New Zealand Holiday in Review - January 2016

6:30 AM

I will admit that even though I love to travel, and New Zealand is our close neighbour (its closer to fly there from the Australian East Coast than to the other side of Australia), and one of our closest overseas destinations, it was never on my list of places to go. I just didn't find it appealing. I didn't think I would get the history and culture of other places in the world (which are also more expensive to get to and a lot further away) or the spectacular scenery or beautiful beaches. I figured it would be a good place to travel with young kids and tour in a motor home, to give them a stamp in their passport. My hubby on the other hand has wanted to go there for a long time.

I can now say that after a 9 day family holiday, I was wrong!

There were so many more things to do and see there than I ever thought. And being a smaller island, it really did take long to drive from one side to the other.

We did only visit the North Island this time, basing ourselves in a beach town called Port Ohope, which is a short 10 minute drive over the hill from Whakatane, the closest larger town base.

From here, Rotorua was about a 1 hour drive, Lake Taupo 2 hours and Auckland 3 hours. The scenery is beautiful, and the roads in good condition, so the drives weren't bad, but a bit windy in places (travel sickness sufferers be warned).

Here are the things we did and places we visited (some of which I will have separate posts coming up on):
The Rotorua Museum and Bathhouse
Rainbow Springs
Skyline Gondola and Luge
Lake Taupo - Earnest Kemp replica steamboat
Taupo Bungee

Waiotapu Geothermal Wonderland
White Island (Active Volcano)
Hobbiton Movie Set

Yes, Rotorua stinks like rotten egg in places, but don't judge the whole town on that alone. If you can get through it, you will find some wonderful things. TIP: If you are driving through town, put your car on air recycle rather than drawing from the outside and you should be fine.

Taupo is somewhere we will be back to. It is a thriving town and had access to both summer and winter activities, such as mountain biking and skiing.

If you are even a little bit interested in how alive our earth is under our feet, this is the area you want to visit. To have access to directly stand on an active volcano 50km out to sea, see bubbling mud baths and feel the heat of steam and see the sulphur coming directly from the earth, this is the place for you as you can do it all.

As you can see, I am enthusiastic about getting back there and seeing more of the beautiful countryside that this neighbour has to offer.

If you have any questions about our adventures, please leave them in the comments below and I will be happy to answer what I can from our experiences.

I hope you can join me again for a closer look at some of these places we went to.

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  1. It looks truly beautiful and amazing there and I would go given the chance but I am not sure my little one would hold out the flight from Europe. What would you say is the best things to do with kids there and would you recommend a place to stay that is reasonable and easy for toddlers?

  2. Hi Abraham,
    Thanks for calling past my blog.
    It certainly is exiting traveling with little ones, but do know that a flight from Europe to NZ is a long way to go. I can promise you it is worth it though.
    We had a toddler with us who was more than happy to tag along to just about everywhere we went. Most places accommodate young children and are pram friendly. In terms of activities aimed at young children, we didn't do many. Although visiting Rainbow Springs and the Agrodome were appealing due to the animals. There are plenty of beaches and parks for kids to run at all of the towns we visited.
    Most places to stay would be accommodating to toddlers, but if you are looking to save a bit of money, and have access to things like a kitchen for breakfasts and other food prep, I can highly recommend AirBnB after a recent trip to Hawaii. There are also companies that hire prams etc there so that you don't have to lug them while travelling.
    I hope this has helped a little.


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