To put it simply, New Zealand is a beautiful and picturesque country full of unique places. One way to see them is to road trip, so here are six places you won’t want to miss in the North Island.
Castlepoint is a small picturesque town on the Wairarapa coast of Wellington. It’s the perfect spot to stay for a weekend and go for a walk or a swim, forget about the city, and relax. The lighthouse, standing since 1913, lights up in bright colours at night, and in the daytime sits near pure blue water that you’ll stare at for hours without getting bored.
This town is one you won’t forget. As soon as you step foot in Napier, the art deco style is everywhere. Street and shop signs, hostels, pathways and architecture are all art deco inspired. There are plenty of little stores to browse with souvenirs and second hand treasures just waiting for to be found. The cafes and restaurants are full of interesting and delicious meals, so eat to your heart’s content and grab something for the road.
Redwoods Tree Walk, Rotorua
The Redwoods Tree Walk in the Whakarewarewa Forest, Rotorua, is certainly something you want to experience. It only costs NZ$25 (AUD$22.90) to walk the Redwoods, and you are free to stay as long as you like. The entry cost goes towards maintaining the forest and ensuring the trees are kept in good condition. Environmentalism and sustainability are a high priority in New Zealand, and this forest is just one example. When you’re up there you can see the way the platforms and bridges are suspended without causing harm to the trees and their height can be adjusted as the trees grow. If you fancy walking through the trees at night, there are lanterns that light up when the daylight starts to fade.
Tauranga is a town by the sea in the Bay of Plenty region, a 15 minute journey away from Mount Maunganui. This town has a range of activities, including dolphin tours, fishing, sailing, and investigating the local playground (which has Hairy Maclary sculptures, a favourite among kids). You can also check out McLaren Falls, the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park, or go for a hike at Mount Maunganui. The water can be seen from many places in town, and is a beautiful reminder of how important it is to take a moment and relax in nature.
Coromandel is where you’ll find Cathedral Cove, a beautiful secluded beach on the east coast around 10 minutes drive from Hot Water Beach. To get there you’ll have to park and walk, following the signs for around 40 minutes before you reach the sand. The journey might take awhile but when you see the aqua, deep blue water you’ll forget the walk. You might recognise the cove from the scene in Narnia: Prince Caspian, where the Pevensie children walk back into Narnia. There’s a reason this beach was chosen to be part of Narnia; it’s spectacular.
If you’re a fan of Taylor Swift, this beach is a must-visit. Part of her Out of the Woods music video was filmed here on Bethells Beach, a 30-40 minute drive from Auckland. The dark sand reflects the sky, and even when it rains the blue reflection shines clearly. This beach is certainly a sight you’ll want to see if you get the chance.