New Zealand road tripping is a severe difference compared to traveling in Canada.
I’ve previously talked about the slackness of security while flying, but there’s also the matter of how small the country actually is. It takes only about a day of driving to do one end of the North island to the other. Anyone who’s driven through Canada can tell you thats a laughable idea while driving through our vast country.
Driving through New Zealand often felt like middle earth.
A few days ago I set out on a road trip with a friend to pick up his new car in Christchurch. We would start by flying into Christchurch on the south island, drive 4 hours to the ferry, take the 3 hour ferry ride to Wellington to stay overnight before starting the drive back to Auckland. However instead of trucking on through to Auckland we decided to extend the drive back a few days to see different parts of the country and go on some more adventures!
The first night was spent in Wellington, which is a very interesting city. It reminded me of Halifax in it’s hipsteresque and antique shop vibe. We got there around supper time so we grabbed some pizza and watched the sun set over the airport. It was a perfect way to end a long day of traveling.
geothermal activity seen from the Hotel room
The next day we packed up and drove a few hours to Hastings to visit Splash Planet. We spent a few hours acting like children and going down the water slides and lazy rivers. Then we drove a couple more hours to Rotorua which is a cultural centre for the indigenous Maori people. It has geysers and thermal mud pools fueled by the area’s geothermal activity, and houses the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. The air has the smell of sulphur in it, however after about hour it’s hard to notice. There are areas, like in the above photo taken from the hotel, that shows the steam coming from the geothermal activity.
We spent the next day exploring parts of Rotorua and going to Paradise Valley Springs a wildlife park, for a few hours. Here we fed goats, deer, ducks and other animals, and got to watch lions be fed right in front of us. The only thing between us and the lions was a fence, which was an extremely humbling experience to say the least.
After the wildlife park we headed to Tauranga, a fun little beach city. We decided to do the hike up Mount Maunganui. In hindsight we probably should have worn something better than flip-flops (or jandals as they call them here), and eaten something better than burgers and ‘adult milkshakes’ before starting our hike. It was a nice little trek up and had an amazing view when we reached the top.
view from the top of the Mount
It was a gorgeous day to hike up to the top and then we had an amazing view of the town!
There’s sheep literally everywhere here
The next morning we packed our bags and started our drive back to Auckland in the pouring rain. While we could have done without the rain on the last day, we had beautiful sunny days of driving before and could work with one day of rain. This road trip was definitely one I’ll remember forever and hope to do again sometime. Next time I would stay a bit longer in some places and hopefully see more of the south island, perhaps Queenstown and spend some time in Christchurch instead of driving through it to catch a ferry.
My trip to New Zealand is almost done, with a heavy heart I booked my flight back to Canada and will be leaving this beautiful country on the 27th. Don’t worry, there’s going to be a sappy ‘Goodbye for Now New Zealand’ post and this isn’t it! So make sure you’re following me on Facebook and by Email (right on the side of the page) to be kept up to date!