We arrived in Auckland, although not the capital of New Zealand it really seemed hard to comprehend that this is the country’s largest city. The weather was mixed and a totally different climate to Sydney our previous stop. On a day of bad weather, we went to the museum and on the better days climbed one of the volcanoes that surrounds Auckland to get fantastic panoramic views of the city. We also took a ferry to one of the neighbouring islands, Waiheke to see the local beaches and vineyards. Yum!
Our next stop was the beautiful Bay of Islands, here the opportunity to swim with wild dolphins was available but unfortunately, they had babies so we couldn’t. Despite this the views were spectacular and we did get to snorkel with snapper fish. We travelled up to Cape Regina the furthest point north, a Maori sacred ground where the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific Sea meet and crash together.
The Coromandel; a large forest park west of Auckland would be our next stop. Surrounded by natural beauty we hiked to find secluded beaches and swam in caves. The most surreal spot had to be Hot Water Beach. The name says it all, a beach which twice a day a rise of hot water pushes through the sand and if you dig a hole you can make your own free spa pool.
If we didn’t think things could get any more surreal we headed to Waitomo Caves home of the glow worms. Tiny worms that live in the caves and as they digest their food they release a tiny light which looks truly magical.
Our final part to our first few weeks in New Zealand was ‘geeking out’ at Hobbiton the home of the film The Hobbit. This fantasy world film set truly lives up to what you imagine it to be like. So many Hobbit holes and intricate detail everywhere you look. But the best part, drinking a cider in the Green Dragon pub looking over the lake!
Next stop..the smelliest place in New Zealand!