North Island, New Zealand – Hot Springs and Hipsters

We put together a video of our whole NZ adventure. It’s pretty much chronological, if you haven’t seen it, it sums up the whole crazy roadie. Drive a few hours, get blown away by something awesome, sleep in van, repeat!

Top 5 New Zealand Adventures

  1. Take the drive to Milford Sound
  2. Visit a glowworm cave
  3. Visit Queenstown, the adrenaline capital of the world
  4. Spend the day cruising Marlborough wine country
  5. Visit White Island, and hang with an active volcano

North Island Exploits

Exiting the Interislander in Wellington, we drive Rocket onto North Island soil. Thnka to a great tip we got way back in Myanmar,  its WAY cheaper to rent a campa in the South Island and drive it to Auckland. Even paying the ferry fee ~US$175, we saved a thousand bucks renting Rocket in Christchurch and dropping it in Auckland.

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14 days in a van has it’s downside. Showering in communal showers at holiday parks just doesn’t get one clean. 3 – 5 hours a day driving cramps your body up. The cure? Natural hot springs. Waikite was awesome. Beautiful pools, and for US$40 you get a home for Rocket and entrance for both days to the pools. What a refreshing way to wake up.

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Fueled up, we push on toward Waitomo and its famous glowworm caves. What’s a glowworm? It’s a creature that drops a spider web like net that glows in the dark. Bugs from the outside the cave fly towards the light inside and dinner is served.

wp-1453049205781.jpgThis cave is a tourist trap, but very worth going to. It’s jaw dropping to experience the caves.

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Back in the light of day, we head to Whakatane, and white island. Whakatane is famous in the native Maori culture for a story of a woman single handedly saving a boat full of women and children during a storm. This statue stands in her honor at the mouth of the harbor.

wp-1451710244893.jpgWhite Island is just off the coast, and is an active marine volcano.

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For science nerds, its like going to Disney land. We got to, stand on the edge of the crater rim, see a lake that is -2 pH and taste pure sulpher. Plus, on the ride out, we saw dolphins!

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Last day before heading to Auckland, we head to Hot Beach. Hot Beach is just that, a beautiful coastline beach where hot water seeps out via the sand. The process is simple, show up just before low tide, elbow out some space, dig a hole and relax in your own private jacuzzi. Only when we dig our pit and we scald ourselves. Turns out you got to be careful where you dig, some of the water is up to 140 degrees!

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Packing up, it hits us our last day with Rocket has come. One more night in the woods and we’ll have to return him.

wp-1453049254698.jpgWe make our last night count, camping in the bush and hiking to see a grove of massive Kauri trees before starting our drive to Auckland.

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New Zealand has really well maintained hiking trails. Still, it doesn’t make the over 660 steps much easier.

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Saying goodbye to Rocket, we check into our Airbnb for 3 days in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. It was really nice to get out of the van, sleep in a real bed, and shower in a non-communal bathroom. In Auckland we stayed near Ponsonby road, a really cool street filled with hipster shops and restaurants.

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We spent a decent amount of time just chilling, catching up on work while in Auckland. Our highlight activity was our day trip to Waiheke, also known as Wine Island.

wp-1453049171538.jpgOnly a 30 min ferry from downtown, Waiheke is a sweet day trip. A bus circuits the island and drops off at over 15 wineries. Good wines and a great day trip, like going to Sonoma valley, just easier to get to and tour.

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We bought a case of wine to take with us, because next stop is Hawaii for X-mas. Thanks for taking our case of wine home Chris!

 

 

 

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