New year, new country. One can’t really complain when you know that you’ll be spending the new year jetting off to a new land – where the air happens be one of the cleanest in the world, the lakes can rival that of my beloved Canada, and the locals are just that keen in making sure that you’re having a good time.
City of Auckland from atop of Mount Eden
So I never really had any interest in visiting New Zealand until I had seen Lord of the Rings for the first time in 2015 (I know, it was long overdue). I loved that the vision for Middle Earth was created from a compilation of various real life sceneries from just one country alone.
But of course I quickly came to find that New Zealand had a lot more to offer than just its association with the popular book and movie franchise. Fairytale-like glowworm caves, peculiar formations left behind by extinct volcanoes, and the cutest national bird – just to name a few!
Our journey began with us driving in and around the upper and middle region of the North Island for the first week or so. I was a bit worried after the forecast said that it would be a relatively rainy and cloudy week for us. However we were lucky enough to have had a few good sunny days which made for a very pleasant and scenic drive along the way.
Never have I seen so much luscious green scenery before in my life than from that one week driving through the North Island alone! And all of the hills. OMG. So many hills.
On our first few days – we visited the Waitomo caves for glowworm sightings, smelled the flowers in the Hamilton Gardens, and got lost on an adventure over at Hobbiton. As I remember, we were clocking in at least 4-5 hours of driving on each of those first few days. It was a tiring, but rewarding way to start off our trip. Also props to my dad for being our willing driver for the entire trip. Dad, you da real MVP. 💚
After the first few days of driving south and only seeing hills, cows and sheep exclusively – we decided to spend a day or two in the city area. Surprisingly, Auckland city turned out to be a lot smaller than I had anticipated – despite the fact that there are more people living in Auckland alone than the combined number of people living on the South Island altogether!
An Auckland highlight for me was checking out the sights from Mount Eden (an extinct volcano with a really cool crater that has been overgrown with grass). Since vehicular access was closed off on the day that we went, we had to walk up the entire way despite my mum’s constant protests. I just kept insisting that the view would be rewarding enough. And boy, was it worth it.
Our last few days on the North Island were just spent relaxing at home (albeit not by choice – thanks rain), dining in Posonby and heading out west to check out the black sand beaches – all before flying off to the South Island for the second half of our trip!
Overall I certainly didn’t expect to be on the road so much during our time on the North Island – but at least the views had made it all the worthwhile. Now that I have settled back at home in Australia, I’ll be trying to update and catch up on my travel diaries a lot more as I still have heaps to post from my recent trips.
Unfortunately this was the best introductory post that I could manage with the little amount of free time that I have had – during what I could honestly say has been the busiest (and craziest) three months of my life thus far.
Stay tuned for more updates soon! x