Recently I was lucky enough to travel around the North Island of New Zealand on a road trip, sampling the numerous delights of the other land down under. I want to firstly say I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all your tips – I saw parts of the island I never would have if it hadn’t been for you guys. Sadly I only had a few days and what with all the hidden gems you let me in on it felt like I needed a month (or better yet a year). By that’s life isn’t it?
Key takeaways from the trip: 1. The people were so incredibly sweet and also pretty hip (there were whole towns that looked like they’d been set designed by Wes Anderson). 2. The food was de-licious – clearly the kiwis have been busy cultivating an enviable foodie culture, and I guess all that amazing fresh produce helps too. And finally, no matter what people tell you or how much you google the place, the scenery will still blow you away. And we only visited the North Island – can’t wait to venture to the South!
Flight Centre is giving away an amazing trip to New Zealand worth $8,000! To enter simply follow @flightcentreau on Instagram, and stay tuned for 8 hidden daily letters. Once you’ve worked them out, create your own image to spell out the mystery word and post it on your account using #theNZspell, and make sure you tag the friend you want to take!
Update: The mystery word has been guessed (someone’s switched on!) so the challenge now is to spell out Haere Mai (Maori for ‘welcome’) in the most creative way possible and upload it to instagram with the hashtag #theNZspell. Comp ends May 18th. Goodluck!
Day 1 – 3: Waiheke
We spent the first few days on the absolutely stunning island of Waiheke, which is just half an hour from Auckland by Ferry. I have to say Waiheke was my favourite part of the whole trip – a lush island covered in wineries and the most gorgeous little bays to swim in. We had a delicious dinner at The Oyster Inn, spent a day at Mudbrick Winery and another afternoon at Stony Ridge winery for relaxed sunset hangs as well as loads of time at Enclosure Bay (such a pretty spot for swims).
Day 4: Coromandel Peninsula
We then took the winding coast road between Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula and were rewarded with yet more breathtaking scenery – rolling green hills that gave way to steep mountains and views over the towns and inlets. Stayed the night in Whitianga, and in the morning headed over to Hahei and hiked over to Cathedral Cove. Simply Magical.
Day 5 : Hawkes Bay & Napier
Next day we drove down along the Bay of Plenty, stopping along the way to see the gorgeous harbours and beaches, and then turning south towards Hawkes Bay. After a long drive we ended up in Napier, a town that was completely demolished in the 1931 in an earthquake, only to be rebuilt in Art deco style which exists to this day. We stayed at The Country Hotel and had a delicious dinner at Mr D.
Day 6 : Cape Kidnappers
The next day we headed out to Cape Kidnappers on the southern tip of Hawkes Bay – a dramatic and rugged coastline with jagged rock cliffs jutting out into the ocean. Here we relaxed after a busy few days at The Farm, eating yummy food and reading in what was the most luxurious part of our trip. We had lunch at Clearview Estate winery (thanks so much to all of you who recommended it) – we loved the vibes and wine. In the afternoon we hiked out to the Gannet Bird Colonies at the tip of the cape, starting from Clifton and walking out along the coast.
Day 7: Lake Taupo
The following day we headed back North and checked out Lake Taupo (so picturesque), including a little stop at Huka Falls and a quick lunch at The Storehouse (another hip hideaway) of bagels and coffee. We then headed on to Auckland in time for dinner.
Day 8 & 9: Auckland
The last leg of our trip was a stop in Auckland, a fun and (surprisingly) busy city that we both really liked. I know you guys were torn in the comments about whether to dedicate time there or not – but the appeal of a few good restaurants was too much to bear! I couldn’t fit all the Auckland details in here so stay tuned for a more detailed city guide coming soon.
In short, we loved our road trip – the food, the people and the scenery. Although, if you can I would add two days to this itinerary, I think it would give you the time you need to really explore (plus, more meals, yay!)
Our deck in Waiheke (pinch yourself)
Morning dips at Enclosure Bay
The cheeses in New Zealand were next level.
A picture perfect terrace at Mudbrick Winery
Hanging in the Olive Groves
A yummy lunch on the deck in Waiheke (so en zed!)
Stony Ridge winery
The days ended with this in Waiheke (sigh)
Leaving the island (sad face)
Driving over the Coromandel
Hiking to Cathedral Cove | We did so much in such a short time we had to constantly watch the clock!
Stunning coastlines in the Coromandel
Castaway kinda situation
Looking out over the Coromandel
Refueling at Mister D‘s | Art Deco Doorways (and everything else) in Napier
So many amazing hikes to do in the land of the long white cloud.
The moody forests of Cape Kidnappers
Breakfast (coma) at The Farm
Beautiful barn and windmill at The Farm
Basket as table = yes
The perfect place for breakfast when it’s raining outside.
There’s something so liberating about a road trip! Except when it rains and the sun sets at the same time and you can’t see the road and both think you’re going to end up roadkill…
Everything about NZ is saaa hip! | Yummy Bagels (and my favourite cups) at Storehouse
There’s always a sheep keeping an eye on you in New Zealand.
Can’t wait for our next NZ trip – to the South Island this time!
Typography by lovely Jasmine Dowling