Mountains and sheep – New Zealands North

Following along with the route we took, it is time to cross the ocean and start exploring New Zealands Northern Island.
Just in case you missed them, I did two posts on the Souther Island before (Part 1 here, Part 2 here).

The white tree in Russell. Do you too see people in there?

But before we start, let me tell you in advance: We were doing it all wrong.
When visiting New Zealand, start up north and slowly travel south.
Why?

Because even though both parts are beautiful, the southern landscape is just a touch more. More breathtaking, more unique, more awe-inspiring.
Don’t get me wrong, the Northern Island was incredible to see, but I was so spoilt by the things I had seen that I don’t think I appreciated it as I would have before.

1. Wellington
We arrived in Wellington early and spend the whole day exploring this beautiful city. Despite being the capital city of New Zealand it is actually smaller than Auckland or Christchurch, but offers a variety of things to do. Food, shopping and Te Papa (the national museum) will keep you entertained.
For all my fellow LOTR-lovers: If you visit Te Papa, not only will you be able to learn a lot about Maori culture, but you will be able to take a selfie with Azog. Which I obviously did (see here).

Lots of pretty places to see.

2. Patea
After enjoying a little city break we drove up the Westcoast to Patea, famous for it´s black beaches and marvelous coast line.

Black Beach at Patea

Macro of the beach. Isn’t it pretty?

3. Forgotten World Highway
In order to cross from the Westcoat and it´s pretty beaches and surf spots to the East, we took the „Forgotten World Highway“. Such an aptly named route! I expected dinosaurs to step out on the road any minute while we were slowly making our way through a forest of fern.

Forgotten World Highway

We really drove for hours without meeting anyone else.
And of course, somewhere along our journey through the center to the east coast, we encountered Mount Doom aka Mt Ngaurohoe, looking a lot less intimidating in the bright sunshine as it had in the movies.

Much more pleasant in the sunshine, don’t you think?

4. Tongariro National Park and Taupo
If you are into hiking, Tongariro National Park will make your heart sing. Lots of short or longer walks through the forests on the slope of volcanic mountains and with the „Tongariro Alpine Crossing“ the self-proclaimed „Most beautiful day hike of the whole country“ will give you lot of options and you can easily spend days just roaming around and exploring.

Tongariro National Park

5. Rotorua
Leaving the mountains and forests and heading further up north, you will make sure to stop and experience another (literally) breathtaking adventure.
Along with volcanic activity come hot springs, geyser and lots of sulphuric gas. And while relaxing in a natural jacuzzi while admiring the colors around you certainly is great experience, I do not recommend staying to long if you are overly sensitive to smell!
Of course the mud and the waters are said to have several health benefits and be a great skin treatment, so I held my breath (not literally) and relaxed in a hot tub.

Rotorua Hot Spring. Look at these colors!

6. Bay of Plenty
To get some fresh air, it was the coast for our next stop. The Bay of Plenty has plenty of everything to be sure: Sun, Sea and lots of Maori Culture and Settlements, so we made sure to stay a little and learn about the Maori ways.

Bay of Plenty

7. Bay of Islands and Northland
Further up north we went, driving past Auckland and heading towards the Bay of Islands and Russell. While the Northern Island is much higher in population than the Southern, Northland is a little less crowded. Not that any part of New Zealand really is crowded, but you get what I am saying.
Many people living in Auckland spend their vacation there, so a relaxed spirit and beautiful beaches along with glorious food is what you can expect.

Hands down the best seafood chowder I have ever eaten

But there is something else up there that makes Northland a place you have to visit: The Kauri Forest. Kauri trees are a species unique to New Zealand, and they really are giants of the forest. Sadly, there are only a few places where many of them grow as they have been cut down quite a lot during the settlement.
Tane Mahuta, the biggest and oldest up there, is said to be more than 1500 years and reaches up for 51,1 m. Let me tell you, you feel very young and very small when standing in his shade.

Trees up on trees. Take Mahuta.

Macro of the moss growing on the Kauri Trees.

8. Auckland
Auckland was our last stop, so I have bitter sweet memories. I really didn’t want this trip to end. But this is not the city´s fault and we had a lovely time there.
Auckland is a big and busy city, but I felt safe there anytime and enjoyed the variety of culture and nature. Wherever you are, the sea is never far away, and just by taking a ferry you can leave the busy city centre behind and enjoy a mini.holiday on one if the surrounding islands, the best view on Auckland included.

Auckland, as seen from one of the surrounding islands

This marks the end of my New Zealand adventures.
And as I am sitting here all teary eyed and full of longing, I will let Chay Blyth have the final words:

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  • Neuseeland ist wirklich atemberaubend schön. Ich hoffe das ich auch mal hin kann. Kann mir vorstellen, dass du traurig warst als du wieder weg musstest. Leider funktioniert der Link zum Selfie nicht. Hab zwar LOTR, aber ist schon lange her. Ich weiß nicht mehr wer Azog ist 😀

    glamdevils.com

  • The scenery of New Zealand is absolutely amazing and beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.com

  • Pam Scalfi

    beautiful places! I've never been but the national park looks gorgeous and you are right everything looks better with sunshine! I so wish I could be on holiday right now.

    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

  • The Beauty Highlights

    Beautiful places and pics.

  • Wow, the Forgotten World Highway sounds very cool!

  • ahhh, beautiful pictures, I really want to go to New Zealand someday! I love the last quote so beautiful too. Have a lovely day dear.

    Glamoury Armory Blog

  • Wow. Wow. Wow. There are not many words that can express how breathtakingly beautiful it all looks! Definitely want to visit NZ one day 🙂 x

    Brenda BusyBee | Win a Travalo Perfume Atomiser

  • New Zealand looks like such an amazing place to experience! Your pictures and descriptions are gorgeous. A friend of mine is in New Zealand at the moment and her pictures along side yours are definitely giving me a need to visit 🙂

    Erin
    http://orchidsandtea.blogspot.ca

  • Gosh, Linda, I clearly understand why you were sad when the trip ended, what a beautiful country. Are you planning to return there for a visit in the future?

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  • Oh my, this is breathtaking. I was enthralled the whole way through the post. I've always wanted to visit New Zealand to visit some old friends and hopefully I will one day. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip, even though the end was bitter sweet.

    Beauty Isles | An Island Girl's Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

  • Denise

    This is such an amazing post! I never went there, but NZ is on my list, and now even more! I loved the tree, I could see some people climbing it (imagination flies…) and I loved the Forgotten World Highway, fabulous! The Kauri Forest would also be something for me, and Te papa museum, too. I also loved Auckland seen from the islands and I agree, that must have been a unique experience, that changes everybody! As I said, now even more on my list! So nice that you've got to see so much beauty!
    DenisesPlanet.com

  • valeriesdays

    Beautiful trip !! I have to keep your post if, one day, I go to New Zeland (it's not on my schedule for the moment ;)) Thanks for sharing !! xox http://valeriesdays.blogspot.fr/

  • I love travel posts! That tree looks really hauntingly beautiful… xD

    Pop over to my blog

    Sarah

    https://everydayconcepts.wordpress.com

  • New Zealand is so beautiful! I really hope I can go there someday!

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  • Zog ist eigentlich auch aus dem "Hobbit", der böse weiße einarmige Ork. Und danke für den Hinweis, ich repariere das schnell.

  • It was a great experience.

  • I am in need of a holiday again, too. Although the next trip will be to France, not as far away.

  • Thank you.

  • It was stunning, but as I get motion sick I couldn't fully enjoy the experience.

  • Beautiful photos – gorgeous! 🙂

    Layla xx

    http://www.sprinklesofstyle.co.uk

  • amazing pics

    Mrs NoOne

  • Len Dela Peña Parent

    What beautiful photos! 🙂
    http://www.lenparent.com

  • These photos are fantastic! A close friend of mine moved to Auckland and she keeps telling me how gorgeous it is

    xx

    http://www.junewantsitall.com

  • Kelly M

    New Zealand looks absolutely incredible. Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

    XO K
    http://www.kellmenow.com

  • Danielle Griffin

    Wow this is beautiful!! Forgotten world highways is so pretty!! I need to go here!! Thanks for sharing this!
    Danielle

  • I havent been to New Zealand before but that beach would be the one the places i would like to see, These are great tourist attractions ,lovely pictures.

    http://www.stylenbeautylounge.com

  • Maireem Maneje

    Such lovely scenery! New Zealand must definitely be added to my travel bucket list 🙂

    http://www.maireem.blogspot.com

  • Beautiful pictures. I'd love to go to New Zealand, and several people in my family have been there and loved it. Your photos make me want to travel!

    Beaumiroir

  • How interesting that the Southern area was more appealing than the Northern, I'll be sure to keep that in mind if I ever make it over there! 🙂

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

  • All I can say is… W O W, I'm so jealous right now! 😉

    http://carolinapage.eu

  • wow ! I love all those pictures especially the moss and the beach sand ! http://allornothing-blog.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Анна-Алина Гевелюк

    Wow, what's a cool travel! That tree is great!

    http://anna-alina.blogspot.com/

  • Nice place

  • Kate

    Oh wow, this trip must have been incredible. Your photos are stunning. There are many beautiful places in the world, but some of the scenery in New Zealand looks like it's from some magical, far away planet. x

    Kate Louise Blogs

  • Wow, the national park and Bay of Plenty look stunning!

    Rubi | Instagram | The Den | http://www.the-den.blogspot.com

  • You have a lovely day, too!
    What was the most exotic place you traveled to?

  • It is absolutely worth the visit.

  • If you have a friend living there it will be the best opportunity ever to go! Where is she staying?

  • I would love to, but there are so many places I want to return to and so many places I have yet to visit… I feel like I could travel my whole life and there would still be something I missed.

  • Grab the opportunity if you have it. It is an expensive trip, but no money can replace the memories you make.

  • I am very lucky that I have a husband that shares my passion for travel. Going there with a baby was something not everybody would have dared, but I knew I could always count on him and his support, so we decided to just do it. And I am so glad we did!
    Little Bean loved it, too. Traveling with kids is much easier as I imagined.

  • Fingers crossed you are going to make it there some day.

  • There is so much magic over there, no wonder Peter Jackson wanted it to be the place where LOTR was shot.

  • i wouldn't be able to pick a favorite place, to be honest.

  • What the pictures don't show are the incredibly friendly and relaxed people. Everywhere you go you are greeted with kindness and a smile. A magical place for sure.

  • Have you been there?

  • I love to travel. Do you, too?

  • So you are into the macro shots?

  • I was waking up every day, looking out of the windows of my camper van and thought: Wow!
    What was your best travel experience so far?

  • I guess it depends on your preferences, but in the South the landscape is a lot more wild and there are way less people. Weather is nicer in the North though.

  • It really is a place to visit if you ever get the chance. Which part did your family love the most?

  • What else is on there?

  • And the best thing is: there are no tourists. We had the beach all to ourselves.

  • I hope you get the chance to experience it on your own someday.

  • Fingers crossed. What else is there you would want to visit someday?

  • Thank you. But everything there looks so pretty, it is really hard to mess up a picture.

  • It was the amazing scenery.

  • Haha, yes, do this!

  • Thank you.

  • Unfortunately it's not a situation that I can take advantage of, haha. She's touring with Disney on Ice so they've been all around the main islands, bus living and that sort of thing!

  • As you are basically just a short flight away in a few months, chances are good you can experience it on your own soon.
    And the quote is one for the travel babes here, I imagined you´d like it.

  • She isn't lying. Do you plan on visiting her?

  • It is even more beautiful in person.

  • Ah, okay. The tour bus probably really isn't an option. But maybe she´ll stay there?

  • oh yeah ! 🙂

  • Umm.. everywhere! Right now it's mostly Europe (especially England, France, Italy and Scotland), New York and Southern US.

  • You are right, almost everywhere.
    But if you are going to Europe, add Germany to your list. We have some incredible places to discover.

  • Dressed With Soul

    Danke für Deinen Tipp, lieber von Norden nach Süden zu reisen 🙂 Der Sohn einer meiner Kolleginnen war kürzlich ein halbes Jahr in Neuseeland und er hat sehr geschwärmt von diesem Land. Wenn ich mir Deinen tollen Fotos dazu anschaue und Deine sehr erklärenden Texte dazu, dann verstehe ich das gleich noch besser. Danke für den tollen Post und einen schönen Abend für Dich.
    Liebe Grüße von Rena
    http://www.dressedwithsoul.com

  • Wow I'd love to visit NZ. It's quite sad that they are still recovering from the earthquakes.

    Erin | Erin and Katherine Talk Beauty

  • I am sitting over here with drool dribbling down my chin. I would give ANYTHING to go to New Zealand. Your photos are beautiful!!!

    xx
    Jenny // Mish Mosh Makeup

  • idu

    I was just thinking that the mud waters of the Rotorua might have health benefits and I read it. The best things in life aren't always very pleasant huh. This is nature at it's best. Thankfully no dinosaurs popped out on the forgotten world highway. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. That white tree is breathtaking. There are people in there?

    http://fashionablyidu.blogspot.com/

  • This post is incredible. I really want to visit New Zealand after this picture presentation/report. I think I could get used to the view of the Bay of Plenty, hot volcanic jacuzzis and driving around in a hydroshark. Azog is really scary looking though.:)

    http://www.chicuturnonglitz.blogspot.com

  • I seriously cannot take my eyes off that beach macro! It's such a pretty shot! I really want to see New Zealand some day! It's beautiful!

  • I spent the most amazing year of my life in California – in the San Francisco Bay Area, to be precise. I loved it there, people are great, there's an almost magical atmosphere!

    http://carolinapage.eu

  • This looks amazing!!! I wish I could have seen that sand in person!

    Heba xx || The Heba

  • It was magical.

  • It is absolutely worth the long flight. So much beauty!

  • I personally would skip the shark, but everything else was all I ever dreamed it would be.

  • I am pretty sure I saw elves moving among the branches, but then again it could have been the sunlight.

  • I am so glad I had the opportunity to see all this in person.

  • The destruction was worse than I would have

  • Es ist wirklich wunderschön. Bist Du auch sehr reiselustig oder erlebst Du sowas lieber in Form von Bildern?

  • Beautiful pictures! The black beach looks amazing 🙂

  • It really was so pretty, and such a rare sight to see.

  • The Sunday Mode

    Wow those pictures look amazing, I've never been over to New Zealand before but I'd really like to. Looks like you had some great adventures there! x

  • Beautiful place! The sand is the most beautiful pattern I´ve seen! Thank you for sharing x

    http;//catheartbudget.blogspot.com

  • You should have been there, there was no one around, it was beautiful!

  • We had a great time. What has been your favorite place to travel to?

  • So relaxing! xo

  • Cosmetic_Confections

    beautiful pictures! the seafood chowder looks so good 🙂

    http://natalyepronio.com

  • The Sunday Mode

    I was lucky enough to travel around Europe last year, my favourite places would probably have to be anywhere in Italy, London or the Greek Islands! So lovely in summer especially.

  • That´s true. I often forget about Europe, as I live in it´s very center, so going to France or Italy never really counted as "traveling" for me.

  • Dressed With Soul

    Das ist eine gute Frage 🙂 Grundsätzlich bin ich immer offen für Neues und am allerallerliebsten lese ich Bücher übers Reisen (sowie sonstige aufregende Geschichten über das wahre Leben). Ich könnte in meinem Leben allerdings noch weiter herumgekommen sein … mal schauen, wohin es mich in Zukunft noch bringt.