I returned to Rotorua for a couple of days to experience a few activities that included Skyline Rotorua, as well as just to relax.Read More
My solo trip to New Zealand took place in August 2013, so, yes, this post is pretty late. Regardless, I wanted to document my travels, so here 'tis.
Hawaii's summer is New Zealand's winter, but with an incredible deal on a roundtrip airfare, I really could not pass it up and would brave the cold—it really wasn't that cold, was it?Read More
I did two other shorter walks while in Tongariro National Park: Mounds Walk and Tawhai Falls Walk. They were more like quick jaunts than anything else, but nice just the same. Both are located on the side of State Highway 48 headed toward Whakapapa Village before the Whakapapa Visitor Centre.Read More
New Zealand has nine Great Walks, but I'm not tramping on any of them. Instead, I'm off on the Taranaki Falls Walking Track, an easy loop trail located near the Whakapapa Village Visitor Centre. Come join me!Read More
The goal today is to make the approximately three-hour drive from Rotorua to the park with a short break in Taupo. I head out of Rotorua on Highway 5 then hook up onto Highway 1 at Waikarei. Since road trips are my favorite mode of travel, I'm looking forward to this long drive and seeing more of the North Island.Read More
Tokorangi Forest, known as The Redwoods, is part of the greater Whakarewarewa Forest that encompasses a total of 13,993 acres, home to native and exotic trees, and sits adjacent to the Blue and Green Lakes that can be included in a daylong hike. For a small fee, you can purchase a map illustrating the routes available at The Redwoods Gift Shop & Visitor Centre. For shorter walks, there are six walking tracks that begin just outside the visitor centre marked by sign posts with each track indicated by a different color.Read More
Geothermal activities are the draw at Rotorua with its geysers, mud pools and steaming lakes that stem from the Rotorua caldera on which the town sits—it's literally a hotbed of activity. What other place has a steaming pond in the middle of town? And so going thermal is where I start.
As soon as I stumble across the website for Waimangu Volcanic Valley while researching local attractions, I have to put it on my list.Read More
After two nights in busy Hamilton, I pack up my things on yet another frigid day beneath grey clouds, and head east to visit the Hobbiton Movie Tour Set near Matamata. I can't wait to see The Shire, home to Frodo Baggins, Sam, Merry and Pippin. It's where it all began, where "The Fellowship of the Ring" was forged!Read More
My destination today: Waitomo, about 50 miles and 1.5 hours away from Hamilton. In Maori, "wai" means water, and "tomo" means hole or shaft. Records say Maori chief Tane Tinorau and Fred Mace, an English surveyor, extensively explored the underground cave in 1887 atop a raft using only the light of a candle. Their entry point is now where the tours exit Waitomo Glowworm Cave.Read More
I'm sitting on a spacious bed, comfortable and toasty warm in my motel room at Discovery Lodge in Tongariro National Park typing this on my laptop. All feels right with the world. It had rained earlier, even pelted a bit of slush because the air was so cold. But now, the clouds, though still floating above, have broken up to reveal patches of lovely blue sky and the warm rays of a setting sun. The surrounding scenery, formerly cloaked in a blue hue, is now a warm autumny orange.Read More
Rotorua is actually the second stop on my two-week New Zealand adventure. It's now mid-August, which is their winter, and great for me! Well, not that I'm into winter sports or anything, but the factors that fell in my favor included the lowest airfare I'd ever seen for a roundtrip here—as in half of what it normally is!—lower prices for accommodations (though still average when compared to U.S. accommodations), less crowds at the attractions and just less congestion on the roads than during their high summer season.Read More