New Zealand – North Island
I just returned from a week exploring the Maori Culture on the North Island of New Zealand, as well as wine, olive oil, food, beaches, adventure and more. We took a wine/olive oil tour of Waihiki Island, only a half hour ferry ride from Auckland. There are many wineries to explore and sample on the island. It is best to take a tour to the different wineries so that you can sample the different wines that they offer. We had an excellent meal at the Mudbrick Winery with fabulous views of Auckland in the distance. Auckland itself offers many museums, shopping opportunities as well as wine and food. You can get a bird’s eye view from the Sky Tower and even bungee jump from the top for a real adrenaline rush.
The Bay of Islands to the north of Auckland provides rugged coastline, many beaches and sand dune surfing. Our tour took us to Cape Reinga to see the lighthouse, an opportunity to surf the sand dunes and then take a drive on the 90 mile beach. This is a more wild rugged area to explore. We were then on to Rotorua where they have sulphur pools, geysers and mud pools. This is a very nice city and easy to get around. All of these areas offer opportunities to spend time learning more about the Maori by going to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and the Tamaki Maori Village. There is so much to learn about the hangi, the hongi, the haka and other traditions of the Maoris.
We also were able to see the glow worm cave in Waitomo, the Hobbiton Movie Set and the Agridome where you can watch sheep shearing and working sheep dogs. The Bush and Beach Tour company offers tours out of Auckland to visit many destinations which you can use for pre and post clients to Auckland.
New Zealand is really a must see for everyone. You can find something for everyone to enjoy between the North Island for more culture and the South Island for adventure. Would I go back – absolutely! There is still a lot to explore. Ask me about the opportunities of travel to New Zealand.