This is a guest post by Craig Martin and is a part of the Blog4 New Zealand campaign to raise awareness that after the Christ Church Earthquake it is perfectly safe to visit New Zealand. In fact your tourism will help them to rebuild and keep people employed!
There are plenty of places to explore while you travel through New Zealand. Here are five of my favourite spots to stop and spend some time.
The country’s largest city, and likely the city you fly into. Auckland is cosmopolitan but it is spread out over countless suburbs. Make sure you explore further than the central city – heading out towards Mission Bay for coffee and gelato on the beach, or the Waitakere Ranges for instant escape from the city into a series of forests and reserves.
A weekend escape for many Aucklanders, Matakana is home to amazing farmers markets, small-production wineries and the most beautiful cinema I’ve ever visited.
Particular favourites of mine is the freshly-harvested oysters wrapped around local bacon at the markets. Or maybe it’s the Montepulciano at OBV. Or maybe a beer at the Leigh Sawmill Café and microbrewery a bit further up the road. It’s hard to say.
Bay of Islands
Russell, Paihia and Waitangi make up the townships surrounding the gorgeous Bay of Islands. You might remember it from the 2009 Season of the Bachelor, but its known in New Zealand for its abundance of history and sea life.
Waitangi is where the ‘founding document’ of modern New Zealand was signed between the British Government and Maori tribes. Although the Treaty of Waitangi is a controversial document, a visit there is a must. Russell, the old capital of New Zealand (before it moved to Auckland then Wellington) was known as the Hell Hole of the Pacific. Doesn’t look like it now, but the stories floating around are fantastic.
And if you don’t like history at all, the Bay of Islands is a perfect base for deep sea sports fishing, diving, swimming with the dolphins and spotting whales.
There’s not really very much at Houhora, and that’s the way we like it. A perfect spot to camp, relax, sail or fish. A very nice place to spend a week at the beach. And if you’re bored, try making your way up Mt Camel … I’ve never been able to get to the top.
Unlike all the others, you have to head south from Auckland to hit the Coromandel, although a flight is much quicker as the peninsula reaches all the way back up towards Auckland. A steep range of hills drop down to rugged coastline, some of it the most amazing sandy beaches you might ever see.
My favourite place to stay is out a Hahei: a lovely little beach-side town with some cracker restaurants. It’s close to Cathedral Cove, unspoiled because of the 20 minute walk you must make to get there. This is the setting of the first entry to Narnia in the recent Prince Caspian movie, and a wonderful place for a picnic and a swim if the swell isn’t too rough.
This guest post was supplied by Craig Martin, Kiwi and full-time traveller, as part of the #blog4nz project, to let you know New Zealand is still open for business. Read more of Craig’s New Zealand stories at his New Zealand travel page and hundreds of new stories on the Blog4NZ Facebook Page.