Hobbiton was awesome, as I wrote about here in my last honeymoon post. New Zealand is so beautiful. I wish we had more time to explore. There’s still so much we didn’t see:
- The west coast
- The south island
- Tongariro Crossing
- Whale Bay
- Lake Tekapo
- Rangitoto Island
- See a kiwi
For the first few days of our trip, we stayed in Rotorua, which is about 2 hours and 45 minutes south of Auckland. Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity. There’s steam from geyers coming up all around you. We visited the Polynesian Spa late one rainy afternoon and rented a private hot mineral pool overlooking the lake. The alkaline mineral water spa was relaxing and mixed in with the awesome view, it was pretty romantic, too. I have never been to Calistoga, but that’s on my to-do list this year and try one of the mud baths.
On our way to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, we stopped to take a selfie on a bridge.
Matt did most of the driving while we were in New Zealand (thanks babe!). We rented a Suzuki. I think that was the first and only time I’ve ever rode in one of those.The Waitomo Glowworms Cave was high on my list of things to do while in New Zealand. You can’t take pictures while you’re inside the caves, but it is quite beautiful to say the least. You feel like you’re either looking out at the stars in space, or looking at the stars from space. We went on a 45-minute guided tour where we learned the history of the caves and those who first found it. I can only imagine stumbling upon these caves hundreds of years ago and not quite knowing what I was looking at. Our guide explained that the caves were found by local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau and an English surveyor Fred Mace who took a raft into the cave from a stream that flowed through.
We took a ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island where we had one of the best meals of our trip. There was a restaurant on the island called 4th Avenue Eatery & Bar where Matt and I had delicious fish and chips. Stop in there for a bite if you’re ever in town.
Once on the island, you can get a day pass for the bus and hop on and off as you please. This was one of the streets we hopped off to explore and shop. It rained on and off that morning, but cleared up in the afternoon. You couldn’t tell in the picture, but only a few hours earlier, my umbrella turned inside out and had to be tossed.There were boats out in the little bay here and some really nice views from the restaurants on this street. While on the ferry, we flipped through real estate pamphlets and were impressed with what you could get on the island versus the Bay Area housing prices.
Huka Falls was incredible. Look at how blue that water is! On the map, it looked like we were going on a quick 15-minute hike, but about 40 minutes in, we realized we still hadn’t found what we were looking for. It was raining and we were soaking wet, but it was totally worth it when we made it.
On our hike, we met a gal from London who had been traveling the world for the last few months and had another month of travel before heading back home. Ah the life. The walk along the river was beautiful and if it were warm and sunny, I would have loved to take a dip right here (below, not above!).
After Rotorua, we spent two nights in Auckland near the city center. We met our Airbnb host upon arrival and she was very knowledgeable of the area and things to do, as well as how to get around. A “Keep Calm and Eat Hot Dogs” sign on the street in downtown Auckland.
One night we went to the Sky Tower and SKYCITY. It was a really cool experience to to see a 360-degree view of Auckland from so far up. We checked out the casino in SKYCITY, but didn’t get lucky.
Also had a delicious cronut in Auckland. Yummmmy!
Check back soon for the rest of our honeymoon recaps. Missed my last one? Read about our trip to Hobbiton here.