By Shane Cleary.
With spritely cosmopolitan cities, an authentic opportunity to experience NZ’s indigenous Maori culture, and a bubbling and boiling volcanic heart, the North Island in New Zealand is an exceedingly versatile destination for any type of traveller, writes Shane Cleary form Malvern Travel & Cruise.
This month Shane had the privilege to visit New Zealand as a guest of Tourism NZ, Virgin and Air New Zealand to showcase the oft-overlooked North Island which features a sublime combination of forests, mountains and beaches, not to mention a great foodie culture too.
Due to New Zealand’s compact nature though, you don’t need too much time to see most of the splendour on offer. Here are a few of Shane’s highlights from his recent trip. We hope you enjoy it…
Taupo & Huka Falls
Just imagine combining 360° spins at disorientating speeds before even reaching the awe inspiring majesty that is the Huka Falls. Jet boating along the river provides a great vantage point to view this awesome natural attraction. Plus you’re guaranteed a wet day out. But it’s worth it!
Crafty Trout Brewery, Taupo
What tour would be complete without a beer degustation meal? So you could imagine how delighted I was when delicious lager from Crafty Trout Brewery and mouth watering food from the Millennium Hotel was served up one afternoon with Lake Taupo as the perfect backdrop. Interestingly, Crafty Trout Brewery is the only brewery in Taupo, and all 14 beers and ciders are created on site. They even have a yummy ‘Smokey’ flavoured ginger beer for those that prefer a non-alcoholic drink.
Lord of the Rings/Hobbit Movie Set
I must admit that I haven’t seen any of the movies, but experiencing the real Middle-earth was mind blowing. My guided tour took me through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges, then it was down into the hobbit holes and the Green Dragon Inn to listen to spell-binding tales of how Hobbiton came to be.
Te Puia in Rotorua
Te Puia is not only a geothermal attraction; this unique Maori cultural experience provides a fascinating introduction into the traditional Maori way of life. On this cultural tour, my group enjoyed a traditional Hungi (earth oven) as well as witnessing Geyser spitting out hot water at 180c. I also learnt how to do the Haka (Maori war dance), which was a great privilege. These are just some examples of how Maori culture impresses itself on contemporary Kiwi life; across the North Island you can hear Maori language, watch Maori TV, see main street marae (meeting houses) or catch a cultural performance with traditional Maori song.
Discover the North Island, NZ Today!
New Zealand is a great destination to travel to at any time of the year. If you need a short break, then give Shane a call on 03 9576 0211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whilst in Auckland, Shane has access to some great rates at the Langham Hotel, which is located within walking distance of the stunning waterfront and other key attractions. The hotel has also received some great reviews on TripAdvisor.