking.

Another famous one is Moz. You can only search for 20 free keywords per month but it shows you keyword volume range and difficulty score. Every successful blogger would tell you though if you want to see quick results you need to invest into the keysearch tool. And there is a great one that doesn’t cost much but will provide you with all necessary information: Keysearch.

Keysearch is one of the most popular and reliable tools that will help to save time and will make blogging even more fun. If you want to know more about it read Review of Affordable Keyword Search Tool, Keysearch.

It’s easy to use Keysearch and they provide you with videos where they explain every step. To find your target keyword just type the chosen phrase into the keyword analysis search bar. You can filter your results depending on the score, volume or CPC. I prefer score.

Keyword Search Tool, Keysearch
Keyword Search Tool, Keysearch

The score shows how difficult it is to rank the keywords and how hard the competitiveness is. It depends on the colour of the score but as you can guess green means it’s a good keyword. Keysearch will show the top 10 competing sites and a list of related keywords. First check if there are sites with lower DA then yours and if you can write your article better than they did. There are many other useful features that you can definitely use for your blog.

Keyword Search Tool, Keysearch
Keyword Search Tool, Keysearch

If you want 20% off Keysearch use the code: KSDISC and sign up here.

Easy On-Page SEO Strategy

On-Page SEO means that you need to optimise your content and implement specific indicators to make your posts more visible for search engines. I would recommend after you’ve finished your article to go through it again and make sure that you’ve included your keywords in all important areas.

  1. Your Title, H1, must contain your target keyword phrase.
  2. The URL should also contain your target keyword. Use maximum five words for this one.
  3. Use around 10-20 different keywords that are related to your topic in the text.
  4. Remember to use internal linking to your own content but also external linking to trustworthy pages.
  5. Write a good and catchy Meta Description with your target keywords.
  6. Optimise your images. It means resize your image and include description, caption and also alt tag.
  7. Use your second important target keyword in the subheading H2 and implement it close to the beginning of the post. Also put more keywords into other subheadings.

Improve Your Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO means that you need to improve your brand or blog outside of your site. There are different ways but in my opinion the main one is link building and social media. I didn’t know that but only after a few years I’ve read that backlinking is a crucial part of a good SEO strategy.

Technical Side of your Blog

This is actually the most boring part. Because most of us bloggers want to focus on the creative part but not on the technical side. And of course there are so many factors that are important for the technical SEO, I will tell you about 4 of them.

  1. Create and submit sitemap to Google.
  2. Check your page speed and improve if it’s necessary. For example you can compress and optimise images before upload them. For WordPress users I would recommend to download the free plugin WP Smush.
  3. The problem that I’m struggling with: Move to HTTPS otherwise if you still have HTTP google will recognise it as an insecure site. Good hosts will help you to do it for free or for 10-15¢. Unfortunately I’m using GoDaddy at the moment and they are expecting their clients to pay over 100€ for this service. Rip off I would say.
  4. Last but not least make sure that your site is mobile friendly.

Get Organic Search Traffic

SEO might seem complicated but once you start to implement all these strategies into your site you will see how organic search traffic will bring you results. It might take some time so be patient but continue to follow the listed techniques. I promise you will be able to start ranking higher on search engines like Google and your audience will grow.

By the way, you can start earning money before your organic search traffic kicks in. How? Check my other article: Top Paying Affiliate Programs to Make Quick Money Online

Belgium Vacation Ideas Visit Terhills Hotel in Maasmechelen

Belgium Vacation Ideas: Visit Terhills Hotel in Maasmechelen

Terhills Hotel, Belgium
Terhills Hotel, Belgium

If you are planning your vacation in Belgium then I would definitely recommend to visit Maasmechelen for a weekend. This is one of the hidden places in Belgium that not everyone knows about. Nevertheless it has a lot to offer for a romantic and lovely getaway for couples, friends and families. You can easily reach Maasmechelen village by public transport but it’s even more comfortable and faster by car. Less than an hour drive away from Brussels, Antwerp or Düsseldorf, Maasmechelen Village is located on the Meuse river in the Belgian province of Limburg. There are plenty of opportunities to park your car for example at Terhills Hotel in case you decide to spend the night there.

Where to Stay in Maasmechelen

Terhills Hotel

If you decide to stay in Maasmechelen then you should experience your stay at the historic building of Terhills Hotel. It’s a beautiful 4-star hotel with a modern interior which used to be a the main building of the Eisden mine. Already the arrival at this place will leave you speechless: An amazing green garden that reminds a little like Versailles and an imposing historic building at the end of it. This location is very popular for wedding photography.

Wellcome Drink at Terhills Hotel
Welcome Drink at Terhills Hotel

Terhills Hotel is not only unique but it’s also an architectural icon. Everywhere you can see hidden elements of the mining pre-history of the building well combined with a modern makeover: There is a half a meter difference in level between both sides of the building and the front stairs seem to look crooked. The building was built in 1932 but it had remained empty for around 25 years.The cooperation with Dôme Deco from Limburg turned the hotel into an impressive ambiance with elegant and stylish interior design.

Rooms at Terhills Hotel

I loved every moment of my stay at this hotel. From the very beginning you feel very comfortable: Welcome drinks and beautiful decorative elements, all these create the perfect atmosphere. After a fast and easy check-in the ultra-modern lift brought us to the second level with spacious corridors where our room could be found. Terhills Hotel offers 5 different types of rooms. We were staying in the Superior Room with Garden View.

Rooms at Terhills Hotel
Rooms at Terhills Hotel

Our room was outstanding: comfortable king-sized bed, flat-screen TV and an awesome big freestanding shower with bath robes and free toiletries. A sweet message from the hotel manager accompanied by Neuhaus pralines, tea, coffee and bottle of bubbles made us feel like home immediately. The beautiful view from the room and cozy vibes let you feel so good, you don’t want to leave this little oasis.

Breakfast at Terhills Hotel

Breakfast at Terhills Hotel, Maasmechelen
Breakfast at Terhills Hotel, Maasmechelen

I am very critical regarding breakfast because I’ve noticed nowadays it’s really hard to find a place that offers a delicious variety of food at the beginning of the day. Most of the time it’s just simple boring eggs and croissants. But at Terhills Hotel I was positively surprised and definitely satisfied with the quality and diversity of the dishes. They serve everything that can please your breakfast wishes: From scrambled eggs, proper bacon, American pancakes to fresh yoghurt with fruits, granola, chia and nuts. Different juices and hot drinks like coffee and tea accompany the sumptuous breakfast.

What to do in Maasmechelen Village

Designer Outlet Shopping – Shopping in Belgium

Almost everyone who lives in Belgium has at least once visited the famous designer outlet shops at Maasmechelen Village to stroll through luxury fashion and homeware stores and enjoy great discounts of up to 60%. Many famous brands present their products at significant reduced prices that you rarely can find in the cities.

Designer Outlet Shopping - Shopping in Belgium
Designer Outlet Shopping – Shopping in Belgium

The Designer Outlet is located just behind Terhills Hotel and it looks very modern and clean. There are various interesting sculptures worth of taking a picture for Instagram and comfortable benches to relax on the way from one shop to another. Families with kids will be happy to discover a big playground where they can let their toddlers have fun so the grown-ups can be focused on spending money.

Shopping at Maasmechelen Village
Shopping at Maasmechelen Village

You can easily combine smart shopping with nice dining. There are some lovely options to get food on the way or enjoy your meal in one of the three main restaurants. All in one Maasmechelen Village doubtlessly provides a relaxed and pleasant shopping experience. The best way to enjoy your shopping to maximum is to stay at Terhills Hotel and get an additional 10% discount on every purchase like I did. Sounds awesome, right?

Hiking in Belgium: Visit Connecterra

Limburg has a lot of stunning nature and picturesque views. One of them is the popular panoramic getaway in the National Park Hoge Kempen. It’s located just next to Terhills Hotel and is definitely a must visit. This place used to be used for coal mining until it was closed in 1987. You can still view the impressive shafts of the former Eisden mine which mainly have a decorative value nowadays.

Hiking in Belgium: Visit Connecterra
Hiking in Belgium: Visit Connecterra

For 3€ you can explore the park on foot. There are three well marked out hiking trails that will lead you to the best spots of Connecterra. You can also decide if you would prefer to have a short 45-minute walk or more extended 2 or 3-hour hikes, which goes around a lake and through the woods. I would suggest to go for the longer hiking trail as we did. Either way you will be rewarded with a beautiful panoramic view over the Belgian forest and lake. Some spots can be a bit steep but all in one it’s a very easy hike that everyone from young until old can enjoy.

There is visitors lounge with a little café and a great playground at the main entrance of Connecterra. So by the end or beginning of your walk you can enjoy your drink surrounded by nature. Families can let their little rebels climb around and have some fun at the modern playground.

From Christchurch to Queenstown Itinerary - Aoraki Mount cook National Park, New Zealand

10-Day New Zealand South Island Itinerary for an Awesome Road Trip

New Zealand is one of the best countries to experience an unforgettable road trip. It offers breathtaking landscapes, dynamic Maori culture, amazing national parks and mesmerising lakes. Here is a New Zealand South Island itinerary for 10 days including important things that you can’t miss in New Zealand on your road trip. Don’t forget to check Important Things to Know Before Travelling to New Zealand.

10-Day New Zealand South Island Itinerary for an Awesome Road Trip
10-Day New Zealand South Island Itinerary for an Awesome Road Trip

From Christchurch to Queenstown Itinerary

The best way to explore New Zealand south island’s attractions is to start your road trip from Christchurch. You can hire a campervan and sleep under the open sky or drive between locations with the possibility to book accommodation for an overnight. Furthermore you can also plan an easy and flexible bus tour with Kiwi Experience. Either way you will be able to visit the best places of the South Island and to have the best time in New Zealand.

From Christchurch to Queenstown Itinerary
From Christchurch to Queenstown Itinerary

The official name of the South Island is Te Waipounamu, which is Maori for “the greenstone waters”. It has been also nicknamed the “mainland” because it’s 32% bigger than the North Island. Nevertheless only 23% of the whole New Zealand population are inhabitants of this area. It’s also the South West New Zealand World Heritage site, which is internationally recognised by UNESCO World Heritage.

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand South Island highlights
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand South Island highlights

Best Season to visit New Zealand South Island

The seasons in New Zealand are the opposite to the well-known seasons in the Northern Hemisphere but the same to Australia. New Zealand’s climate is variable and it can happen to you that you will experience all 4 seasons in one day. I would suggest to visit South Island during the Spring (September to November) or Summer (December to February). Summer time is much busier with tourists though.

New Zealand South Island Highlights

Christchurch, 10-Day New Zealand South Island Itinerary
Christchurch, 10-Day New Zealand South Island Itinerary

Day 1: Spend a Day in Christchurch

Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand. It has nearly 400.000 Kiwis. It also has a compact size so you can see the attractions in a single day.

  1. You can explore the city in the historical, well- restored Christchurch tramway.
  2. See the Cardboard Cathedral that was build from cardboard tubes after the earthquakes in 2011.
  3. See the “185 Empty White Chairs” memorial to the quake victims
  4. Visit free Canerbury Museum with interesting galleries dedicated to Maori culture and natural history.
  5. Must visit in Christchurch is the Botanic Garden that is right behind the Museum.
  6. Enjoy the view of Christchurch from the Gondola cable car

Where to eat in Christchurch

  1. If you are searching for something extraordinary then definitely visit King of Snake. The whole restaurant resembles a movie set and not just a fine-dining restaurant.
  2. There are more and more people who are turning to vegetarianism and more aware of planet Earth. These ones should doubtlessly visit the Lotus-Heart. Here you will taste locally and organically sourced dishes.
  3. If you are searching for a cheap treat, visit No Meat Burger at Lower 9th Diner, 89 Lichfield St, Christchurch Central. Here you can taste various burgers for the price of $10 and under.

Day 2: Arthur’s Pass National Park

Arthur's Pass, New Zealand
Arthur’s Pass, New Zealand

Just a two hours drive away from Christchurch you can reach magnificent Arthur’s Pass National Park with it’s highest pass across the Southern Alps. It’s another spectacular thing not to miss in New Zealand. Arthur’s Pass National Park is famous for having a landscape of two halves.

Arthurs Pass Best Tracks

There are different walking tracks but I would suggest you to take “The Arthur’s Pass Walking Track”. Within 3 hours you will observe stunning views, diverse alpine vegetation, waterfalls and beautiful birds.

Where to stay

There are various accommodations and hostels in Arthurs Village but I would suggest to book a room on Airbnb especially if you are travelling in a group. There are many amazing houses for a low price.

Day 3: Franz Josef Glacier & Fox Glacier (3h drive)

Things to do in South Island: Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
Things to do in South Island: Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

More great New Zealand South Island activities are helicopter ride or a guided ice walk to the famous rivers of ice, Franz Joseph Glacier and Fox Glacier. Both are jaw-droppingly beautiful and also part of the spectacular World Heritage Area. You will be able to see amazing rainforests, waterfalls and lakes. It’s also a great place to do a skydive and experience the view from a slightly different perspective.

If you don’t want to book any tours to the glaciers but drive to the location then it’s possible to visit both areas in one day. Otherwise Franz Joseph Glacier tour is much more popular and offers designated tracks for all levels of experienced hikers. Nevertheless it’s steeper than Fox Glacier and groups tend to be bigger. Both glaciers are breathtakingly stunning and offer amazing natural attractions. It just depends if you prefer the secure guided walk tour or the more adventurous and off the beaten path experience.

Day 4: Twizel & Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park

New Zealand South Island Attractions: Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
New Zealand South Island Attractions: Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park is New Zealand South Island must do because it’s the highest Mountain in NZ which lies within a beautiful park. Aoraki is a UNESCO World Heritage and means “Cloud Piercer”. There are plenty of adventurous and interesting things to do. You can stay over night in Twizel.

What to do at Aoraki / Mount Cook

  1. Hooker Valley Track – For those who are beginners in hiking it’s an amazing opportunity to enjoy an easy but scenic route. The track is flat and ends up at the mesmerising Hooker Lake.
  2. Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier – Also amazing and easy tracks,
  3. Lake Pukaki – quiet lake that is known for it’s Lupin flowers blooming during the spring time.
  4. Lake Tekapo – famous Alpine lake in New Zealand which is very famous among tourists. It’s surrounded by various cafes and restaurants.
  5. Church of Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo – it’s a landmark of Lake Tekapo

Day 5: Wanaka

Things not to miss in New Zealand: Lake Wanaka, New Zealand
Things not to miss in New Zealand: Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Wanaka is a small city located on New Zealand’s South Island which is surrounded by various great highlights that you can’t miss on your road trip. It’s a great place to locate yourself for a night and to explore nearby attractions.

What to do in Wanaka

  1. Lake Wanaka – You will find the lake right in the town and it’s New Zealand’s fourth largest lake which is more than 300m deep.
  2. Roys Peak – it’s a mountain in New Zealand that is just 6km away from Wanaka. The Instagram-famous track starts at the Roys Peak Track car park on the Mount Aspiring Road. It will take around 5-6 hours finishing the hike with breathtaking views over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring.
  3. Rob Roy Glacier Track at Mount Aspiring – Is another most-loved half-day track which is one hour away from Wanaka. It’s also a very beautiful and easy hike.
  4. Mount Iron Walk – it’s one of the most popular short walks in Wanaka that offers a beautiful panoramic view.

Day 6-7: Queenstown

Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

If you are searching for the best places to visit on the South Island of New Zealand then Queenstown should be on your bucket list. It’s a vibrant and scenic town that has various activities for every taste. If you’r up to experience some adrenalin rush then you can go for bungy-jumping, canyon swinging or wild-water rafting.

What to do in Queenstown

  1. Hiking to the summit of Ben Lomond – it’s a one day hike over the attractive mountain Ben Lomond with a hight of 1748metres. There are two options to reach the peak: Take the scenic ride on the Skyline Gondola or you can hike from Queenstown. There are 3 places to start the hike: from the end of Thompson Street, from the One Mile Power House on the road to Fernhill or from a track that begins near the gondola terminal.
  2. Glenorchy – it’s a little but spectacular town which is just a 45-minute drive away from Queenstown. It’s surrounded by snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and national parks. It’s famous for it’s multi-day hikes including the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.
  3. Bobs Cove – a mere 15-minute drive away from Queenstown, the short walk track through native bush offers a stunning cove with a view over the turquoise Lake Wakatipu.
  4. Where to eat in Queenstown – Try popular burgers at Fergburger, delicious pizza at Winnies and pasta at The Cow.

Day 8-10: Fiordland National Park & Milford Sound

Milford Sound, New Zealand
Milford Sound, New Zealand

Fiordland National Park is a 2-hour drive away from Queenstown and it’s one of the most famous sights of New Zealand. It’s also part of Te Wahipounamu and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You will experience breathtaking scenery over a vast landscape, unique wildlife, marvellous marine scenes and a world-famous Great Walk. The most convenient way to explore the best of Fiordland National Park is to stay in Te Anau.

What to do at Fiordland National Park

  1. Lake Marian Hike – the duration of this awesome hike is around 3-4 hours. The track is very beautiful but it can get rocky and muddy especially if there has been recent rain. During your hike you will see Like Marian surrounded by snow covered mountains.
  2. Gertrude Saddle – if you like challenging hiking routes and you are an experienced one you can try to conquer the Gertrude Saddle. In the end you will be rewarded with an overlook of Milford Sound from the top of the saddle. This hike will take around 4-6 hours.
  3. Key Summit – it’s another popular hiking track that will take you only 3 hours.
  4. Milford Sound Cruise – it’s a different way to experience the fiord in it’s glory from the water.
  5. Kayak Milford Sound – it’s a cool and adventurous way to see the beauty of the area by kayaking. You can also come closer to the waterfalls.
  6. Visit Te Anau Glowworm Caves  – that’s a great way to experience a mysterious underground world with the luminous light of numerous glowworms. Definitely an unforgettable experience.
  7. The Chasm Walk – it’s a short but impressive walk with powerful waterfalls.


Keysearch Review

Review of Affordable Keyword Search Tool, Keysearch

Every blogger knows that it doesn’t matter how great and interesting your article is if you don’t use specific keywords no-one will ever find your work. Nevertheless it’s not magic to find great keywords to help you rank on search engines for example like Google. It’s all about technique, strategy and great tools that will make it all easier. In my review I will introduce you to my favourite affordable keyword competition tool, Keysearch. It’s a guide to finding perfect competitor keywords. You should definitely go through my article about SEO and How to Rank On Page 1 of Google to learn more about the strategies.

What is a Target Keyword?

In order to get more page views and visitors for your content, you should find great target keywords that have a high search volume and low competition. You should also write high-quality and useful posts based on the keywords. But did you know that good, ranked keyword is often a phrase and not just a single word? Because longer and more specific search phrases give you an opportunity to attract the right kind of reader who will also stay longer on your site.

Finding right Keywords with Keysearch

It’s very simple to use Keysearch, furthermore they provide you with videos where they explain every step. To find the right keywords type in the chosen phrase into the keyword analysis search bar. Choose your location or like I always do it jus leave “all locations”. Hit “Search” button.

Affordable Keyword Search Tool, Keysearch
Affordable Keyword Search Tool, Keysearch

You can filter your results the way you want to. I prefer to see the best score first. Some bloggers prefer to organise the results via volume. The higher the volume, the better. The score shows you how difficult it will be to rank the keywords, how hard the competitiveness is. Red means difficult, amber would be still tough and green is possible. The aim is to find a keyword that is low in difficulty and high in volume.

Keyword Search Tool, Keysearch
Keyword Search Tool, Keysearch

If you find a key phrase with the score under 20 then use it immediately! These words are very hard to find and they will bring a good traffic to your website.

Check the Competition

Keysearch, Keyword Tool
Keysearch, Keyword Tool

Keysearch will show you the top 10 competing URLs and a list of related keywords. First check if there are sites with lower DA then yours. Good chance to rank higher if they are not using the keywords in the URL, description and title. It means you have a chance of competing to rank on page 1 of Google.

Keysearch does cost a small amount but it will make your blogger life so much easier. It’s definitely the method I’ve chosen to use and I will recommend it.

Best Places to visit in North Island, New Zealand in 7 Days

7 days Itinerary for the North Island, New Zealand

It happens very often that travellers don’t have much time to see the best of New Zealand that’s why here is my suggestion of New Zealand North Island itinerary for 7 days. It is a bit of a rush but still enough time to experience New Zealand’s North Island highlights.

7 days Itinerary for the North Island, New Zealand
7 days Itinerary for the North Island, New Zealand

This New Zealand North Island travel guide is perfect for the New Zealand self drive tours or exploring the country by bus. In both ways it’s a very easy and exciting route. I will start from Auckland and finish in Wellington, nevertheless you can also follow the New Zealand 7 days itinerary backwards. It covers the best of north island New Zealand to make your road trip memorable.

Best Places to visit in North Island, New Zealand in 7 Days

Day 1: Auckland

Auckland is the most populated city in New Zealand. It’s for it’s Westhaven Marina, busy CBD occupied by tall skyscrapers and surroundings filled with magnificent landscapes. It’s a nice smooth introduction to the Kiwi culture before you start your New Zealand North Island trip through the land of Tolkien’s mystical creatures. You can visit Auckland Art Gallery or experience bungee jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge or jump off the Auckland Sky Tower. I would suggest you to explore Auckland’s surroundings, they have a lot to offer. Check my Top 5 things to see in Auckland.

New Zealand, Auckland
New Zealand, Auckland

Auckland offers plenty of car rental companies to choose from. I would suggest Snap Rentals. It’s backpacker-friendly, accepts 18+ drivers with insurance costs being the same for drivers of any age. No extra charge for multiple drivers. Pick up locations in Auckland are Auckland City Centre (Hopetoun Street) and Auckland Airport. And Drop-off Locations: Auckland, Queenstown, Queenstown Airport and Christchurch Airport.

Day 2-3: Tauranga & Mount Maunganui

If you are enjoying a self drive tour in New Zealand then it will take you 2:30h to get to Tauranga from Auckland. Tauranga is one of the most populous cities in the Bay of Plenty region North Island of New Zealand. It’s surrounded by a beautiful coastline where you can go sailing, fishing or dolphin and orca watching. You can stroll through the harbour, enjoy the view and taste something delicious in one of the cafés.

Mt. Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand
Mt. Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand

But don’t stay too long in Tauranga. Just a 15 minutes drive away from Tauranga you will find the amazing beach town, Mount Maunganui. It has been named as the “Best beach in New Zealand”. There are plenty of beautiful walking tracks to the top of the extinct volcano Mauao, which rises 232 metres above the sea and offers amazing 360 degree view. There is also Gourmet Night Market with a wide range of fresh food from local farmers.

Day 4: The geothermal city of Rotorua

Rotorua is another geothermal treasure of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s located just one hour drive away from Tuaranga and offers various attractions. A special feature of this town due to the sulphur in the air is the incredibly strong smell of eggs that makes the journey unbearable and can be handled for only 2 days. 

Redwoods, Rotorua, New Zealand
Redwoods, Rotorua, New Zealand

35% of Rotorua’s population is Maori and the reason for that goes back to the time when the tribes just arrived in New Zealand. Shortly after they discovered lake Rotorua and it’s geothermal surroundings. They immediately saw the benefits, providing hot water and fertile soil. They also gave a spiritual meaning to the region. Nowadays there are numerous villages that you can visit and experience a journey back in time.

Where to stay in Rotorua?

Just for 1 night I would suggest to stay at Base Hostel. The positive aspects were the close proximity to the city and the free parking space for the driving backpackers. Wi-fi was available at the reception but only until 9pm, otherwise you need to pay $6 for 24h.

Things to do and attractions in Rotorua

Geothermal reserve walk in Hell’s Gate

The best way to start your day getting to know the sulphur-rich area is with visiting one of the 5 geothermal parks. We decided to experience the unique Maori owned active geothermal area with mud bath spa, Hell’s Gate. It’s a mesmerising field with erupting waters, pools of boiling mud and a volcano with the largest hot waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere. Every hot pool has a different temperature, for example the steaming cliffs pool is the hottest one and reaches 122C.

There is a separate charming area where you can relax and enjoy the landscaped view. I need to warn you though, your skin will have an egg odor for a few days. Addendum, you will need around 2h to visit this unique place.

Wine tasting at Volcanic Hill and skyline

New Zealand is famous for it’s rich variety of great wine. Every region produces it’s own liquid pride, as does Rotorua. Nevertheless there are only two amazing winemakers, who are creating divine wine together, Sean Beer and Brent Park. They gathered experience from all over the world and decided to produce high quality wine, poetically named Volcanic Hills. Their winery is small and they sell directly to costumers which makes their wine even more exclusive.

To explore the savoriness of Volcanic Hills’ wine you can have a ride on the breathtaking Skyline and visit the tasting room. The memorable ride on the Gondola will leave you in excited anticipation to see the top of the Skyline. The tasting room will spoil you with samples of wines from New Zealand’s best wine regions. While you are being a professional and decadent wine taster you can also enjoy the 180° panoramic views over Lake Rotorua. There are 5 different varieties of wine to try and each one has it’s own explosive flavours.

Night tour in Rotorua

This is one of the must tours in Rotorua! It’s something completely different because you will experience the nature of New Zealand by night. Everything that seems to be so normal by day comes to life by night. The shiny eyes of a cute opossum looking at you from behind a tree, curious wallabies and thousands of glowworms covering the walls of the forest like stars in the sky.

All this we witnessed with our great tour guide Stephen, who picked us up from the hostel. He told us about Rotorua’s history and forestlands, to which we were driving. When we reached the secret location, we were provided with torches and safety vests and we started our journey through the dark and mysterious woods. On the way Stephen was telling us about the fauna and flora, pointing out the most important plants. The wow effect were the glowworms adjacent the waterfall by night. It’s very hard to describe the beauty of the nature that we saw, you just need to experience it by yourself.

After the walk through the Native Forest we headed to a river where we could sit down, have a nice chat and enjoy hot chocolate with biscuits. Stephen’s wife is from South America and she makes really great hot chocolate, of which you can’t get enough!

Day 5: Hobbiton & Taupo

Hobbiton the movie set tour

Visiting New Zealand and not going to Peter Jackson’s famous movie set, where the adventure of the little hobbit Frodo began, is a sin! All tourists know it, that’s why 30% of Hobbiton‘s visitors haven’t even seen the movies and still were willing to pay $114. We’ve been told that the best time to experience hobbiton is in the morning, before the set is full with excited fans. Take the first bus from Rotorua to Hobbiton. The movie set is not the original one, it was rebuilt after the Lord of the Rings trilogy concluded. Because after the movies came out, many people came to the farm where it was filmed. So being a businessman, Peter Jackson decided to cooperate with the farmers again and open the attraction park for their faithful groupies.

Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand
Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand

The 2 hours guided tour will definitely leave you with an infinite amount of pictures and a happy smile on your face. Hobbiton is indeed an amazing place with incredible scenery that looks so genuine that you would like to choose one of the gardened houses and stay there forever. People who are working here are taking care of every element of the village, even the evergreen lawn grass is perfect! After a fun tour you will be invited for an ale or cider at the Green Dragon.

Must See Orakei Karako

You can only reach the geothermal treasure of nature Orakei Karako by car. It is a 45 minutes drive from Rotorua. It’s a volcanic colorful world of geysers, hot springs, mud pools and silica terraces. To get to the untouched geothermal paradise you need to take a ferry which will bring you to the other side of the lake. Don’t worry, it’s all included in the acceptable price of $36.

On your 1h self-guided tour you will discover 23 active natural geysers, numerous bubbling hot springs and the Ruatapu Cave. This impressive natural cave has a jade-green pool, which is thought to have been used as a mirror by Maori women for ritual preparations. It’s also one of the picturesque geothermal areas that doesn’t have so many visitors because of it’s hidden position. This means you won’t feel crowded when you enjoy the native bushwalk.

The lakeside town of Taupo in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island is one of the most beautiful and tranquil places to visit on your New Zealand North Island 7 days itinerary. The lake is actually an active rhyolitic volcano, which has produced two of the world’s most violent eruptions in recent geological history. The marvelous lake with the crystal clear water is also the largest lake in New Zealand.

Where to stay in Taupo?

We were staying in the centrally located Base Hostel. Base hostel is relatively new, rooms are very modern and the walls are still white. In the kitchen area guests are provided with all possible equipment and even a spacious deck, where you can enjoy your breakfast under the hot sun. The hostel would be ideal if not only for one essential thing: sleep. It’s located just above the Element Bar, which is part of the hostel.

Things to do in the evening in Taupo

Maori Rock Carvings Lake Taupo, New Zealand
Maori Rock Carvings Lake Taupo, New Zealand

Get to know Taupo with the famous boat cruise to the Maori Rock Carvings. The 14-metres artwork above the deep water was completed in 1980 by the team of four artists and is only accessible by boat. Join the evening trip at 4:30 with Ernest Kemp Cruise. Every guest gets spoiled with a cozy vibe, heaps of wine & beer, pizza and even some delicious treats by the end of the almost 3h long trip.

Day 6: Taupo & Wellington

Free Walks in Taupo

The morning is an ideal time to go to see the Huka Falls. Just follow the path next to the river in the opposite direction from the town. It’s one of the best free walks in New Zealand that will lead you to the natural hot springs first. After 30 minutes of walking you can soak into the hot bubbling water in Otumuheke Stream at Taupo’s Spa Park. Just don’t forget to grab a towel, swimwear, a pick-nick basket and 1-2 or even more friends. It’s better to arrive at this place in the morning, because the hot pools are famous but very tiny, so many locals and tourists want to enjoy them too.

The famous Huka Falls, one of the Taupo’s highlights are another 45 minutes away from the natural hot springs. On a sunny day the water on the lakeside walk is crystal clear blue and very inviting. Huka Falls doesn’t look like the waterfalls that we all know, the 220,000 liters of water per second flow horizontally.

Bungy Jumping & Tandem Swing in Taupo

You an also start your day in a thrilling way and get picked up by the Taupo Bungy Team. You can dip your head into the mesmerizing Waikato River from 47 meters high with Taupo Bungy. Definitely try the Tandem Swing. I believe that Bungy is more of a test on how courageous you are and the swing is more about enjoying the butterflies in your stomach and the picturesque view!

Where to eat in Taupo

For the fine eaters I would suggest Plateau. The dishes are masterpieces on the plate which taste divine. The staff is very friendly and polite. The prices are also acceptable.


On the way to Wellington

The drive time from Taupo to your the final destination Wellington is 5 hours. However there are some nice stops on the way. You can have a break at Ohakune for it’s walking and biking trails. Another option is to visit the National Army Museum in Waiouru. My suggestion would be to drive to Kapiti Coast and take a tour to Kapiti Island.

Day 7: Wellington

Cable Car in Wellington, New Zealand
Cable Car in Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. It has been named the world’s “Coolest Little Capital”. The cosmopolitan is famous for it’s amazing coffee culture and great culinary scene. Definitely check The Ultimate List of the Best Free Things to do in Wellington NZ. 

One day would not be enough to see the best of it but here are some suggestions. No doubt you should drive or walk to Mount Victoria and enjoy the panoramic view of the city. Start your walk from the Oriental Bay and stroll on the waterfront, taking time to visit Te Papa museum. Try the best Fish & Chips at The Chippery or check some more of my restaurant and cafe suggestions here. You can also take part in a Weta Workshop tour. The Weta Studios are the best special effects studios in the world.

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