The Ultimate New Zealand Adventure Itinerary

For our next instalment of our Ultimate Itinerary Series, we thought we would put together all of the best adventure activities that this beaautiful country has to offer! After all, New Zealand is an adventurer’s playground that can be consumed quite comfortably in 14 day, 14-night itinerary. This itinerary doesn’t include every region in NZ as you would certainly need longer than 14 days but this route does include the best award-winning adventure activities that we think you should not miss!

Queenstown is often referred to NZ’s adventure capital so with no time to spare this is where you should start! After an adrenaline filled couple of days in Queenstown we suggest you embark on a road trip of a lifetime in a campervan or a hire car concluding your journey in Auckland.

Not feeling so adventurous? If you would like some other itinerary ideas we got you covered – check out our 10 North Island Itinerary, our 10 South Island Itinerary. And our incredible See It All in 30 days itinerary.

Top Tip: If you want more information on each particular region/destination that we mention then do click on the hyperlinks within this article as it will link you through to our much more in-depth articles on that particular region/destination.

Please Note: All views are our own, this is not a sponsored post and as we have done the majority of these activities that is why we can confidently recommend the suppliers and the activities to you!

The Route:

Queenstown to nelson Goingnz

rotoruatoauckland goingnz

 

Highlights of this itinerary include:

  • Bungy jumping the world’s first commercial bungee jump over the Kawarau River with AJ Hackett in Queenstown;
  • White Water Rafting on the Shotover River;
  • Kayak and explore the Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park at sunset;
  • Heli Hiking the Franz Josef glacier;
  • Kayak and hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park;
  • Get off-road in Rotorua
  • Embrace your fears – skydiving in Taupo!
  • Canyoning in the Coromandel perhaps the most challenging adventure of your trip!
  • Black Water Rafting in NZ’s cave country, Waitomo.

The Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive at Queenstown, go Bungee jumping!

Most international flights will arrive in Auckland if you have an early morning arrival we suggest flying straight down to Queenstown upon arrival and transfer to your accommodation of your choice for a two-night stay. You really wouldn’t require a car for your time in Queenstown as the town is so compact and most of the activity providers will offer free transfers to the place where the activity actually is based.

In the afternoon, we suggest you hit the ground jumping, quite literally! With a bungee jump at the Kawarau Bridge courtesy of AJ Hackett. Transfers will be organised from Queenstown.

bungee jump Goingnz
Fancy dipping your head in that?!

Day 2: Explore the best of the best in Queenstown:

In the morning, we guarantee you will be thankful for a lie in, the jet lag may have caught up with you! If you are still feeling adventuress you could try your hand at the new crazes- Flyboarding or even White Water Sledging! Or how about something a bit more romantic? A Hot Air Balloon ride over the Otago region with champagne breakfast included.

No trip to Queenstown is complete without a trip out to the Shotover River. The jet boating excursion here is really popular but we loved getting soaked whilst White Water Rafting the Shotover River. Or for the real daredevils they even off a Heli Rafting option!

Queenstown Going NZ
Your options are truly endless in Queenstown

Day 3: Travel to Te Anau, Explore Milford:

On this day pick up your campervan/ hire car and travel to Milford Sound (4-hour drive) for an overnight stay in the Fiordland National Park. In the afternoon Explore Milford Sound with a difference. A sunset kayak and Rosco’s Milford Kayak on the Milford Sound, this is the best way of avoiding the crowds and see the sound at its best. Return to Te Anau for an overnight stay to break up your drive to Wanaka the following day,

picture of milford sound, new zealand
Milford sound awaits

Day 4: Stunning Wanaka:

Wanaka is often now given enough credit than its neighbour, Queenstown. However, there is still plenty of adventurous activities in this small lakeside town to make your overnight stay worthwhile. Something really fun and different would be the U Flying activity that Wanaka offers. It’s a chance to see Mt Aspiring in a unique and different way, whilst flying your own plane J

Day 5: Travel to Franz Josef Glacier – Road Trip!

Now the real fun begins…Road Trip! An early start to travel to Haast Pass all the way to Franz Josef Glacier (4-hour drive tops). In the afternoon embark on a helicopter trip of a lifetime. Heli Hike the Franz Josef glacier – finishing in their hot pools (which is included in the package) to wind down after an exhilarating day.

dawn and isaac franz
Exploring the Glaciers is a must.

Day 6: Explore Punakaiki

Travel to Punakaiki (3-hour drive) to explore the west coast and world famous Pancake Rocks. Maybe even explore the tremendous caves that Punakaiki has to offer.  Or for something a little bit different we recommend a two-hour horse trek along the beach.

Pancake Rocks Going NZ
The West Coast is not to be missed.

Day 7: Fall in love with The Abel Tasman National Park.

Travel to Abel Tasman National Park (3-hour drive), ditch the car/campervan and explore the Abel Tasman the right way. There are overnight kayaking and walking trips you can do in this beautifully stunning national park. We suggest staying overnight in Kaiteriteri ready for an early start in the morning.

Day 8 & 9: Get off the beaten track in the Abel Tasman National Park

Wilson’s offer overnight kayaking and walking trips within the park itself, with all transfer at each end so you won’t have to worry about a thing. They also have access to the most beautiful lodges if you want your stay to be extra special. If you don’t mind a bit of camping then we recommend Abel Tasman Kayaks as they offer overnight walking, kayaking and camping trips within the park. They even supply all the equipment, all you have to do is bring your own food!

Kayaking Abel Tasman GoingNZ
A Kayak trip through Abel Tasman National Park is a must.

Day 10: Travel to Rotorua

Return your Campervan or hire car at Nelson Airport and to save time we suggest flying to Rotorua (via Wellington). Pick up a small hire car in Rotorua and discover the incredible geothermal activity that the region has to offer. Rotorua is the North Island answer to Queenstown, with a list of adventure activities as long as my arm! Off Road NZ have to offer the best 4WD adventure in the North Island, you even get to drive the car, it’s pretty fun! We also suggest getting off the beaten track and discovering the geothermal hot spots at these free locations around the city!

 

 

Off Road NZ
Get off the beaten path with Off Road NZ

Off roading isn’t for everyone, if you’d prefer to go mountain biking for the day Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Red Woods Mountain Bike Park has New Zealand’s finest mountain biking.

Day 11: Get Crazy in Taupo.

Time to get crazy…Sky Dive in Taupo (1-hour drive from Rotorua) the cheapest place in the world to sky drive. Your choice of options, 12,000ft or 15,000 ft., video and photo packages also available. It is pretty epic!

skydive goingnz
Us, just before we took the leap of faith.

Day 12: Visit the Coromandel Peninsula

Travel to the Coromandel Region (3.5-hour drive) – brace yourself for the best canyoning adventure in NZ around. The Sleeping God canyon tour is a vertical descent of over 300 metres, abseil, and jump and challenge yourself! You will have to leave Rotorua for this excursion as it is an all-day activity but it is certainly worth it!

Day 13: Travel to Waitomo

Travel to Waitomo, cave country to try your hand at Black Water Rafting, caving with a difference! You will tube through the majestic Ruakuri Cave and float underground in the river in rubber tubes, through in a few waterfalls and drops and it can get pretty exciting!

Day 14: Discover Auckland

End your vacation the exact way you started it – with a jump. Embark on the Sky Jump and Sky Walk of Auckland Sky tower – Goodbye New Zealand – hello memories!

sky tower goingnz
A Must Do: Aucklands’s Sky Jump

Please make sure you send us a postcard along the way!

5 New Zealand Destinations that should be on every persons bucket list

New Zealand has long been a destination upon the bucket lists of travelers from across the globe, with its prevalent heritage making for a country of cultural wonder. There is so much to see and do in this pint-sized country, here are 5 New Zealand destinations you should visit and consider for your trip of a lifetime to NZ!

 1) Doubtful Sound

 

The lesser-known big sister to Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, is practically a stone’s throw away yet goes largely unnoticed. It’s a shame, really ­– with a surface area ten times larger than the aforementioned Milford, it’s here you really want to go if you’re looking to escape from the world.

As mentioned, Doubtful Sound is missed by many travellers who pass it by without a second thought, meaning you’ll be free to explore this undisturbed natural paradise to your heart’s content. Cascading waterfalls drop from dramatic mountain faces, while the waters lay quiet and still. Cruise upon said waters to take in the surrounding scenery right in the heart of it all.

If you’re visiting Fiordland, make sure Doubtful Sound makes its way onto your itinerary. It isn’t something you should miss – never in your lifetime will you be able to discover such a majestic example of natural grandeur, made even better by the total absence of any other human throughout.

 

2) Rotorua

 Visit Rotorua if you want to discover the cultural hub of New Zealand. Maori culture is prevalent in Rotorua, as highlighted by our friends from this blog, and the welcoming locals will be sure to put on a show. Take a guided tour of one of Rotorua’s many villages and be greeted by the Maori people, gaining an insight into their day-to-day routines as well as watching chants and dances.

The geothermal activity in Rotorua is also something that has to be seen to be believed. Natural hot springs and geysers are wondrous enough but it’s made even better by hot baths you’re able to immerse yourself in – not to mention the health benefits and opportunities for relaxation, what with the natural spa-like qualities of the waters.

 

Rotorua 

3) Great Barrier Island

 

Being so close to Auckland, it seems almost impossible for Great Barrier Island to be as untouched as it is. In fact, it’s so off-the-grid that it boasts being home to the only community in the entirety of New Zealand without mains power. Instead, the residents of the island rely solely on solar and wind power. This stunning island is truly still on our Bucket List, hence why it is still worth a mention and we encourage you all to beat us too it!

It’s already pretty clear Great Barrier Island is the perfect destination for the traveler looking to escape for a while, but there’s so much to do here regardless of what you’re looking for. If you’re an avid hiker, for example, the rolling hills are home to countless tracks and trails to explore.

Great Barrier Island is also home to a diverse underwater community – you’ll be able to see everything from blue cod to snapper fish in abundance. If you a big fan of fishing consider sticking around for the Black Jug Fishing Competition, drawing in fishermen from nationwide each and every year.

4) Dunedin

 

It has to be said that Dunedin isn’t exactly a secret destination in New Zealand, but many travelers don’t bother to explore it simply as it is too far south. This effectively means a very authentic look into a relatively large Kiwi city awaits – there’s even a university here, meaning the influx of students has given way to a recent surge in hipster culture.

One interesting thing to witness in Dunedin is a prevalent Scottish influence, with the city’s history deeply rooted in Scottish Gaelic history – that’s after the first European settlers in the city during the 19th century were Scotsmen. Known as the “Edinburgh of the South”, expect to try a spot of haggis during your stay.

It’s also the perfect destination for the avid party-goer – as mentioned, the hundreds of students frequenting the city for years has made an impact on the local bar scene, with an energetic nightlife beckoning for you to come and let your hair down.

 

dunedin goingnz
The worlds steepest hill, worth the walk!

5) Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers

 

Head to New Zealand’s Glacier Country to discover some of, if not the country’s most beautiful natural sites. This should simply be on everyone’s bucket list as they won’t be here for long, global warming is affecting the glaciers and they are eroding at an epic rate.

Franz Josef is the more frequently visited glacier – and for good reason. Being the fourth-largest glacier in the country, you’ll be overcome with awe as it comes into view. Being steeper than the aforementioned Fox glacier, the face of Franz Josef is effectively more dramatic – expect to see ice caves and crevasses, with the infamous “blue ice” making for an almost unbelievable photograph.

The township isn’t so bad either, head there to discover a selection of authentic bars and restaurants, where you’ll be able to sample some of the most delectable examples of Kiwi cuisine. It’s here that you’ll also be able to soak in the renowned glacier hot pools after a long, exhausting day of exploring.

franz josef glacier goingnz 

Do you have a kiwi location still on your bucket list and you want others to see it for themselves? Suggest your destination in the comments below 🙂

Things to do in Rotorua: 7 Rotorua activities not to be missed

Rotorua in our opinion is giving Queenstown a run for its money! Rotorua has become the North Island’s top destination for adrenaline, thrill seeking, adventurous individuals something  that New Zealand is famously renowned for. This winter we had a weekend in Rotorua with time to kill put together a list of top activities and cool things to do in Rotorua over a weekend or 2-3 day period.

Visiting Rotorua is a New Zealand must do, but be warned it stinks of eggs 😛

Check out our little video we put together of our time in Rotorua!

Day One:

Morning:

Te Puia – New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute:

What attracts people to Rotorua it’s vast array of geysers, craters and volcanic activity that the city has the city itself is often described as a geothermal wonderland. Depending on what time you arrive we suggest your first stop should be a visit to Te Puia, you can truly and quickly get a sense of what Rotorua is all about. In your ticket entry, you can learn about Maori culture, see a Haka performance in an authentic marae, see craters up close, view a kiwi, try your hand at arts and crafts and also watch the famous Pohutu geyser erupt every 20 minutes without fail.

Te Puia

What we loved: Sure, Rotorua has a lot of geothermal centres to visit but this one has everything you would need for all ages, it’s great for kids, wheelchair users and couples. The facilities are top of the range and that is what puts it a level above the rest.

Top Tip: Beat the crowds, go early. We were off for a coffee and a bagel at Ciabatta Bakery by 11:30am – refuelling for an afternoon with Off Road NZ!

Cost: Day passes starts at $46.80 for an adult and $23.40 for a child.

 

Afternoon:

Off Road NZ:

An afternoon of adventure was then upon us! We had never been off roading before and we didn’t quite know what to expect. Ian and his wife are originally from England and moved here in 2002, they brought the already established business and built it into something extra special!

Here you can go karting, have a thrilling ride on their 4×4 Monster truck and embark on a self-driving 4WD Bush Safari adventure all on the grounds of the farm. They also offer corporate trade events – clay bird shooting, team building challenges, archery and camping. You could easily spend a day here doing all the different activities they have to offer. Plus it is just that far out of Rotorua (but not too far!) that you really get to enjoy the countryside of NZ. They truly do have a stunning setting!

Off Road NZ

What we loved: The team at Off Road NZ are exceptional. You can see they love what they do, they are professional, calm (when you may not be!) and are safety conscious. 4WD Bush Safari is by far their best product, it is thrilling seeking at it’s best!

Top Tip: If you have a bad weather day don’t be put off by the rain, it adds to the adventure!

Cost: The Ultimatum package (all 3) $209 per adult & $109 for a child. There are cheaper packages available for the more budget-conscious travellers but we recommend all three of their activities as this really is a place you don’t want to leave in a hurry!

Evening:

Mitai Maori Village:

A must for any visitor to New Zealand is to experience and learn about the Maori culture. The best way to do this is by partaking in an evening cultural show in Rotorua. Mitai Maori village offers learning in a fun and interactive way that is fun for all the family. First, you enjoy a welcoming drink as you get to know the people around you. After a brief introduction of how the evening is going to flow you go on an exploration of the grounds, see a Waka (war canoe) sail down the river, witness the rising of the food from the Hangi and watch a cultural performance. After your meal, you then get a chance to go out again and view glow worms. It really is an evening that is full of variety.

Mitai Maori Village

What we loved: Seeing the tribe sail down the river on a Waka as the sun is just going down is pretty special. As you travel around NZ you will see many a display Waka’s so seeing one in action really steps you back in time. The food was incredible too!

Top Tip: Eat a little snack before you go, we arrived at 5:30pm and after all the activities didn’t eat until just before 7:30pm – we were starving! We probably enjoyed the meal even more so but a small snack at 5pm would be a great idea to tide you over!

Cost: $116 per adult & $57.50 for a child (aged 10- 15 years) & $22.50 for child 5-9 years of age. Under 5’s are free.


Kiwi Kai:

Top Tip:

This is our top tip for the evening if you are a more budget conscious traveller but still want to experience authentic Maori hangi. Kiwi Kai on Amohau St in central Rotorua, is locally owned and you will often find the owner working behind the counter as well. Their Hangi’s are available to takeaway or eat in. Served in a large tin foil takeaway tray to keep hot the portions are enough to feed the whole family! We spent $27 on two Hangi’s, (one pork & one lamb) – and some fried bread (Trust me you will love fried bread) We even had enough for lunch the next day!


 

Day Two:

Morning:

Canopy Tours:

On Day two we were up early to seize the day and try our hand at ziplining! Canopy Tours offers 3 hours of “hanging from the trees” fun for all the family. They have six zipline’s in total and with their small groups it means you aren’t waiting long for your next go. Even when you are waiting there is good conversation to be had and a view of the tree tops which is just spectacular.

Canopy Tour Rotorua

What we loved: What we loved the most about this was the fact that the tour actually runs a conservation project to protect the native plants and birds that live in the forest and with your contribution to the tour (your tour fee) you are. You learn about this along the adventure, it was actually something unexpected that we didn’t know about until we arrived. It just makes it that much more special!

Top Tip: Take a snack bar and if you can a small carton of juice, the team at Canopy Tours are very environmentally conscious (as they should be) and wouldn’t let us take our large water bottle with us. Safe to say half way through with all the adrenaline kicking through me I was feeling a little withdrawn.

Cost: $139 per adult & $95 per child.

 

Afternoon:

Mountain Biking the Redwoods:

When you meet any local in Rotorua they will tell you to visit the Redwoods forest and we guarantee you they will be avid mountain bikers, almost everyone in Rotorua is. The Redwoods is worth exploring even if you don’t mountain bike there are walks from 15 minutes to 3 hours, but mountain biking is really the best way to explore the forest, their tracks are internationally known and possibly even better than Queenstown tracks! (Yes I said it!)

Mountain Bike Redwoods Rotorua

What we loved: The Redwoods are only 2km outside the city centre so you don’t have to go far to reach this beautiful spot. You really don’t feel like your in a city when you are here and everyone you bump into is so happy and relaxed, there something special about a place when you know a local visit’s the place all the time. Then you know it is good!

Top Tip: Take a photo of the map, you will get lost! Ask a local about what tracks are best and stalk them if needed! Also park away from the visitor centre all the best tracks start further down the road Long Mile Road – the hill to climb isn’t that big – honest!

Cost: Mountain biking is a free thing to do in Rotorua if you bring your own bike. You can hire a bike at Mountain Bike Rotorua (who also offer guided tours of the tracks) for $60 for 2 hours or $90 for half day/4 hours.

 

Evening:

Rotorua’s Skyline & Gondola & Meal.

Built high above Rotorua is Rotorua’s top activity park. The Gondola is safe & fun for all the family, the view of the lake is incredible. There is so much to do up here you may need to arrive little earlier to explore the nature trails, the Luge rides, do a spot of wine tasting at volcanic hills (more on that below!) it is like a mini theme park on a hill! The meal is a buffet, don’t be put off the food is incredible!

Rotorua Sky Line

What we loved: The variety of food is outstanding! Seafood, fish, steak, salads, local vegetables, and the most amazing variety of desserts you will ever come across. Basically if you fancy it they will have it!

Top Tip: Arrive early, go hungry! Queues for the Gondola at the bottom can be quite lengthy (those who already have tickets have to queue with everyone else) which can cause delays getting to the top. We recommend coming an hour and half before your dinner, allowing time in the queue and few go’s on each of the Luge tracks to build up your appetite!

Cost: Gondola & Dinner packages are the most reasonable starting at $65 pp ($39 for a child)

 


 

Volcanic Hills:

Top Tip:

For those want to go up the Gondola but don’t fancy a sit-down meal or for those who have already eaten then we suggest a pit stop at Volcanic Hills, located behind the gift shop at the top of the Gondola be sure not to miss it this is the true hidden gem of Rotorua. This truly was for us the highlight of our weekend. Owned by Sean & Jo Beer (no beer here!) you can buy 5 wine tastings for $14 each with a difference.

When we have visited wineries in the past you purchase the wine tastings and get given a card with all the information of the wines you are trying, you may if you’re lucky get a brief introduction into the wine you are drinking. At Volcanic Hill’s Sean and his team take the time to sit with you, talk to you about the wine he is serving you. One at a time. There is no rushing here, one by one the wines come out along with some really great conversation. Expect to leave hours later feeling relaxed, and maybe a little tipsy! And you have just made a friend.

Sean’s approach to customer service and how he treats you is something very rare and this is why it is a hidden gem for Rotorua, you are truly missing out if you don’t make time for this!

 


Day Three:

Morning:

Wet n Wild, White Water Rafting:

Who doesn’t want to go home on a high? This is one of the coolest things to do in Rotorua if you have time before hitting the road we recommend white water rafting with Wet n Wild. The Kaituna river is Rotorua’s best white water rapid offering and it doesn’t disappoint as it is also home to the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall.The 45 minute trip gave Isaac (myself a little too scared of water!) a thrilling experience!

Kaituna rafting

What we loved: The rafting with Wet n Wild was awesome, the adrenaline was going all the time especially over the drops – will I fall out? Pete and the team we’re entertaining and made the whole experience fun and personal. This activity was a great bonding experience too as teamwork was required to keep the boat from smashing into walls, trees and capsizing!

Top Tip: Go to the toilet before hand, at times it’s pretty intense – don’t be that guy who shits his pants.

Cost: A very reasonable $99 for rafting on the Kaituna, Wet n Wild also offer rafting trips on other rivers in the area.

 

If you want to read more about travelling in NZ do check out our Travel Map, there are some more articles on tips on travel in Rotorua and also itinerary ideas to ensure you get the most out of your time in NZ. And why not, you only live once!

 

 

Rotorua’s Best Free Geothermal Spots

Mud Pools of Rotorua
Mud Pools of Rotorua

Rotorua is New Zealand’s hot spot when it comes to geothermal activity (pun intended!) and people flock from near and far to enjoy its hot springs and bubbling beauty.

Situated on the North Island, Rotorua is a town set on its namesake lake and is well-known for being a cultural centre for the indigenous Māori people. The heart of this cultural centre, Te Puia, is situated in the Whakarewarewa valley and features geysers and thermal mud pools, created by the area’s natural geothermal activity. (The Pohutu geyser erupts many times each day.)

This town is also home to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, which is a must-see for visitors who want to learn about the history behind the stunning artwork and pieces created by the Māori people.

When it comes to experiencing the geothermal activity, many people pay to visit the well-known attraction that is Wai-O-Tapu: an enclosed park containing different sites of volcanic action. Here you can see features such as the Lady Knox Geyser, Champagne Pool and Artist’s Palette – read more about our day trip here.

What people don’t realise, however, is that you don’t have to spend money to witness the geothermal activity as it’s quite literally all around you in this part of the country! Here’s a selection of spots that we highly recommend visiting and, what’s more, are completely FREE!

Kerosene Creek

Approx 12kms from Wai-O-Tapu you can find Kerosene Creek, a hot pool surrounded by stunning scenery of lush, native bush. This site is free and very few people are aware of it, which makes for an authentic geothermal experience to say the least! Hot water from the natural spring meets the cold water of the creek, resulting in pleasantly warm water and perfect bathing conditions. Here you can relax to the sound of the 2m waterfall, and often enjoy a hot pool all to yourself in different parts of the rocks that have been piled up by bathers. (Though I think we’ve just given the secret away…!)

Free Hot Tub at Kerosene Creek!
Free Hot Tub at Kerosene Creek!

Kuirau Park

Located in the northern end of Rotorua exists Kuirau Park, an informal hive of geothermal activity. The park gets its name from an ancient legend that says a beautiful young woman named Kuirau was bathing in the lake here, when a taniwha (legendary creature) dragged her below the water’s surface. The gods were so angered by this that they made the lake boil so the creature would be destroyed for good. And so the myth of the ‘lost woman’ lives on, adding charm and storytelling to this unique location.

Kuirau Park has a reputation for being a wholly relaxed location for an enjoyable wander. With a children’s playground and paddling pool, and bbq facilities, this is a great space for all ages. The foot pools vary from hot to cold, with one in particular offering lovely views of the park while you paddle 🙂

What you will find a lot of in Kuirau Park!
What you will find a lot of in Kuirau Park!
Mud Pools at Kuirau Park!
Mud Pools at Kuirau Park!

Sulphur Point

Sulphur point and sulphur flats is the perfect bay to explore if you are staying in central Rotorua. The walkway starts at the lake front (heading right as you look towards the lake) along the clearly marked track. Along the walk towards the Rotorua Museum you will pass a lot of geothermal activity and mud pools! The walk will take around 30 minutes and totally worth the effort!

Ohinemutu

Just a 10 minute walk from downtown Rotorua is the Māori village of Ohinemutu. This spot is home to the Ngāti Whakaue tribe, a sub-tribe of the Te Arawa waka (canoe) who journeyed from the Pacific homeland of Hawaiiki to New Zealand at approx 1350AD. The tribe chose this area for its lakeside situation and abundant geothermal activity – perfect for heating, bathing and cooking.

The Ngāti Whakaue are very friendly and welcome visitors to walk around the village (at no charge) and see the unique method of cooking over boiling hot water vents, along with the outdoor bathing sheds. When visiting it’s imperative to stick to the path at all times so as not to exploit the home of this tribe.

Ohinemutu
Ohinemutu

These are just a few examples of the natural geothermal activity that Rotorua boasts, and if you’re lucky you might just stumble across your own little haven of activity off the beaten track. Either way, when it comes to enjoying New Zealand for all its natural beauty, then experiencing this volcanic activity is an absolute NZ must do!

Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland – A NZ Must Do!

Wai-O-Tapu - NZ Must Do

Wai o Tapu (Maori for sacred waters) is 30km south of Rotorua on the SH5 the road you take towards Taupo this is a tourist attraction that is worth stopping in on! It is a New Zealand Must do!

It is regularly voted one of the top geothermal parks in NZ and most recently voted “One of the 20 most surreal places in the world” by Trip Advisor!

Entry into the reserve is just $32.50 ($11 for children) there are three fairly flat loop walks to encounter and you can cover the best bits in just under 2 hours, literally everywhere you turn it is truly spectacular! Look out for the Champagne Pool, The Primrose Terraces, Artist’s Palette and The Devils Bath (all clearly labelled) We were told by a local we met to go early as it can get extremely busy.

At 10:15am each morning in the park they set the Lady Knox Geyser off for an eruption that is almost 20 metres high and can last for an hour! How? Well I won’t give the game away, just go and see for yourself! We decided to listen to the local we met the evening before and went to the park as soon as it had opened (at 8:30am) the car park was empty we parked right at the front and the park was very peaceful! After the visit to the park we jumped into the car and got directed to another part of the reserve to visit the Lady Knox! The viewing platform was full of people! Yes it is slightly cheesy but good fun to watch and all we could think after was gosh how right was the local! The park was bound to be full of people as they all queued up and headed into the park!

You really do have to see it to believe it, but here are a few snaps to inspire you!

Can you spot me?!
Can you spot me?!
Champagne Pool - Yes it really is that orange!
Champagne Pool – Yes it really is that orange!
Mud Pools of Wai O Tapu Reserve
Mud Pools of Wai O Tapu Reserve
Lady Knox Geyser
Lady Knox Geyser
The Devils Bath, yes it really is that green!
The Devils Bath, yes it really is that green!