We started our New Zealand adventure in Auckland: a pleasing city, where you can learn a lot about the Polynesian and European cultural history of these fascinating islands, but not one we planned to stay in for long. Our quest was to explore as much as we could of this amazing and magical land on a road trip that would take us all the way to Wellington. We would cover many miles, through spectacularly varied scenery, seeing the varies sight of this beautiful country.
We started off our trip to Wellington by going north – a strange start but we wanted to see the northernmost part of the North Island – the long peninsula that juts out to the North West of the island. Who could pass up the chance to drive along a ninety mile long beach? We certainly couldn’t. After a good few hours of driving through gorgeous scenery, we finally reached the beach road. The surf broke against the flat sand as we drove along Ninety Mile Beach (not really ninety miles so the name is a mystery), following the tour bus in front of us. We had to take out extra car insurance to travel on this ‘road’. This is not a drive to be undertaken lightly, but we had done our research, and wanted to have the freedom of doing the drive ourselves rather than relying on a tour. After driving the beach, we kept on, driving right to the very end of the peninsula, and ate a picnic supper at Cape Reinga. Then we turned around, as we had determined to spend the night at a camp site in Paihia. We spend the night overlooking the beautiful Bay is Islands.
The following day we took a brief time to admire the beautiful islands and sandy beaches of the bay before pointing the car south. We visited the set of Hobbiton at Matamata, before heading into less homely Rotorua region, where we were astounded by the volcanoes, hot geysers and bubbling mud pools which give the sense of a different world. We camped once more near the town of Rotorua, and spent quite some time exploring this geothermal wonderland.
Feeling more and more that we truly had entered the world of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, we drove from Rotorua into the remote and rugged Urewera National Park with its breathtakingly beautiful lake, forests and mountains, driving along winding roads and eventually reaching the coast at Hawkes Bay. We looped back round to and, after a long and tiring but amazing day’s drive, we camped on the edge of Lake Taupo, new Zealand’s largest lake. The next day, for a change of pace, we kayaked out with a group onto the Lake, and went to see the Maori rock art on the Western Bays. Then we were back on the Tolkien trail: we drove up to Whakapapa ski area, where we saw what it was really easy to believe was the landscape of Mordor, and Mount Doom, where Frodo’s Quest ended. Our own quest, however, was far from over…
Content Courtesy- www.traveleze.co.uk