Ending our trip: New Zealand
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~The longer I put off writing the last post, the later I have to admit to myself that it’s back to real life…~
Anyhow, I absolutely do not want to leave out our last days in wonderful New Zealand – this time on the North Island.
We hung out in windy Wellington, soaked up some awesomeness at the Weirakei terraces, visited a Maori village in Rotorua, and spent a few days in Auckland, preparing ourselves for the inevitable trip back to Germany. Womp Womp.
Welling was a real special treat because we got to visit a close friend and had a full week to enjoy each other’s company. We hiked to the top of a nearby hill, drank lots of flat whites, chilled in the backyard, and explored Red Rocks. We even managed to squeeze in a proper Thanksgiving dinner! Check out some highlights of our New Zealand North Island stay!
Next up was a drive around Lake Taupo and a brief stay in Rotorua. Taupo was pretty nice, and very calm.
I have to emphasize how great of a decision it was to go to Weirakei just outside of Taupo, as opposed to the thermal spas in Rotorua – these baths are somewhat of a local secret. When we arrived, we were the only people there, only to be joined an hour later by a handful of Kiwi ladies who were super surprised to see tourists at their favorite hangout. ???
After the thermal pools we headed towards Rotorua. Rotorua, despite attracting crowds for the hot springs, was not that crowded. Also, the park in the city has its own hot spring sources, including a foot bath. And that’s for free!
Whakarewarewa was indeed a very cool place – it is an actual village where people have lived for centuries, sitting atop a geothermal area. Our guide was also an inhabitant of the village and gave us a lot of information about the Maori history and culture. Highly recommended! (apparently there is another village on the other side of the geyser, which is twice as expensive and half as authentic – so make sure you pick Whakarewarewa! ?)
Our last (and by that I mean REALLY REALLY FINAL) stop was Auckland. I have to admit, it was a bit difficult finding a decent hostel for a good price in the city. We ended up having to switch hostels a bit, but I can safely say – it’s best to avoid Surf’nSnow.
Needless to say, we were pretty toured out, so our stay in Auckland included mainly bumming around the city and eating meat pies (which is very much a fine activity, if you ask me).
Apart from that, I can really recommend checking out the Auckland art gallery. They have some wonderful permanent exhibits, as well as cool temporary ones, and the gallery offers free tours, conducted by its knowledgeable curators.
We left Auckland after 3 days, and thus finished our awesome flashpacker adventure of almost 4 months. I remember feeling slightly relieved knowing that I’m packing my backpack one last time. At the same time, we both ended the trip while already contemplating our next destinations ???. As of now there are no specific epic travel plans, but we do have shorter trips on the horizon, and I am super excited for every little travel opportunity that might come along!!
So, thanks New Zealand for helping us wrap up our trip in such a memorable way!!