And so it begins…! The great tour of New Zealand is underway. As I was sitting on a plane from HKG to AKL and realized I hadn’t told you too much about what we have lined up yet. Plenty of adventures in store for us. First of all, who is us?
Introducing my fabulous travel buddy Meagaan Irish
Meagaan hails from Portland, ME. Not only is she a surfer girl extraordinaire, she is also a master of all things photography and design and will be snapping many a snazzy picture on our journey. Meagaan and I met in New Zealand a couple of years ago, when we WWOOFed together on an organic farm. We bonded over weeding, fruit picking and installing huge water tanks in the backyard.
Our itinerary and travel partners
I am also proud to announce our travel partners in New Zealand, who kindly contributed these amazing activities, adventures and experiences as part of this Blog4NZ fundraising trip.
Tourism New Zealand kindly provided us with a media pass, inviting us to participate in even more activities. We will be resting our heads at YHA New Zealand, Nomads and BBH accommodation throughout the country, and Europcar, InterIslander and Jucy Rentals are making sure we get from A to B.
Two challenges await in Auckland – both of which I am really not comfortable with at all. Usually it is more than enough for me to just take an elevator up a really tall building, like the Auckland Sky Tower. But guess what, you have the option of jumping off it in a controlled base jump (192m). It’s called the SkyJump. The activity we are lined up for though is the SkyWalk, which is giving me sweaty palms just thinking about it. Strapped into a harness you walk around the tower in 192m height, on the outside of the building, with no railing.
Auckland also has some water terrors in store for us. Kelly Tarlton’s want to put us in a cage and throw us to the sharks. Check back to see how that one pans out!
We’ll be really busy in Rotorua. Being a major tourist destination, this town on the North Island has a lot to offer in terms of activities.
Kaitiaki Adventures thought we could do with a bit of adrenaline and will send us down grade 5 rapids – with and without a raft (the latter is called sledging). I am not quite sure yet which one is worse, but a racing pulse is guaranteed nonetheless. The only water-based sports I have ever done, apart from swimming and trying surfing, is canoeing on a calm lake in beautiful Whistler. I guess this one will be a bit less tame.
I am looking forward to one thing in particular, that I have not managed to do in my previous visits to New Zealand – learn about Maori culture and history. Whakarewarewa and Tamaki Maori villages have invited us, and we will also visit Te Puia to learn more about Maori arts, crafts and culture.
Another New Zealand adventure sport craze, Zorbing, comes in the form of a giant hamster ball. Strapped into the middle of a transparent inflatable orb, the Zorber is pushed down one of four courses on a hill. If you wanted to spice this up a bit more, you could go without the harness and add water to the inside, making your Zorb like your own personal water slide.
You know what it takes for me to do the water option, right?
Just outside Taupo lie the famous Huka Falls. Being New Zealand, it isn’t really surprising that just visiting the waterfall alone is not enough – why do that when you can get there on a speedboat! I have never been on a speedboat, so our tour with Huka Falls Jet will be an interesting experience. I’m excited already!
Tongariro National Park
Another one I have been lusting after for a while now. New Zealand’s best one-day hike, as it’s billed, the Tongariro Crossing, is a popular way of spending some quality time in Mordor. In August, the mountain erupted and destroyed part of the walkways of the route, so it is likely we will not be able to do the full trek. But we’ll take what we can!
Of course we are stopping over in the world’s coolest little capital. How could you not, in a place that brought forth the Wellington Ukulele Orchestra, and lovingly calls its Parliament the Beehive? The country’s national museum, Te Papa, is located in Wellington, and we will pay it a visit.
I am excited to visit Christchurch again. The last time I was there was pre-earthquake. I have a vague idea of what we might expect, although being there in person and seeing the destruction – and rebuilding – will be a very sobering experience.
Wanaka is still pretty much unexplored territory for both Meagaan and I, so we’ll have a look at what we should get up to there. Any suggestions?
Well. Queenstown is a favorite of mine, I have to say. Not just Moke Lake, or Lake Wakatipu, It’s got great sushi, nice gardens, an active (albeit touristy) vibe and Arrowtown is right next door. We’ll visit the old gold mining town, have some ice cream, go to the peak and bungy from there with those glorious views over the lake and the Remarkables. We might also cram in a trip to beautiful, stunning Milford Sound! And a wine tour. Yes, most definitely, a wine tour. Bike rental anyone?