Travel Diaries: My Top 10 Picks of Fun Activities to do on New Zealand’s North Island
Singapore blogger Jaren Chen took a long trip across beautiful New Zealand. Here he shares his top 10 must-dos of all the amazing things to do in New Zealand. For tips on planning your holiday in New Zealand, check out his previous post here.
1. Ninety Mile Beach
Travel to the tip of the North Island. Join the Cape Reinga Tour for a visit to the Sand Dunes, Kauri Forests and Townships. Light lunch often sandwich is included in most packages. The highlight for me was the Four Wheel Drive along the beach.
Ninety Mile Beach is a long stretch of paradise. We hang on tightly to our seats on this super coach that is able to be driven both on land and in water (!) It was an amazing experience and so much fun! The scary idea of the bus sinking deep into the sea while travelling on the soft sand crept into my mind…but of course, nothing of the sort happened. behind me. Come and experience it yourself!
By the way, we were told by our driver guide that this beach is officially a highway. It is only suitable for 4WD vehicles and is only safe to drive at specific times of the tides.
2. Sand Toboggan @ North Bay
Besides the 4WD, we did Sand Toboggan during this trip. It was just plain fun.
The hike up the sand dune was very tiring and I thought of giving it up mid-way into my 5 minutes hike. But it was completely worth it once I experienced the thrill of sliding down the soft sand bed at an incredible speed. The only brake I had was my 2 legs. So I just embraced the excitement of sliding at those speeds. No regrets!
3. Catch the Glowworms at Waitomo Caves
A network of underground limestone caves with visitors catching the boat ride to experience the glowworms deep inside the black caves.
You may have heard of white water rafting, but what about black river rafting? Basically, in Waitomo region, there are places where one can sit on a rubber tube and raft inside the waters of the deep dark caves. We signed up for this in Waitomo after seeing the glowworms.
Be ready to get wet in this mysterious yet fun way of exploring the caves. I suffered minor cuts in the dark caves. However, it was all worth it. No pain no gain!
4. Hobbiton Village
Just an hour away from Waitomo Caves, we arrived into Matamata town. This town had achieved fame for the Hobbiton village built on nearby farm for filming Lord of the Rings movie. This is absolutely a must if you are a diehard Lord of the Rings fan.
I was not a true fan of this movie but the scenery absolutely makes up for it. Imagining myself as a hobbit with the remarkable setting, I had the fun of rolling myself down the hill. Simply so much fun & laughter along the way!
5. The Agrodome and Agroventures
Just 10km away from Rotorua Town lies The Agrodome and Aroventures. Here, we witnessed the interesting show of sheep shearing. We learnt so much on the farmers’ way of life back in New Zealand within an hour. As you might be keen to note the show timing that is happening only 3 times daily: 9.30am, 11am, 2.30pm.
6. Zorbing @ Rotorua
Less than 5 minutes drive from the sheep Agrodome, I got the opportunity to try out Zorbing! I was placed in this gigantic plastic ball and the next thing I knew; it was a plain crazy roller coaster ride down the hill. This is truly an incredible experience!
There are 2 options to choose from which is either the Wet or Dry. Be warned: Dry is the scarier option!
7. Experience Maori Culture
In Rotorua, it is also a showcase of Maori culture where one can catch the Maori performance and taste the “Hangi” Dinner. I recommend staying here for at least one night before moving to your next stop. By staying in overnight, we got to experience the amazing shows.
I’m still dreaming of the lamb meat cooked in the traditional way.
8. Visit Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland
This region is a geothermal wonderland of mud pools and geysers. The geyser shoots water and steam up to 21m into the air at 10.15am daily. I’d never seen anything like it before, I was indeed fascinated by this sight!
The most popular attraction would be the Champagne pool with its coloured petrified edge and its boiling mud pools. Walking around this geothermal area takes 30-75 minutes.
9. Visit Lake Taupo
With its stunning scenery, visiting Lake Taupo is a must for a memorable road trip. Lake Taupo is about the size of Singapore. Thus, you can imagine how big this fresh lake is. There are plenty of fishing lodges abound, and the local streams are usually dotted with anglers standing thigh-deep in the water!
We opt to rent a boat out to the middle of the lake and our fishing adventure begins. Within an hour, we caught total of 4 salmons but had to let go of 1 as the size was deemed too small for consumption. The next thing we did was to have salmon sashimi, tasting every bit of the freshness!
And guess what, one can do the Kiwis favourite outdoor adventure: Bungy jump! Taupo Bungy allows one to leap from 47 meters above crystals water of Wakiato River.
Saving tip: jump before 11am to enjoy discount.
I did my virgin bungy jump at this site here and I’m totally proud of it.
I recommend taking up this activity only after you have made a firm decision. The reason being that one could not back out after paying. So either you jump or you forfeit the money.
10. Huka Falls
Huka Falls is located in Wairakei Park. This is only a short 5 minute drive north of Lake Taupo. Or you can choose the 30 minute riverside walk as a way to get to the several viewing platforms that are available. This falls is spectular with its huge volume of water flowing through at any time of the day!
Image Credits: Author’s Own
About the Author: Jaren Chen
Jaren Chen is a travel enthusiast who seeks adventure travel and aspires to visit exotic countries. The world is simply so big out there, with so much to discover and learn from each other’s way of living. Join me at www.theguytravel.com as we discover general travel tips and travel stories from around the world.