When planning our trip to New Zealand, we heard from many that the South Island was the preferred vacation spot, so we decided to plan a month-long trip to truly explore all the regions of New Zealand. We spent a week in the North Island and wished we would have stayed longer. There was so much to do and see, from the great vineyards to the museums in Auckland and lots of delicious food.

If you don’t want to venture too far from the major cities, There are plenty of options near Wellington and Auckland. I suggest making it a day of water and wine and check out the vineyards on Waiheke Island, which are just a ferry ride from Auckland. Martinborough, in the Wairarapa region, is about an hour’s drive from Wellington. Rent some bikes or explore the art in between vineyards. We really enjoyed the vineyards in the Hawke’s Bay area too. Napier’s art deco buildings will intrigue architecture aficionados. Travel back in time to the 1930 during their art deco festival! Nature lovers can also enjoy the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. There is also an incredible 5-star luxury property of the same name if you’re looking to stay in style (I’ve got connections when booking there so don’t forget to reach out).

A visit to Rotorua is a must. While the town can start to smell of the sulfur hot springs, it didn’t bother us. You can pamper yourself with a day at the spa and a soak in the hot springs. The geothermal wonderland of Waiotapu is an incredible site to explore that reminds me of Yellowstone. Rotorua is also the best place for experiencing Maori culture. You can see traditional dances and dress or eat in the homes of a modern Maori family.

New Zealand

The Tongariro crossing is considered one of the greatest day hikes in the world. We spent several days waiting for the weather to clear up, so we could do the hike but had to settle for accounts from our friends and clients who have been lucky enough to make the trek. For those of you who flock to New Zealand for the outdoor adventure, this is a must for your itinerary.

There was this little movie called The Lord of the Rings… well 6 movies from the series in total that may have quite the following. Many travelers flock to Hobbiton to see the set of the shire. Remember, this was only used for filming the outside scenes, as there is nothing behind the doors. My husband and I had seen the movies but weren’t super fans or anything like that. I just thought it would be fun. I lured my husband there with promise of a beer at the tavern included at the end of the tour. It was a fun stop.

Glow worms were the top item on my list for New Zealand. It sounded so magical, and it was! You can’t take pictures because it harms the glow worms, so you’ll just have to take my word for it! Magic!

I enjoyed our trip so much that decided to get certified by the New Zealand Tourism as a Gold Specialist, so I am Well-equipped to handle all the details for your adventure Down Under!

Contact Melissa Lonsk to organize your adventure Down Under.