New Zealand – North Island series

People usually say South Island of New Zealand is more interesting compared to the North Island with more dramatic sceneries and a wide range of activities that could fill anyone’s Bucket list. That is true. But North Island is definitely not boring. During my 6 month stay in Auckland, I’ve got chances to explore some of North Island beauty gems which totally convince me that it is actually hard to find a place in New Zealand that is not picture worthy. OK, I exaggerate! But North Island really deserves more honorable mentions that it currently receives.

Here are some of the short trips that could be made during weekends from Auckland to explore the North Island.

Rotorua

Rotorua is 250 kms to the Southeast of Auckland. The city is known for its geothermal activity, geysers and hot mud pools. It took us more than 4 hours to drive from Auckland with stops for snapping along the way.

Every road in New Zealand is picture perfect!

Every road in New Zealand is picture perfect!

When we were almost reaching Rotorua, the air was filled with rotten eggs smell. At first, we suspected and looked at each other with disgusted glares. It almost broke our relationship!

But the smell lingered still and even got stronger as we got closer to Rotorua. Finally we figured it out it’s the natural smell of the city that is filled with volcano activities. It’s very interesting to see smoke coming out of people’s back-yards like the most natural thing on earth.

Of course, one of the Must-Do activities here is to visit of the geothermal activity park. We chose Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland.

Champagne pool, one of the highlights of the park

Champagne pool, one of the highlights of the park

The park also features an active geyser that is called the Lady Knox Geyser. It erupts at 10am sharp everyday. You may wonder how on earth it can operate so accurately. Yes, that’s right. It functions so with human’s help. Everyday at 10am, some guy will put a bag of chemical into the geyser to help it erupt. Hmmm, after seeing it, it kinda feel like being cheated a little bit.

Lady Knox Geyser at work, shooting water as high as 10 meters

Lady Knox Geyser at work, shooting water as high as 10 meters

Next to Waiotapu park, there’s a hidden spot for dipping yourself in natural hot spring. It’s called the Secret Spot (since not many know about it) or Hot n Cold since the water bath is actually where two streams (1 hot and 1 cold) meet.

the Secret Spot - it was mid winter but the water was really hot. It's up to you to go nude or with shorts on

the Secret Spot – it was mid winter but the water was really hot. It’s up to you to go nude or with shorts on

Tired of bubbling mud and foul smell, we decided to explore other areas. We chanced upon the Redwoods (the Californian trees) walking track

Redwoods track

Redwoods track

and a natural Hamurana spring with water so clear

Hamunara springs, the water is so very clear

Hamunara springs, the water is so very clear…

... perfect for skinny dip...

… perfect for skinny dip…

... looking like a fairy tail in sun set

… looking like a fairy tail in sun set

… to be continued…

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