Enchanted New Zealand

By Ola Endress

The North Island

Lets be honest, when you think New Zealand you probably think that there is more sheep than people (this is true), that the kiwis speak funny (fush and chups) and there isn’t really anything there to offer except for non existent hobbits. 
Well let me show you that New Zealand can actually surprise you.  It is beautiful, peaceful, serene and actually next level fun.

Firstly if you really want to get the most out of the North Island, I highly recommend hiring a car and driving from the bottom to the top like we did.
 

This is the first time doing a road trip for a week straight,  with two of my closest friends Ally and Giovanni and of course not to forget that James was also included because you cant have a trip without getting bullied every two seconds by your boyfriend =)

DAY 1 - Gravity Canyon, Taihape
 

This is a must do! If you come to New Zealand you HAVE to come to Gravity Canyon and do the flying fox!
The shitting yourself experience is worth it when you have a stunning view to look at while you rush down to what would feel like a bottomless pit underneath you.

This is not something I would do again because lets face it, I actually thought I died a few times on it but I was happy I did it! If you think you have balls, think again and do the flying fox. I DARE you! and let me know how you go 

Cost: $155 per person
 

Why do this: read above, you also get a go pro to film your facial expressions and feel like superman flying down this thing!
 

If you are too terrfied  to do the flying fox (understandable), they offer different options like bungy jumping!
 

Where: 332 Mokai Road, Taihape, New Zealand

Visit: www.gravitycanyon.co.nz

DAY 2 - Secret Location – Orakei Korako

This place is a very special place to me, so if you REALLY want to know where it is, which you probably will want to then send me a message and I will give you the details.
 

I really don’t want to spoil this place but at the same time, it is so beautiful that I have to share it! (well at least the photos anyway)
 

What to expect: you know when you go to a waterfall and the water is what feels to be at below freezing temperature? well can you believe that this waterfall is actually HOT? yeah!! I didn’t want to move out of it the whole time . REMEMBER  – New Zealand has many natural hot springs you do need to make sure that you never put your head under the water because of the ameba parasites (trust me you don’t want any of them in your body)

DAY 3 - The city of fun! – Rotorua

What to expect: if you like the smell of eggs you will love this place (blame the sulphur from the volcanic activity). The whole of Rotorua pretty much smells like this but don’t let that stop you from visiting as too much fun is to be had!

The Hamurana Springs Reserve

NO FILTER!! I promise you the water looks identical to the photo. Incredible huh?
I love this place, not busy at all! we were the only people here and is very easily accessible.

Blue Lake & Green Lake

River Rats Whitewater Rafting 

If you visit NZ this is a must do! and do not go with any other company than River Rats!
They are by far the best to deal with, super friendly and much cheaper than all the other options! (trust me I had a nightmare with the others).
They made this experience unforgettable for me and will remember this experience for a lifetime.

What to expect: River raft down the tallest commercial waterfall in the world! (typical that I was the only person out of all rafts on the day to fall out of this waterfall mid way!) Don’t worry! you get lessons beforehand and the instructors are so funny and awesome!

You also can purchase your photos from the day for cheap and they put it onto a USB for you which is super convenient. 

Cost – $105 PP
Visit – http://www.riverrats.co.nz

Skyline Rotorua

Ride a cable car to the top of the mountain and take in the stunning views of Rotorua city.
And for the fun part?? Luge ride all the way down!
So much fun, three different levels (I did all of them) and you can do it over and over again!

If you have a go pro you can use it and if you don’t you can hire one for $10 and film your luge racing experience or in our case you can prove who made it to the bottom first.

Cost – Starts at $29 and up to – $59 depending on what you want ($49 package should be enough to thrill you for this experience)

DAY 4 - Lake Taupo

The drive to this place is my favorite, you drive on a desert road that looks completely isolated in the middle of nowhere. When you have your window down and hair blowing all over the place it feels like summer. When you look up into the sky you see a massive snowy volcano mountain ahead of you and I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like it before.  It is definitely a ride you will remember.

Make sure on your way (wherever you are in NZ) you stop off at a dairy and get yourself a real fruit ice cream stat! My favorite is blueberry and it will be the freshest you will ever have!

Once you get to Lake Taupo you will immediately feel the relaxing vibe that there is to this town.
Lots of places to eat and lots of things to see!

Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand. The whole lake lies on top of an active super volcano (if this thing erupts again, all of mankind would be gone!). It last erupted approximately 25,000 years ago..lets hope it doesn’t erupt anytime soon!

Natural Thermal Hot Spring – Located on Spa Rd, Waikato River

Huka Falls

Play hole in 1 golf on the lake 

Hire a Boat & go on Lake Taupo

Day 5– Mount Maunganui!

Located in the Bay of Plenty this town is similar to the Gold Coast in a way but minus the annoying Bogans (no offence to you annoying bogans out there =p)

I love this town it is the only place I have been to where you will find sheep next to an ocean.  I recommend climbing the actual mountain (known as the mount) and once you reach the summit, the views and I mean the views are to die for!

I recommend spending the day here to hike, go for a swim, sunbake on the beach and check out plenty (of bay..pun) restaurants there are waiting for you to dine at.

 Last Stop – The Coramandel – STUNNING!

Now this is a place where I really recommend you get a boat or hire one (you can book day trips at a cost).

We stayed here for two nights and I have NEVER and I mean NEVER seen so many stars in my life! I felt like I was a star in outer space, my god it is beautiful at night! so even more reason to pitch up a tent and camp like we did.

To get here you will definitely need to have a boat or do a day trip. This blowhole is off one of the many of little islands around the Coramandel. This can be quite tricky to access and you should be a confident swimmer! but let me tell you once you get inside this blowhole you get 360 views of the canopy above you.
 

I have never ever seen or experienced something so magical in my entire existence and I cannot wait to go here again! You need to swim through a blow hole and once you get through the blow hole tunnel you will see this beautiful cave that opens up for you (I highly recommend you bring snorkels)

Lastly unfortunately I wasn’t able to do this as we got locked out of our camp site (woops) there is a beach here called Hot Water Beach where you bring a shovel and at certain times of the day you can dig out your very own hot spring on the sand! I am kicking myself for not making it here but I would do it at night time, under the stars with a few beers in hand!
If you do this, let me know how it was =)

And that’s it!

Can you believe this is all in New Zealand? so next time to think it has very basic things to offer you are so very wrong and I hope this blog proves it for all of you.
New Zealand you have won my heart over and I will be back to explore the South!

Special thanks and mention to the following:

Gravity Canyon Taihape – Thanks for making this happen! Craziest experience ever!
Riverrats Roturua – Thanks for having us! and thanks for saving my life!
Amanda and Allan Perkinson – Thanks for accommodating us and letting us borrow pretty much everything!
Gio and Ally – Thanks for creating memories that will last forever
James Perkinson – Thanks for being our awesome tour guide! we  you.

Thanks for reading and until next time,
Ola xx

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