Skiing in the North Island
Favorite thing: -
On the North Island you have only Mt. Ruapehu and Mt. Taranaki for skiing, with Mt. Taranaki being somehow far off the main routes.
Mt. Ruapehu is THE ski resort in the North Island.
Here you see how much you have to pay for a lift pass:
For transportation from Auckland to the area you can check out buses like InterCity (www.intercity.co.nz), NakedBus (www.nakedbus.co.nz), the destination depending on where you stay, most probably in a village named National Park or Whakapapa Village, but also others.
There is also an interesting weekend ski tour operator named Kiwianatours (www.kiwianatours.com), they offer the whole skiing package, and the trip starts at SkyCity in Auckland. This would surely be the most convenient option, if you do not want to drive yourself.
On this website you also find accommodation and transportation options.
BTW You could even take the Overlander Train - but in winter it does not operate daily. More info here: www.tranzscenic.co.nz
Here is a another link for accommodation in the region:
Here is information about skiing in Taranaki (Mt. Egmont):
- Skiing and Boarding
Honeymoon on the North Island in Winter
Favorite thing: My wife and I did our honeymoon to the North island in early September 3 years ago and we were torn the same way you are, had 10 days. Eventually. We chose to stay on the north island, rent a car and do the following loop: Auckland, Rotorua, Lake Taoupo, MarTINborough, and finally Wellington. We skipped the glow worms (but I hear they are kind of neat) Better to avoid the floating innertube thing and do one of the hikes to the lesser known caves/trees.
Recommendation: Skip Rotorua, it smells and there is not much to do in winter.
Go straight to the Thermal Wonderland between Rotorua and Toupo hike for the day.
Stay in Toupo and enjoy the beautiful lake. We loved: Terraces Hotel in Toupo $245 /night
Then we went to Napier and the wineries. (Skip it!) Their Art Decco architecture stuff was a waste of time, and the local wineries are ok, if you want to spend a day wine tasting. We found it a little expensive. The hotel was a senic circle (thumbs down). Next stop was Martin Borough. Race to get here. Small local community of wineries centered around a town square. Main hotel in town is Pepeppers Martinborough, It was delightful and we enjoyed our best meal of the trip here in the hotel restaurant. Winter time means not too crowded and you can rent bycicles and visit many of the wineries. By our third winery we were being welcomed as the "American's who like Reds" before we even knocked on the door. Loved this stop. Next stop was Wellington. We actually loved the drive from martinborough to wellington. Wellington was a fun town. (Auckland was boring) Good night life. The Rose garden/botanical garden in the center of town was beautiful even this time of year. Skip the lunch at the restaurant at the top of the hill! We ran out of time at this point. but a hop down to queenstown would be very doable if you skipped rotorua and napier.
Ultimately, we chose to avoid the south island because it would be too much snow and cold. Definite takeaways: Peppers hotel chain Rocks! Little pricey but worth it. Hope this helps.
Fondest memory: Martinborough and the little proprietor of one of the vinyards.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Wine Tasting
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Weather in Winter
Favorite thing: This is a forum answer to someone asking about Honeymooning in NZ during July.
I was in New Zealand during July back in 1996 (sorry I know it is a while back) and the weather was stunning. That said I was in the North Island. Not sure about the South Island but Rotorua although being chilly will still be really great to visit in Winter all the usual attractions still run as far as I am aware and Auckland and the Northland (in particular the Bay of Islands) are just wonderful at that time of the year.
Not a bird, not a shoe polish, it is a fruit
Favorite thing: Kiwi immediately reminds us of the indigenous iconic bird of NZ. We also used to have a famous brand of shoe polish called "Kiwi".
But there is a succulent and juicy green color fruit called "Kiwi".
Interestingly, the Kiwi fruit is not native to NZ but originated from Southern China. It was first introduced in NZ around 1906.
So visit a NZ kiwi fruit farm and eat a fresh Kiwi fruit. The taste is wonderful.
Favorite thing: While joining a river fishing trip at Lake Taupo area, I discover to my surprise small well rounded stones that are light and actually float on water.
They are pumice rocks which are volcanic origin.
Was so impressed that I carry them home and once in awhile let them float in water.
Black beach of New Plymouth
Favorite thing: Facing the Tasman Sea on the north, west and south of Mount Taranaki, New Plymouth has easy access of beaches for sailing, swimming, surfing or sand castles.
Was surprised by the black sand beaches. Apparently from some volcanic rock that produced small black specks that blacken the sand of the beach.
Anyway, you cannot miss the beaches while in or driving through New Plymouth.
Favorite thing: While it is expected to see cow and sheep farms, it was a nice surprise to see ostrich farms at the foothills of Mt. Taranaki.
Have tasted tender ostrich meat before. Not sure if I can stomach an entire ostrich egg omelete nor care for ostrich feather pillow.
Anyway, cows and sheep are not native to New Zealand. Ostriches are from Africa.
Amazing park in downtown New Plymouth
Favorite thing: Pukekura Park is a 52 hectares garden park right in downtown New Plymouth.
If is fun to stroll to view the amazing collection of native trees and ferns as well as a Japanese and Chinese garden. Great place to have a quick lunch.
Quite a number of row boats on the pond to enter a world of natural wonder right in the middle of town.
Driving up Mount Taranaki
Favorite thing: When arriving at New Plymouth in the western tip of North Island, this snow capped conical volcano Mt. Taranaki (formerly Mt. Egmont) dominates the landscape.
Surprisingly it is an easy 10-15 minutes drive up to visitors center of this mountain for an amazing view of the sea and land below.
Fortunately, this volcano is not active and looks benignly over the surrounding plain.
Story of "One Hill Tree"
Favorite thing: No, it is not about a tv drama series.
One hill tree is popular historic landmark of Auckland on top of a small volcanic peak. There was a single tree next to a commemorative obelisk. The tree was attacked twice in the name of Maori struggle of their natural rights but fortunately survived the onslaught.
Unfortunately after a damaging storm, the 125 years pine tree had to be removed.
A new native tree has been planted.
Check time for daily eruption of geyser
Favorite thing: Was a bit surprised that the famous geyser, Lady Knox Geyser at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal wonderland outside of Rotorua is triggered to explode and spray at a fixed time daily for visitors.
Soap solution is added to initiate this spurt. First the smoke, then the hot water and steam up to 20 meters high and up to an hour.
It was disappointing that it did not happen naturally. Apparently that would make the time unpredictable (unlike USA Yellowstone "Old Faithful). So this makes all us tourists happy.
But check the scheduled time so that you can arrive in time. General advised to get admission at 10am for the 10:15am daily eruption.
Fast changing weather
Favorite thing: Both North and South Islands are in the middle of the oceans and so are the mercy of changing winds and ocean currents. The weather can vary greatly from one location to another nearby location and from day to day.
So keep an eye on the weather forecast. If poor weather, you can hang around the city and visit museums or go shopping. When weather is great, then you can go for hikes, whale watching, etc.
When I was in Milford Sound, the weather was "perfect". The day before, the weather was so bad, nothing can be seen. So you may want to give a back up date for your must see sites.
Another time, there was an unexpected flood at Queenstown and all vehicles have to turned back to the West Coast.
So go along with the changing weather, rain, snow or shine, have a great time.
The other side of the world (for me)
Favorite thing: When I arrived in North Island I felt somehow at home. The landscapes reminded me on Austria - but the language was 'wrong'. Some of the trees would not grow in Austria and we have a different style to build houses. Everyone I would take to North Island, I would take around the Island, to see the diversity of it.
Fondest memory: Wonderful landscape everywhere, nature at it's best. And it's still nature!
Exploring AUCKLAND on foot or bike
Favorite thing: The best way to see Auckland up close is by foot or bike. Auckland is linked by a network of council-maintained walkways and bike paths. Two of the best tours are the Coast-to-Coast Walkway, which crosses the isthmus from the Auckland waterfront to Onehunga and the 50 kilometre Bike Ride which circles the city.Related to:
Favorite thing: As a Malaysian, I did not need a visa to enter and could stay up to 3 months.
Check based on your country from this website:
North Island Hotels
The rooms and hotel in general were nicer than expected, and service was good. While this hotel may...more
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