Stephanie and Martina Explore the Central North Island

Central North Island Tour
Interns Enjoying New Zealand

We are Stephanie and Martina, tourism students from Germany and Switzerland, who were lucky enough to have the opportunity to live and work in Auckland for a few months. We love to travel and explore so were on the road every other weekend exploring the rest of New Zealand. The circumstances for this little trip could not have been better: the weather forecast was amazing and thanks to Queens Birthday it was a long weekend.  In order to explore the Central North Island we left Auckland after work on Friday, arriving in Taupo around 11pm. The driving conditions were quite good; we were only stuck in traffic for the first 45 minutes. After our delicious dinner of McDonalds burgers around 7 pm the streets were quiet.  

Day 1 – Taupo: This morning we woke up early and a bit nervous for our Cliffhanger Bungy Swing with Taupo Bungy. Our swing was scheduled for 10:30 and we wanted to make sure that we had enough time to eat and digest breakfast beforehand. When we left our backpackers it was very foggy and we were a bit disappointed that we might not be able to fully enjoy the beautiful scenery, but as we arrived at the swing location the sky cleared up and the sun came through the clouds. We were a bit early so we observed some bungee jumpers prior to our own adrenalin rush although unfortunately no swing was scheduled while we were waiting so we were quite nervous as we didn’t know what to expect. The Bungy Taupo team welcomed us very warmly and made us feel comfortable as soon as we arrived. As we were going to swing together they had to calculate our mutual weight in order to choose the right gear. The whole preparation took less than 15 minutes and we sat all prepared, 44 meters above the crystal blue water of the Waikato River, before we knew it. In the middle of chatting with the staff our swing was released and we screamed and laughed in each others ears. After the first few scary seconds of free fall we could soak in the beautiful surrounding and discuss our emotions. Interns bungee in Taupo Day 2 – Rotorua: On our second day we decided to sleep in so we would be well rested for our hike in the Redwood Forest in Rotorua. After a great breakfast of peanut butter and jam on toast we drove to the forest. After a quick discussion at the information center, we decided to do a short walk as we didn’t have that much time. The hike started with huge Californian Redwoods, it took us over a little bridge with crystal blue water underneath and past many different kinds of local flora. Afterwards we got some coffee and drove 30 minutes to Kerosene Creek, a geothermally heated stream in the forest, and one of the highlights of our trip. Redwood Forst Rotorua Driving into the car park we realized that we were not the only ones who wanted to warm up in the hot stream on such a cold day, but as we walked further into the forest, past a little waterfall, we found a stunning spot all to ourselves. It was nice and warm so we relaxed for a little while… actually 2 hours. The creek in the middle of the forest was beautiful and we felt like we were in a fairytale. Natural Hot Stream In the afternoon we walked to the office of the Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua. We didn’t really know what to expect from a Maori Village and were excited to experience something new.  The tour started out with a short bus ride to the Village, during which the driver taught us some important Maori words and history of the Maori people. The most important word we learned was Kia Ora which is a Maori greeting and can also been used as farewell and thank you. In the Village we were welcomed with a Powhire - an ancient welcoming ceremony in which the warriors of the village came in paddling in a canoe and danced with sticks. After the ceremony we wandered around the village which looked amazing within the Tawa forest, with bonfires and huts. We learned about traditionalfacial tattoos, weaving, how to play stick games, warrior training and the men practiced the Haka. Then we witnessed how Maori cook their food under the earth on hot stones, called Hangi. Afterwards everybody went into the Meeting House were we saw an amazing cultural performance including love songs, stick games and the famous Haka, a Maori war dance. The evening ended with a huge Hangi buffet with amazing food and dessert.  We had an awesome time in the Maori Village and were sad that we had to go back to present-day Rotorua.

Day 3 – Mt Maunganui: The next morning we drove to Mt Maunganui to do another hike before returning to Auckland. When we got there we realized that the entire city had decided to go to the beach as the weather was beautiful, especially for winter. We parked on the beach and ate breakfast while watching surfers and paddle boarders in the ocean. After breakfast we started walking up the mountain located next to the beach and across the harbour from Tauranga, standing 232m above sea level. We hiked through forest and alongside rock walls to the top of the mountain where we had a spectacular view over the beach Mt Maunganui and Tauranga. We spend the next few hours climbing along the cliffs and relaxing in the sun. European Girls exploring Central New Zealand Our trip ended with the car ride back to Auckland through some beautiful landscape including green hills, alongside rives and through forests. We really enjoyed the Central North Island and are glad that we still have a few month to explore more of that beautiful country. Cheers, Stephanie and Martina


Stephanie Kellenberger
Stephanie Kellenberger
: 13 Jan 2016 (Last updated: 31 Jul 2017)

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