North Island – New Zealand
The original intention, that is to visit the Cook Islands, did not work out completely. Not because it was far, hard to reach or even too expensive. But because we have found out and learned from the man who was there that there is basically nothing to do. It is such a small island that you can cross it in a short time and that the only activity would be lying on the beach (although amazing). That is why we decided to change our original plan.n.
The region thus remained the same, only the specific place changed. Indeed, in this region of Oceania, which includes three sub-regions, namely Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia, there are an incredible number of wonderful places, especially islands, from which everyone can really choose. However, not all are adapted to tourism and not all are worth a visit. Finally, it looked like the best Fiji from our list of places. And because we thought that two weeks would have been too long on this island, and that we might know something else on our journey to this area of the world, we decided to split our journey and spend part of it on the North Island of New Zealand, through which our way to Fiji was going anyway. I write about our experiences in Fiji in this article.
In New Zealand (Aotearoa in Maori) at that time, spring was slowly beginning, the forests, meadows and hills were beautifully green, and thanks to the beautiful weather that had been throughout our visit, everything was incredibly fresh and colorful. South Island was still skiing at that time, but North Island was already in full force.
The starting point of our trips around the island was the town of Rotorua. An unforgettable experience was undoubtedly a visit to the Wai-O-Tapu thermal area with its many geysers, thermal springs, parks and lakes. Other amazing sites included a visit to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, a river that is part of Huka Falls, the Te Puia Thermal Area in Rotorua, a Waitomo Cave and the beautiful Marakopa Falls.
I think that the most powerful experience for us was a trip to Whaakari / White Island. It is a relatively active stratovolcano and the island of the same name, located about 48 km from the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand in the Bay of Plenty. The name White Island comes from James Cook, who named it when he discovered it on October 1, 1769 – the island was wrapped in a cloud of white vapor. On the island there are the remains of an abandoned sulfur mine, which was mined here with breaks from 1880 to 1930. Whakaari has been a nature reserve since 1953, entry to the island without permission is not possible. However, boat and helicopter tours are organized to this island.
Every child, and not only that, would certainly like to see a place where hobbit stories were filmed and part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy – the village of Hobbiton. This is truly a magical and fairytale place, and director Peter Jackson had a really lucky hand to choose.
I must not forget the interesting Maori culture, which actually accompanied us throughout our trip to New Zealand. The unusual and often frightening dances of the descendants of the original inhabitants of this area are an integral part of the local traditions and customs and it would be a sin not to see some of the breathtaking performances.
And I should not forget to mention Auckland, where we spent only a short time, but even so, this city was incredibly positive for us.
I must say that New Zealand is truly a magical country. A land with amazing nature full of breathtaking mountains, beautiful beaches, dense forests, and breathtaking plains and deserts. Of course, the fact that we had beautiful weather throughout our stay had a big impact. However, I hope that this visit was not the last one and that we will come back again in the future.