Kia Ora! That is Māori for an array of things, but today we will go with “Welcome!” New Zealand is the southernmost inhabited island on the planet and is by far the most beautiful. It boasts an array of landscapes from golden beaches to rolling hills to mountains and glaciers.
As the first of the Suitcase Series, I will briefly describe what the majority of my posts in this category entail. For those of you that missed my previous post entitled, The Suitcase Series – An Informal Introduction, these short blog posts will include raw, unedited images captured from my phone and a brief description of each. Details on the actual trip will come later, post-by-post. But for now, the Suitcase Series allows me to share my travels with you live, as I experience them along the way. On that note, I hope you enjoy!
Cathedral Cove is a gorgeous beach buried deep beneath the tree tops and cliffs of the North Island. Here you can explore the coves, lay on the beach, or awe at the natural beauty all around you.
Hot Water Beach was our second stop of the day where just around dusk during low tide you take a shovel and dig a hole big enough to lay in to enjoy a hot tub like experience on the beach.
New Zealand is famous for the film rendering of J.R.R Tolken’s legendary Lord of the Rings. Hobbiton is now a permanent attraction, built just outside the North Island town of Matamata.
Near Rotorua, I had the incredible opportunity to experience New Zealand’s traditional Māori culture first hand.
Rotorua is not only the cultural capital of New Zealand but it is also home to the largest geyser on the island.
Huka Falls’s bright blue waters beckon for a swim, but I would say otherwise! The falls are not the largest but they do have the biggest volume by mass in all of New Zealand.
The infamous Tongariro Crossing took us a total of 8 hours to complete, including a 7,500+ ft hike up volcanic terrain to Mount Ngauruhoe’s summit. The crossing is the most frequented hike in all of New Zealand but is not for the weak by any means! The crossing is also famously known as Mordor from Lord of the Rings and the active volcanoe we hiked, Mount Ngauruhoe, is more commonly referred to as Mount Doom from the film as well.
Lake Taupo is one of my favorite spots. Once a super volcano in the past, it collapsed upon eruption and filled with water overtime. Now the lake is home to an active crater beneath the water. Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand and is said to be the size of Singapore. The mountains in the background are those from the Tongariro Crossing: Mount Ngauruhoe, Mount Tongariro, and Mount Ruapehu.
Lake Taupo Waterfront
I couldn’t help but post a picture of a Kiwi Crossing sign to finish off the Suitcase Series post. Kiwis are New Zealand’s native but rare bird. It is why New Zelanders often refer to themselves as ‘Kiwis.’
Stay tuned for more pictures and detailed posts on each part of my New Zealand North Island Adventure!