Escape Travel customer Colin Easton recently returned from a fly-drive holiday to New Zealand. Travelling with family and friends for 12 days, he discovered many beautiful gems and vistas on the North Island.
We flew into Auckland and, the next morning, picked up our campervan and hit the road for the Bay of Islands. It was beautiful up there. We did a lovely cruise with lunch at this beautiful island. After that, we dropped into Paihia, which is kind of like the Byron Bay of the Bay of Islands. While we were there, we checked out the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Then we headed south to Hamilton and Hobbiton to do a tour of the Lord of the Rings film set.
Next up was Rotorua. Along the way we did a canopy zipline tour, where they harness you up and you go along all these ziplines through the rainforest. While in Rotorua, we had a great parking space by the lake with a beautiful view of Lake Rotorua and the swans – and it was free. We also had a look at some of the geysers and bubbling mud and hot springs around there, which is really amazing.
We also went to Lake Tikitapu, where we hired Segways for something a bit different. The next day my wife and I went down to Whakapapa village – it’s so beautiful that it looks like Lake Louise in Canada. We jumped in a little Cessna and flew over it all, which was amazing. Then we went north to the Waitomo Caves, where we did a cave tour and saw the glow worms and stalactites and stalagmites.
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The vans were really good. Riding around in a campervan we had such great vision as we were going and the van could keep up with the traffic no troubles. Everything is really close together in New Zealand, too, which is great for driving. Another highlight was the Mitai village cultural evening.
Just spend more time there. It’s only a little country but we still only saw a tiny amount of it. As we went you could see there were lots of other things we could have done along the way. But that’s the way it goes.
The drive to Bay of Islands was a long drive – you don’t have to do long drives every day, though. You really don’t have to spend more than two hours on any one day to get to a new location.
There was lots of really good seafood in Rotorua! There was this great place selling seafood chowder that we loved. Everyone in general was really friendly. Also, take a raincoat – it probably will rain at some stage – and take clothes to keep warm at night whatever the season.
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