When I decided to leave Australia and head to New Zealand, I only had one week to spend there. I had always planned on exploring the South Island because I have heard that it is the more beautiful of the two islands, I wanted to head to Wanaka, and I REALLY wanted to eat a Fergburger (Google it, trust me!).
Another thing I was dying to do was the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, the Nevis bungee in Queenstown.
But the more I looked into NZ, the more I felt that there was no way I could go to that country and not go to Hobbiton.
For those who do not know, Hobbiton is on the North Island, not the South.
The decision between the two islands was really difficult, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized a few things.
I was going the first week of June, so the beginning of ski season on the South Island. This meant it would be busy, prices would be sky high, and I wanted to have time to really explore without being worried over fighting tourists for views or paying extortionate amounts of money. I am a budget traveler after all.
And besides, now I have an excuse to go back! 😉
So since I had now decided on the North Island it was time to decide on how to narrow it all down to just six days, and still be able to feel like I spent time in the country, not just in my rental car.
The thing with NZ is that it is a stunning country. No matter where you look you are surrounded by beauty. I knew that I really wanted to head up North, but I also really wanted to head down South to Wellington (Peter Jackson LIVES there guys, and it is nicknamed Wellywood!)
In the end I didn’t go to either part of the island, and instead focused on the middle.
Here is my quick North Island of New Zealand Itinerary!
Day 1- Arrive in Auckland.
I have nothing but dislike for this city. I tried to like it, I really did, but we just did not get along. I arrived there in the early evening, and took a bus to my hostel. The problem though? The bus driver didn’t know where my hostel was, so he dropped me off on the road and kept going.
I spent a few hours in the pouring rain walking up and down this steep hill with my backpack, rucksack, laptop bag and purse, asking strangers for help. No one knew where to go.
I finally found a bus driver standing outside his bus smoking. I wandered over to him, sobbing, and asked him for help. He rolled his eyes and led me down a dark alley way. I followed.
Down this dark alleyway was my hostel.
Thank goodness for him, because I never would have gone down there on my own! I’ll tell the whole story in another post soon!
Day 2- I (finally) left Auckland and got to go driving through the country. Everywhere I looked I was more shocked with beauty. I kept wanting to pull over to stare at the farm’s and mountains surrounding me.
This night I drove to Waitomo so that the next morning I could go explore the famous Glow Worm caves!
Day 3- I woke up early and was the first at the Glow Worm caves. Since I was early they asked if I would like a private tour of the Glow Worm caves instead of waiting for my first cave tour (which was the Aranui cave) so I said yes! It was a bit weird being alone underground with a stranger, but it was so cool to see the glow worms.
Photos are not permitted on this tour.
Afterwards I went to the Aranui cave for a tour. I had about an hour to wait so I went for a hike on one of the hiking trails. Of course it was gorgeous, no surprise there!
We saw where the Queen had a shack built for her for her trip there, and then got to explore the caves!
We were allowed to take photos in this cave but it was very hard due to the light. Here is one of the ceiling!
After this tour I drove a few hours to Rotorua, a town famous for the smell of rotten eggs due to the sulfur.
I really wish I had more time in this town.
The first day my hostel mate and I wandered around Kuirau park just across the street where I got incredible photos such as this…
That evening I headed off to a Maori cultural experience. I’m not going to lie, I knew it was a touristy experience but I felt weird being bussed off with loads of other tourists to be “entertained” by the ways of the Maori people.
It was so informative being shown the way their ancestors lived, and eating a Hangi meal was delicious. I just felt weird about it all.
Day 4- This was the time that I nearly missed Hobbiton. I was able to reschedule for the next day so I now had time to wander the town with my hostel mate.
We spent all day walking and then the evening watching Game of Thrones. Getting to relax while traveling is so important because it allows you to recharge a bit.
Afterwards I hurried to get my car from the hostel and drove the two hours or so to Taupo so that way I could take the plunge!
I then had a fun night with some people I met at the hostel and we watched Mr.Bean and Lord of the Rings (very apt considering where we were).
Day 6- This was my last full day in New Zealand. My absolutely incredible hostel mate was moving on so me and another girl took her to the bus stop. Afterwards we walked around in the rain and then found some hot springs that I enjoyed.
We ended up picking up a guy from the hostel and went to a really cool bee and honey shop and then to an earthquake museum!
Before heading back to the hostel we wanted to check out the famous Huka Falls. They did not disappoint! It was so mesmerizing watching the bright blue color and seeing how powerful they were.
Afterwards we picked up pizza for dinner and all of us at the hostel watched the Hangover.
Day 7- Today I had to make the drive back to Auckland and get on a plane back home.
Once again my time in Auckland was horrendous, and while I loved Air New Zealand and will definitely fly with them again, that flight traumatized me a bit. But that is another story.
Have you ever been to New Zealand?
Do you think this itinerary was too fast, or a good pace?