Nov 20, 2014: My trip to New Zealand was more like a sprint across the North Island. My itinerary was 2 nights in Turangi (just south of Lake Taupo) and 1 night in Te Aroha (at a beautiful old bank turned coffee shop turned B&B – “Banco') totalling 850km driven. I met many people who were scheduled to be vacationing for 3-5 months! Many were repeat visitors. I imagine the island would require many weeks to fully appreciate everything, but since I only had 3 days .. here are my things to do (and hopefully a note to self for future visits):
- Visit the National Parks, Tongariro was excellent and there are many others
- Lounge in a thermal river (amazing)
- In to sweets? – have “hoki poki” ice cream (mini caramel bits)
- In to friedness – have “Fish n Chips” from a street merchant or purveyor serving it in a newspaper (no more than $15 for two meals)
Future things would be to grab a bike and hit the roads, as they are in great condition. Just beware the wind at certain times of year is ridiculous.
When does summer start?
Summer SHOULD start around Nov, but can start as late as January. Plan accordingly!
Where did I stay?
I used AirBnB for my entire travel schedule in Cairns and New Zealand
In Turangi I stayed with a nice little family. They converted an outside building to a small bedroom and we shared the kitchen together. I cooked eggs and had avocado each morning. We shared coffee in the morning while the kids got ready for school, and tea in the evenings discussing the local culture. A great way of experiencing any country. Their home was modest, but without their insight on the national park – I could have been in a very dire position (the husband was an outdoorsman by profession and gave me great insight on how to complete my ultra run)
How did I chose where I went/drove/visited?
I selected the Turangi location based on location to the mountain and reviews stating the owners were familiar with the mountain.
Te Aroha was selected for no particular reason, other than I knew I would be heading north and wanted something about 90 minutes from the airport (as I had a 9am flight). I didn't know that Te Aroha was near some of the islands best springs/spas.
Sunscreen – MANDATORY, this is because of the UV rays from the ozone layer are poisenous.