Category: North Island

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.

Get your hike on: The best walks New Zealand has to offer

New Zealand is inarguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world. With so much culture and natural beauty to be discovered on this island, it’s no wonder so many travellers flock in their masses to find it. And, if you’re a rather active traveller, rest assured there’s plenty of places for you here, too.

Of course, if you are planning an ‘adventurous’ holiday for yourself and the family, or whether you’re travelling solo, it’s important to keep yourself well protected. This check list ensures you’re covered for an emergency. Staggeringly, 28% of travellers don’t cover themselves with adequate insurance either, so make sure you’re not the one caught out.

Here are just some of the best hiking opportunities New Zealand has to offer.

Milford Sound

For what is perhaps New Zealand’s most beautiful spot of all, head to Milford Sound. Although often seen upon a cruise, this fjord is better off explored on foot – disembark in this natural wonderland and discover one of the most incredible sights on Earth.

With limestone cliffs protruding majestically from the emerald waters and dense forestry upon them, the hiking potential here is almost unparalleled. Some parts of Milford Sound are admittedly more challenging, but the perks are more than worth it – with stretching panoramas boasting waterfalls, wildlife and sprawling views, there’s a reason why this part of New Zealand is so popular.



The smoky Rotorua, New Zealand

Head to Rotorua if you want to discover a prevalence of culture whilst you explore. It’s a town renowned for the prominent Maori culture, boasting the highest Maori population of any town in the entire country. Be sure to try a traditional hangi (feast), as recommended by Audley, during your time here.

But if you’re focused on the hike, rest assured it’s one of the best places for it. The Thermal Plateau has some of the most wondrous geothermal features in the country, with everything from cave formations to dense forests, with mud pools and gushing geysers in between. This will prove to a be a hike unlike any other.

Mount Tongariro

If you’re up for the challenge of hiking upon a volcano, head to Tongariro National Park. There’s countless routes here to discover, depending on just how long a hike you’re looking for – shorter hikes such as the track towards the Taranaki Falls or the Ohinetonga Lagoon circuit are best suited to the less-experienced explorer.

However, you could potentially spend up to eight hours here exploring the sprawling park. The Tama Lakes boast a track that could take just that long if you take your time, taking you through a vast majority of Tongariro. And then there’s the volcano itself – it isn’t an easy climb, but if you’re up for the challenge it’s all yours.

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand

Another of New Zealand’s national parks, Abel Tasman is very different from Tongariro. Instead of hilly treks and a volcano to boot, you’ll find some lush forestry that gives way to beautiful, glistening beaches. Hike to the top of Abel Tasman’s hills for stretching views out towards the horizon, the sun-soaked surroundings perhaps the closest thing to paradise in the country.

This is the perfect destination for a first-time hiker, especially because the terrain isn’t as challenging as some other entries on this list. And, as an added bonus, you’ll discover some of New Zealand’s natural beauty as a result.

Art Deco Walk, Napier

If a hike isn’t really your thing and you simply want a casual stroll, consider Napier’s Art Deco Walk. This city is full to the brim with incredible Art Deco architecture, with some prominent historical value accompanying it – it’s indisputably New Zealand’s most stunning city of all.

The level of maintenance and upkeep that has so evidently gone into the city’s appearance makes for a fascinating trip, and as you walk upon the streets gawking at the many beautiful buildings before you, make sure you take the time to appreciate the history and how Napier came to be how it is today. Here you will find more interesting places that you definitely need to visit in New Zealand!

The best of Kapiti coast, New Zealand

The Kapiti Coast is the name of the coastal region in the south-west of New Zealand’s North Island. It lays just 40 minutes drive or a 1 hour train journey from central Wellington. The area offers infinite beach paths of grey sand along the coast and a relaxed, quiet atmosphere of the little towns like Paraparaumu. Wellington’s district is an ideal spot for travelers and locals who have an affinity for wildlife, nature and hiking. From the beach side of Kapiti you won’t miss the sight of the big Island’s silhouette across the water, it’s the main attraction, Kapiti Island. But before you decide to visit it check the essential packing list for it!

The streets of Paraparaumu

Why you should visit Kapiti Island in New Zealand

Kapiti Island is the most important sanctuary for the rare native birdlife of New Zealand. It’s also one of the few accessible nature reserves and it’s rich in history. In 1897 Prime Minister Richard Seddon introduced a bill to Parliament in order to conserve and protect the flora and fauna of the Island’s territory. So the habitat of the area has been created to keep the endangered species away from the threatening ones such as mammalian predators and pests. The government needed to use drastic methods to provide essential breeding grounds for marine animals and sea birds: 2000 goats were removed in 1928, the cats were eradicated by 1935 and over 20.000 possums were killed in a period of six years.

Picturesque views of Kapiti Island

Stunning Kapiti Island is 10 km long and 2 km wide, furthermore the amount of visitors is strictly limited, to keep outside influence to a minimum. In this world-renowned bird sanctuary you can see many endemic bird species that are already extinct on the mainland. The most famous are Kaka, Weka, Kiwi, Hihi, Kakariki, Kereru and etc. There are also various tracks with beautiful paths flowing through the forest. The fittest and most adventurous can reach the summit, Tuteremoana, which sits 521m above sea level.

Be quite if you want to take a picture of Takahe bird

The best way to visit and to explore the unique island is with Kapiti Explorer. They offer a day trip to the sanctuary. The journey starts from the Boating Club near Paraparaumu beach at 8:45 am. If you decide to come from Wellington as I did, then you need to take a train at 6:49 which will cost you $11,50. From Paraparumu you can take bus 260. The final stop will be just a stone’s throw away  from the departure spot. From there the boat will bring you to nature and bird lovers’ paradise.

Robin bird, a little poser

I would definitely suggest to book a guided tour to learn how to identify the rare species of New Zealand and to discover the secret nests of various birds like the cute little blue Pinguin, whom is living deep in the forest of this sanctuary. Acquiring this precious knowledge will cost you a mere $12 per person!

Fearless Weka

Where to eat in Kapiti, New Zealand

After a long day of exploring the island and getting to know various bird species  you will arrive back on the mainland probably very hungry. Anyway this is what happened to me and luckily I discovered a cozy little beach restaurant Marine Parade Eatery on the main street, 50 Marine Parade. It’s the only restaurant in Paraparaumu which has an amazingly colourful and modern design with a big passion for lovely details. You can also enjoy the view of the sea and relish the warmth of the sun from the restaurant’s terrace. And if it’s too hot outside which can doubtlessly happen during the summer period, try one of their refreshing New Zealand made streaming soda drinks.

Welcome to the charming Marine Parade Eatery

Marine Parade Eatery is a perfect place to savor a delightful bagel with a cup of energizing coffee for breakfast or have a marvelous lunch or dinner served with magnanimous portions of delicious healthy food. Every treat is unexpectedly tasty in this little gem of Kapiti, whether it’s the chocolate cake or one of the main courses. The friendly and smily staff will help you to find the perfect choice for you and even if you would like to alter your meal the chef will be more than happy to accommodate your wishes. Additionally Marine Parade Eatery makes all kinds of customers happy: Vegetarian, meat addict, seafood junky or sweet like sugar.

You can’t say no to delicious chocolate cake

We ordered seared beef fillet with blue cheese and anchovy butter, duck fat potatoes buttered baby carrots and broccolini and red wine jus for $34, pan fried fish with edamame, snow pea, peanuts, coriander, chili and miso dressed soba noodles for $32 and last but not least macadamia nut and swede coleslaw for $10. The food is divine and the coleslaw salad was the best salad that I’ve ever tried: The incredible combination of roasted macadamia nuts and yoghurt mixed with garlic dressing let us reach culinary heaven. The fish and meat were done on point, juicy and full of flavours. I enjoyed my meal with a glass of French Les Embruns Rose, which was a terrific choice. The beef fillet went well together with the cold beer of the day: The Garage Project pilsener.

Not only esthetically pleasing but also a feast in a mouth

I would highly recommend to stop by Marine Parade Eatery and experience memorable culinary magic. Just be aware of the opening hours if you want to go out for dinner, it’s only possible on weekends after 5pm. Moreover every Sunday from 3:30 pm your exquisite meals will be accompanied by live music (and hopefully good weather!).

If you are planning to visit the South Island of New Zealand too here are some awesome tips!

Amazing Wellington Day Tour to Wairarapa, New Zealand

If you’ve never heard about Wairarapa, it’s time to experience this Wellington Day Tour and to get know this tranquil Wellington’s surroundings. It occupies the south-eastern part of the North Island and contains three main sub-regions, Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton. There are plenty of marvelous places to discover and activities to enjoy. But before you decide to visit New Zealand check the essential packing list for it!

Pinnacles Track at Rimutaka Crossing

Best Day Trip from Wellington

If you have only one day in Wellington the ideal way to explore the attractive destination is by car. The drive from Wellington to Wairarapa region also offers an amazing scenic view. I was lucky to get to know John, who owns and operates Capital Personolised Tours company and offers a great selection of journeys throughout the best spots and surroundings of Wellington. John took me for the entire day to explore the gems of Wairarapa. The best about traveling with Cap Tours is that it does personalised trip in smaller groups, so you don’t need to hurry up if you would like to enjoy picturesque views without time pressure. Nevertheless John’s company is flexible and also provides tours for groups up to 12 people!

Lord of the Rings Film locations in Wellington

The archway from the movie Lord of the Rings

The day trip started when John picked me up from the place where I was staying in Wellington and we drove to our first stop: the exciting film locations of Lord of the Rings in Kaitoke. Shortly about Kaitoke: It’s a magnificent regional park where you can follow the signs to the spectacular Lord of the Rings filming locations complete with information panels. There you will find the secret spot used as the set for Rivendell in Peter Jackson’s trilogy. Faithful fans should doubtlessly be aware that their camera battery is fully charged. The adventurous ones can walk on the swing bridge and enjoy the views of the Hutt River.

Swing bridge

Swingbridge in Kaitoke

Towns in Wairarapa: Greytown

There are some cute towns in Wairarapa and one of them is Greytown. It has nothing to do with the grey colour, contrariwise it’s a cute, colourful and sophisticated village with free Wi-Fi hotspots along the Main Street. It’s worth to make a stop and stroll through the mix of independent boutiques, art galleries, antique stores and great cafés.

Incredible Medina products: Daily Face Cream, Exfoliate, Eye Crem

Incredible Medina products: Daily Face Cream, Exfoliate, Eye Cream

It’s unexpectedly a great shopping destination where you can find various intresting products. I discovered the marvelous organic skin care shop Medina on 81 Main Street. It’s a little heaven for every girl and woman who are aware of taking good care of their skin using only natural, high quality products. Medina Morin is an inspired owner with a background in beauty therapy. All her products are handmade without any bad toxins and furthermore, they are not tested on animals. You would probably expect that the prices are insanely high, but surprise, surprise! Nothing is over $60 and you can already find natural daily face cream made from olive leaf extract for $35. I couldn’t resist and purchased 3 different products: face and eye cream, Egyptian hibiscus exfoliate. Additionally I got a little present, a detox mask tester. I’ve tried them all and they are amazing, my skin has never been so smooth and bright. So don’t hesitate to visit Medina in the shop or online and you can even ask for a consultation.

Taste Wine in Martinborough

Wine lovers don’t need to be asked twice to explore the surroundings of Martinborough, famous for it’s never-ending grape fields and family owned vineyards. Martinborough features over 30 wineries, most within walking distance of each other. If you decided to come without John’s luxury 4WD then you can rent a bike and experience a diverse representation of vineyards in a sporty way.

Infinite vineyards of Martinborough

The vineyards are not only for admiring but also to taste the great wine of Wairarapa. You will doubtlessly discover why Martinborough is famous for it’s Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. If you have the opportunity to visit this area in November don’t think twice: Toast Martinborough will be on, a famous wine, food and music festival.

Martinborough is just 1 hour and 15 minutes away from Wellington but it’s an ideal rural place to escape the hectic city and to enjoy high quality food and world class wines. Furthermore there are marvelous olive groves producing the finest award winning olive oil. If you have an opportunity to enjoy your sunny day somewhere else, then definitely go to this picturesque colonial village!

Amazing Sauvignon Blanc

Tip: Hungry one’s shouldn’t be worried, John from Cap Tours will take care of it and bring you to a top local restaurant to let you experience the best of the surroundings! 

An expedition to Cape Palliser Lighthouse

Colony of cute fur seals

Colony of cute fur seals, count how many you can see!

Cape Palliser is the most southern point of the North Island of New Zealand. The road to it is dramatically scenic and offers a fascinating sea and landscape. Furthermore on the roadside of the Cape is the largest colony of New Zealand fur seals. It’s worth to make a stop and observe sleepy voluptuous animals camouflaged on the rocks. The seals in New Zealand have lovely pointy noses and long whiskers. If you go on an adventure between November and January you will see plenty of adorable seal babies. Just be careful and don’t come to close to them, the seals may seem huge and lazy but they can move pretty fast when the feel threatened.

Just 251 stairs to reach Cape Palliser Lighthouse

When you reach Cape Palliser Lighthouse, which stands there since 1897, don’t be frightened by the notable 251 step climb to the cliff, it will test your fitness. On the top you will be rewarded with the unforgettable scenery of Palliser Bay. Unfortunately there is a sad story behind the deep majestic ocean: during the 19th century more than 20 ships wrecked near this area. Although it’s an incredible place to watch waves dramatically crash, to hear the strong wind roar and to feel one with nature.

Book a tour in New Zealand with Capital Tours

It was a long day but it was full of magnificent and memorable impressions. I was happy to explore the treasures of Wairarapa in an exclusive and most comfortable fashion. The road back to Wellington may seem for some travelers like me, to be winding and unsettling. John’s jeep is perfectly suited for whole day scenic trips, that’s why no need to worry. The pre-cautious person can bring some motion sickness pills or just try to fall asleep on the return journey as I did. Conclusively Wairarapa area is a must see and experience in New Zealand! Check also The Ultimate List of the Best Free Things to do in Wellington NZ

John’s comfortable four-wheeler (Capital Tours)

Things to Do in Wairarapa Outside of the Tour

Visit Native New Zealand Wildlife

Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre
Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre

You can also see Native New Zealand Wildlife in the wonderful Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre. There are various rare birds and the world-famous in New Zealand “Manukara”, unique white kiwi bird.

Visit The Tui Brewery

Tui is the most iconic New Zealand beer and it is brewed in Mangatainoka. You can visit the brewery, taste beers and buy something nice at their “Tui” shop.

Walking & Hiking experience in Wairarapa

There are plenty of various hiking, walking and biking tracks. There are awesome coastal views, easy walking forest parks and more Lord of the Rings locations.

1 Day In Auckland Itinerary

There are various possibilities to follow itinerary and spend a perfect 1 day in Auckland. Very often mistaken for a capital of New Zealand, Auckland is the most populated city in New Zealand.  It’s famous for it’s two natural harbours, busy CBD occupied by tall skyscrapers and surroundings filled with magnificent landscapes. It’s a perfect stopover and smooth introduction to the country before you start your long adventure through the land of Tolkien’s mystical creatures. But before you decide to visit New Zealand check the essential packing list for it!

Streets of Auckland CBD

Streets of Auckland CBD

Getting to and from Auckland

When you arrive in Auckland don’t expect to experience the vibrance of big cities such as Sydney, New York or any other great metropolis. The prices for rent are unreasonably high, so if you are planning to stay a bit longer in New Zealand my advice don’t stay too long in Auckland. Additionally obesity has become a huge problem in the whole country, that’s why be prepared to see plenty of enormous people. Nevertheless it’s worth to stay one or more days here and explore the thriving and accessible beauty of nature.

Auckland is perfect as a base to travel to other places in New Zealand like Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin and Queenstown. But you can also use various bus operators such as Kiwi Experience to start your tour from Auckland and explore the best of North Island.

It’s very easy to navigate in the city and public transport can bring you to the main attractions of the town. Kiwis who live in Auckland prefer to drive everywhere with the car though because the bus connection still needs some improvement. Another great way to get to know the best of Auckland in a most comfortable way is to get a ticket for the hop on and off bus.

Where to stay in Auckland

As I mentioned before that bus connection in Auckland still needs some improvement that’s why I recommend finding accommodation in the heart of the city or Central Auckland. Suburbs can be boring and buses don’t always run late.

In my opinion the best hostel with a private room in Auckland is YHA Auckland International.It’s clean, spacious, offers 2GB free Wi-Fi per day and is very close to the centre. Another great hostel which is a bit further from the heart of Auckland but the cheapest option in the city is Haka Lodge. Free Wifi throughout the hostel and the rooms are tidy with big windows. For those who love movies will be happy to hear that there is even a mini-cinema in the hostel.

48 hours in Auckland itinerary – Day 1

Auckland Sky Tower

For our first Auckland in a day itinerary, we will start from Auckland city itself. Here you can find the main signature of Auckland: 328 meters tall and 20 years old Sky Tower, located in the heart of the city. You can not only only observe the beautiful building from every corner of the metropolis but you can also enjoy different kinds of attractions. The adrenaline junkies can do SkyJump or SkyWalk, foodies can taste exclusive meals in the restaurant placed on the base of the complex and Instagram-fans can take overwhelming pictures from 220 meters high above ground level, for a decent price of course.

Enjoy free activities in Auckland

It’s hard to believe but there are plenty of interesting activities that you can experience without paying a penny for it. One of them is movie time in Silo Park, across from the Viaduct Harbour, during the summer months every Friday or Saturday. There you can immerse into a relaxed afterwork atmosphere of the city and taste the goodies of the night market.

If you love art then you definitely need to visit Auckland Art Gallery after you strolled through Albert Park. You will be charged for temporary exhibitions but general admission is free. In Auckland Museum you will get an education about New Zealand gratis but only if you have a proof of an Auckland address. Otherwise you need to pay 25$.

Auckland Highlights – Cornwall Park

To spend 1 perfect day Auckland you should definitely explore wide tranquil green spaces and see the typical countryside scene of New Zealand filled with numerous cute sheep. Visit Cornwall Park, the largest area of parkland in Auckland city. In the 18th century the area was the centre of the Maori occupation.

It’s very easy to get to Cornwall Park, you just need to take the bus 309, 302 or 312 direction Mangere or Onehunga from Queen Street. It takes around 30 minutes to get to the location and then you are free to explore the green surroundings.

One Tree Hill Domain

One Tree Hill Domain

Follow the path and you will reach One Tree Hill Domain located on one of the metropolis’s volcanos. To reach the top of the hill will be challenging but in the end you will be rewarded with a fabulous city view from the summit.

Auckland Sightseeing – Mount Eden

Another pride of the big city Auckland is the 196 meter high dormant volcano enclosed with magnificent hiking trails, carrying the name Mount Eden or Maungawhau. If you had enough of walking but you want to reach the summit with the deep crater then you can also go by car or even shuttle bus. From the top of the hill you can enjoy a fantastic 360-degree view of the city and it’s harbours.

Amazing Mount Eden

Amazing Mount Eden

You can reach Mt Eden by taking a bus number 274 or 277 from Downtown Britomart every 15 minutes. Just don’t forget to wear very comfortable sport shoes to admire the nature without suffering.

Check out the eateries at Ponsonby

Delicious Pork Burger

Delicious Pork Burger

Ponsonby is a posh and well-known suburb in Auckland. Just minutes away from central Auckland, it offers great boutiques with amazing shopping experiences and in the evening you can taste from high end restaurants to the freshest fast food. If you are very hungry visit Burger, Burger. The service and vibes are amazing at that place and most importantly the food is delicious. Additionally the portion of the sides are tremendous. For little money you will be fed and happy!

Sides: Huge potatoes

Sides: Huge potatoes

Don’t forget to visit the capital of New Zealand: The charming Wellington! More about it you can find here.

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