After spending 29 days in New Zealand's South Island we will take the ferry from Picton to Wellington on July 11 to begin phase two of our adventure on the North Island. During our stay on the island we will be visiting Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua and the surrounding geyers, the Bay of Islands area, "Mt. Doom" on the Tongariro Alpine Trail, and the Waitomo Caves.
By this point it will be winter and most likely very cold, but hopefully being a little further north will mean slightly better weather and less snow. After doing some research it seems like the weather throughout New Zealand is pretty consistent though. Last summer they had the 3rd warmest winter on record, maybe that will be the case this year as well.
July 11-13, 2012
We will begin our tour of the North Island in Wellington. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and should provide for some good sight-seeing of the city. It lies on a harbor so there may be some water activities taking place here as well. I haven't fully developed a plan and we will stay as long or little as we feel necessary within our three day window.
July 14-15, 2012
We depart Wellington on the 14th of July in our third rental car. As we drive north towards Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park we will take a scenic route along the west coast. Lake Taupo is a beautiful lake just south of Rotorua, home to large population of Mauri people, the natives of New Zealand. While in the region we will visit Tangaririo National Park, one of the best day hikes in the world. This is also the site of Mt. Doom from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
July 16, 2012
Our next stop is the Waitomo Caves. This is the ultimate adventure location, outside of Queenstown in the south. Here you can hike, go spelunking, black water rafting, hike, repel, and many more exciting things. Due to it being summer we plan to only do a few of those things. At the caves we will enjoy a 7-hour Lost World Tour. In this journey we will hike to a location that will require us to repel 100 meters into a cave. Once inside the cave there will be more exploring, both on foot and raft. Floating down a river in an underground cave sounds extremely cool, and it better be because it is very expensive.
July 17-18, 2012
On July 17 we will move on to Rotorua, the site of natural geyers like you see in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The area is known locally as the Wainmangu Volcanic Valley. Here we will hike past geyers, mudpits, and thermal springs in the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Waikite Valley. Time permitting and if it's in our budget we would like to visit a local village where the Mauri people live and see firsthand what life is like. These people are known for their elaborate art, including tatooing their faces.
July 19, 2012
Back on the road we will make a quick pitstop on the northeastern shores in Hahei to see the Cathedral Cove. It is basically a cliff that juts into the see and has a huge arch. During low tide you can hike down to the cove.
July 20-21, 2012
Next we will head to the largest city in New Zealand, Auckland. We will be coming back to Auckland a few days later, but for our first visit we will be visiting sites outside of the city limits. These include Waitakere Reserve, which we will explore in our rental car. The following day we will drop off our rental car and take a bus and boat to Waiheke Island. I don't know much about it, but it looks really cool in pictures and it is highly recommended.
July 22-24, 2012
As we leave Auckland we will get one more rental car to explore the northernmost parts of the island. This will mostly focus on the Bay of Islands region. The main highlights include Abbey Caves, similar to Waitomo but much cheaper and less developed. Also, Karikari Peninsula, Cape Regina, and an overnight boat tour in the Bay of Islands that includes night kayaking, swimming, and fishing for our own dinner.
July 25-26, 2012
Once again we will return to Auckland. After dropping off our last rental car we will check out the city sites on foot and local transportation if necessary. We will spend two days in the city, it may or may not be enough time, but that's all we will have available.
As our time in New Zealand comes to an end we will have numerous memories, photos, and videos. We will be creating a documentary of our adventures and look forward to sharing them with you. Our focus is on the adventure activities that you can do in New Zealand and to ultimately create a promotional video for cities, regions, and the country in general. It will hopefully entice you to visit New Zealand or set off on your own adventures.
If you would like to be part of this adventure please follow along in the coming months as I update my blog, share your suggestions, or cheer us on!
If you would like to go a step furthe please donate to my kickstarter project to help offset some of the costs associated with creating this documentary. There are great rewards available for your minimal investment.
Adventure Travels Documentary Project