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The Gallery holds a revolving collection of kinetic sculptures, physics and art come together to create pieces that create illusions of light and sound. Back in the day sulphur mining was attempted, though due to a lahar incident in production was stopped and it has since become a tourist destination. Though, as White Island is privately owned the only way to access it is through booking a tour with an authorised tour company.
If you are not on a tight budget, you can also book helicopter tours from places such as Rotorua and Tauranga. The following morning we all jumped into a large boat and said goodbye to the harbour of Whakatane.
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On the way to White Island dolphins followed the launch, jumping out of the water and playing in the wakes. We were given helmets and gas mask to protect ourselves from the harsh conditions on White Island. It is easy to tell when you have reached it with the large white plume of smoke rising into the blue sky. The barren landscape shows the harsh realities of this environment and the ocean water around the island turns from blue to a milky green colour.
In the interior of the island the carter walls stand fragile and sulphur vents dot the landscape making it difficult to breathe. This landscape is unlike any other and is no doubt one of the most beautiful places in the New Zealand North Island. Please keep this in mind if considering a White Island tour.
I could have driven from Auckland to Wellington within a day, but that would have meant missing Hamilton.
1. Take a Dip in a Hot Spring
I was there in a couple of hours after setting off on my road trip and it was good for more than a stopover. Top of my list of places to visit was the Hamilton Gardens, and I enjoyed every minute of appreciating the various themed gardens on the grounds. My friend and I arrived in Hahei in the Coromandel Peninsula to a wet, wild and windy greeting but we donned our jackets and headed down the path to Cathedral Cove. The walk down is fairly easy with a well-maintained path that meanders along the edge of the cliff line.
Cathedral Cove is a favourite destination for many, we frequently came across smiling, albeit, wet, tourists in various stages of puffing from the walk back up again. A gushing waterfall spilled over the edge of the cliff at the far side of the bay and waves crashed into the natural arch formed into the rocks.
The walk back up to the carpark is slightly more difficult as it was mainly uphill.
Hot Water Beach is another must see for your North Island road trip, a natural underwater spring makes this a great spot to dig your own spa in the sand to sit back, relax and watch the rolling waves. We settled for dipping our feet in and being slightly surprised that the water was actually warm. There are only certain parts of the beach where you can dig to find hot water and the best times to dig are 2 hours either side of low tide. I recommend all my friends road tripping New Zealand to watch at least once sunset from one of the Kapiti Coast beaches.
The Kapiti Coast is becoming more popular slowly but surely with the new highway crossing through the towns of Waikanae and Paraparaumu making the Kapiti Coast easily accessible on your North Island road trip. The Kapiti Coast has a small town flavour yet is close enough to the capital that businesses are creative and innovative, especially when it comes to food.
I still squeal with excitement when I see sheep-sprinkled green hills and it baffles me that the nature is so green even in the winter. What I especially liked so far are the beaches. I come from a land-locked country and I love the sea, so you can imagine how happy living on an island makes me. My absolute favourite is the beach not easily reachable on your daily commute from work to home. Divided in two by the huge rock you can climb on called the Lion Rock , Piha is a beautiful wild beast. Apart from the magnificent Lion Rock watching over the beach, what makes Piha so lovely yet edgy is its black sand, which is of volcanic origin.
The Tasman sea here is mysterious and moody, and there have been some skilled swimmers and surfers who thought they could challenge it, but failed. The surrounding areas on the other hand…. All around the neighbouring hills and plateaus is row upon row of grape vines. And this only means one thing, wine!
Yes, the vineyards of the Hawkes Bay are some the best in the country and most are coupled with excellent restaurants and beautiful views. A great way to explore is by bicycle which you can hire in any of the towns. The staff will help you plan a route and there are lots of cycleways in the region. So grab your friends, your two wheels and take yourself on a trip through rolling hills, along the coastline and across fields to reach some gorgeous little spots and enjoy some great kiwi wine. The road can be hard to find, so look out for it! For you surfers out there: This is one of the sweetest small left handers in the country.
During our 18 day North Island road trip by motorcycle, we had a free day. In our 2. We loved it because of its access to Poor Knights Marine Reserve. Poor Knights Islands and Marine Reserve is 15 miles northeast from Tutukaka and accessible on a boat ride from Tutukaka harbour. On the boat ride to Poor Knights, the towering sheer cliffs of the islands appear, some rising over feet above the ocean.
20 Awesome Places to Visit in Rotorua
In the sheltered harbour, it is a great opportunity to enjoy the spectacular scenery — the sea, rock formations, hillsides, and to learn the Maori history. The Poor Knights islands create an unusual underwater environment of giant sea caves, kelp forests, sand channels, and underwater caverns. On our North Island road trip from Rotorua to Wellington 5. Just about 20 minutes south of Rotorua, it was easily accessible and turned out to be one of our favourite destinations on New Zealand North Island. There are several ways you can explore the valley.
On foot you can choose a self-guided tour to fit your level of fitness, or opt for a guided hike.
They also offer a fully-narrated boat tour that cruises around Lake Rotomahana. The numerous thermal pools are interesting and beautiful, set within the natural and protected New Zealand landscape. At times it seemed almost prehistoric as the steam rose from isolated pools hidden within the bush.
Of course, having lived in Wellington myself I would definitely recommend at least spending a few days here. I hope we have managed to convince you to add at least a few if not all of these beautiful places to your North Island road trip. Thanks again to my fellow travel bloggers for their great suggestions!
Which one was your favourite that you must see? Further up the hillside is Ruatapa Cave, a deep cave with warm water in the pool below. And beyond that, in a delightful walk through a rainforest, are mud pools which bubble away like a witch's cauldron. It is an unforgettable geothermal experience. Home Destinations.
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