I recently travelled to the North Island in New Zealand during the mid-year break. Over 8 days, my friend and I keenly explored Rotorua, Lake Taupo and Auckland where we journeyed to many beaches, went on hikes and ate fish and chips. Here’s my list of the top 5 unique things that I experienced in New Zealand:
This beautiful, calm seaside village was one of my favourite places in Auckland, New Zealand. There are various mountains to explore and beaches where you can collect seashells and also take great snaps of the volcanic remains. I suggest going for walks to Takapuna to a place called North Head and also Mount Victoria to see the beautiful panoramic views of the village and the surrounding islands. Devonport is also home to boutique shops filled with one-of-a-kind finds, bakeries and also cafés/restaurants.
- Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo is a great town for shopping, spas and hikes/walks by the lake. As this town is renowned for some of its healing hot thermal pools, we decided to have a relaxing spa day at Wairakei Terraces. There were 4 thermal pools- all of differing temperatures to try out. I highly recommend trying out some spas in Lake Taupo, visiting Huka Falls and going on a walk alongside the swans on the lake.
- Waimangu Volcanic Valley walk
With its stunning natural landscapes and volcanic crater lakes, this walk in Rotorua was a lovely destination to witness New Zealand’s unique ecology and geothermal features. You can choose between a 45 min or 2 hour self-guided walk where you are given a map with options to explore such as alternative hiking tracks for those wanting a challenge.
- Mission Bay Beach
Mission Bay Beach was a short bus ride away from Britomart, Auckland. One thing I’d suggest is to remember to bring your student ID. We ended up saving money on transport upon showing our student ID to the bus driver. This beautiful, little bay is filled with fish and chip eateries and ice-cream stores like Movenpick. It’s a great destination stop for some relaxing down-time and a perfect place to swim in during the summer.
- Occidental Hotel- Mussels!!
This Belgian bier café serves a variety of mouthwatering pots of steamed and grilled mussels. From its interesting seasonal items on the menu such as raspberry and pineapple mussels to its plentiful supply of beer on tap – this popular Auckland foodie destination surely didn’t disappoint. We ended up each eating 1kg of steamed mussels covered in lobster bisque and brandy with a side of chips and aioli. I greatly recommend this place as the mussels are extremely fresh and it has a lovely, warm atmosphere, quite reminiscent to Sydney bars in The Rocks.