New Zealand is not really known for its major city, Auckland, but rather known for it’s amazing nature. In order to experience all that this country had to offer, we decided to spend some time driving around in the countryside, and end our trip in Auckland.
On our first day, we rented a car at Auckland Airport and drove to Hahei. This is close to Hot Water Beach where we could dig out and make our own hot water pond to soak in. What an amazing experience! On the way to Hahei, we stopped at a cafe and had our first meal in NZ, which was ok… Jay’s banana pancake was great though. In Hahei, we stayed at Hahei B&B hosted by Mark. It was a beautiful B&B house with a nice swimming pool. After dropping off our baggage, we headed to a place called Cathedral Cove recommended by Mark. It is a really cool arch that was formed by nature over many many years…
On our second day, we drove to Hot Water Beach and rented a spade and looked for a good spot to dig. A lady suggested to us that we look for a place where we could see a bubble. When we got to the beach, we found a few spots where we felt heat underneath but it was not low tide yet. So, we waited for about 1 hour to find the best spot. And, yes – we did it. It was such a great experience. We spent the whole time in our pond we made until the ocean tide became high again. Then, we went to a cafe close to the beach and had nice nibbles. In the evening, we went to a winery and pizza place recommended by a person who owned a mobile cafe at Cathedral Cove. It was such a unique place where a guy owns and makes his own wines. The pizza was good too. We stayed until late, even after their closing time and hung out with some locals there.
On our third day, we drove to Raglan, which is located on the opposite side of the island. The Raglan beach was such a gorgeous beach with black sand. The water was so clear that we could see through everything. The sun was really strong though, so we could not stay out for long hours. In the evening, we had a nice Indian/Nepali restaurant and drove to Waitomo Caves.
On our fourth day, we did a bit of adventure! We joined the Black Labyrinth tour for three hours in a glowworm cave. It was also an interesting experience and quite surreal in the cave. Glowworms were very beautiful in the dark. They seemed like stars in the sky. Our guides were pretty great. They made our experience even better. After the adventure, we unfortunately had to say good bye to beautiful sceneries. We headed to the city, Auckland. Jay got us free nights at the Hilton! It was a nice stay and we enjoyed it tremendously. The city was not so big and we could walk around it within a day or two easily. It was very different from Melbourne, but both cities are quite relaxed and easy environments. We walked around the city in the night and had a nice meal at a South Korean restaurant where a Korean waitress recommended us to go to Christchurch, which is located on the South Island. If we come back to New Zealand, I think we will explore the southern Island!
On our fifth day, we went to the Auckland Museum and War Museum. It was a bit of a walk from the city because the museum was located in the middle of nowhere… But, it was a great museum. They display a lot of Maori cultural and other Polynesian information. Also, they have a nature museum and a specialised room for kids too. We also watched a Maori cultural performance. The Maori people showed us a bit of their culture. They sang songs, danced and showed us how they used to fight (Maori culture is pretty much a fight culture).
On our last day, we once again did an adventure, bungee jumping from the Auckland Harbour Bridge! It was a very scary experience but we all loved it!
It was a really great trip! As a matter of fact, our experience in the Hahei Bed and Breakfast made Chiz and I decide that we want to open our own B&B! Not now, but more like a retirement plan. Now all we need to do is find the right place to have one! I guess we have some more traveling to do… oh well!
Here are some picts from our trip – lots of them! Enjoy:
Also, here is a video I took from the Maori Experience from the Auckland Museum: