At some point in April 2016, I decided that the time had come for me to take a break from work and treat myself to an adventure. My husband could not agree more and encouraged me to go on a trip with my sister Jolie. Jolie jumped on the wagon immediately, so we started hunting for the perfect place to tour.
Through one of our numerous searches we discovered New Zealand and settled on this majestic country as our go-to destination. After reading many testimonies from frequent travellers, we had some idea of what to expect.
From there we made contact with an incredibly helpful New Zealand Travel Organiser, who made our vacation smooth and without a hitch. We had a personal list of things to do and places to visit, and although three weeks wasn’t enough to comb through the entire country, we tried our best to see everything we wanted to. We visited the beautiful city of Auckland and The Bay of Islands. We hiked through the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and also went sailing and sky diving.
Here’s a list of things of things we did while in beautiful New Zealand that you should consider doing as well!
Swim, walk, and drive through Auckland
Auckland is also called the “City of Sails” because of its many sailboats and ships that come in through both the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. As a result of small inlets, there are a ton of gorgeous beaches. Jolie and I knew we were in for a treat after flying over this sight on our way to Auckland Airport. In addition to the spectacular natural wonders, there’s lots of water activities to participate in and great places to visit including Mt. Eden and the Auckland Islands.
When in Auckland, it’s impossible to miss the iconic Sky Tower. This is not only because of its intimidating height but of its amazing beauty. Jolie and I literally had our mouths open wide in amazement throughout our visit. We were constantly wowed by the breathtaking views of the city. We spotted key landmarks and the 40 volcanic sites that existed in and around the city despite it being almost entirely surrounded by water. Having a meal and staring out at these sites was out of this world.
As someone who loves history, visiting the Auckland Museum made me connect and identify with the rich history of New Zealand. Auckland is only one city in this majestic country, but you might wonder if it houses all the tourist attractions in the country.
Go swimming in The Bay of Islands
As wonderful as swimming in the beautiful black sand beach of Bethells in Auckland was, it cannot be compared to the magic of swimming in The Bay of Islands. Why? Because I got to swim with dolphins! Swimming with these extraordinary creatures left me elated and feeling connected to nature. This was probably one of the most magical experiences of my life! I cannot say the same for Jolie because she was surprisingly scared of the dolphins. So while I had fun in the water with my new dolphin friends, Jolie discovered some of the surrounding islands.
There are about 144 islands that are collectively called The Bay of Islands, and their beautiful scenery, delicious food, tranquil waters made leaving a challenge.
Take a hike
During our tour, I remember laughing with Jolie when she noticed that my trousers were fitting loosely. Our activities in New Zealand had been keeping us fit while having fun, which was much different and far more pleasant than a rigorous workout session in a crowded, stuffy gym. So when we had the opportunity to take a hike in the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, we just could not let it slip through our fingers.
Being a movie person and an ardent lover of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, it was something I felt we had to do! This particular location had much appeal to us because it was one of the physical settings of these movies. Hiking through the Tongariro Alpine Crossing made us feel like part of the movie plots despite the fact that they were produced more than a decade ago.
The hike through the beautiful mountain slopes, the incredible volcanic lakes and huge valleys made the hike interesting and hearing other members of our tour group catch their breath further fueled our strength.
Bask in the beauty of Milford Sound
Milford Sound is one of the country’s most famous tourist destinations — and now I know why! It’s absolutely break-taking and a world of its own: calm, serene and magical. It rains constantly in Milford Sound and as a result it’s always glistening. We were lucky to have amazing weather in order to fully bask in the beauty that enveloped us. Milford Sound has high sea cliffs, blue waters and usually a crystal blue sky above.
Jolie and I had the adventure of our lives in New Zealand, and we’re definitely going to visit again if for nothing else but to do what’s left on our list.
In addition to the places above, we visited the beautiful city of Queenstown and the Marlborough Sounds where we went on a few scenic cruises. Some of our other adventures included skiing, sailing and hot air ballooning. When I returned home to England, we had tons of stories to tell, which made my husband hungry for his own trip to New Zealand.
The captivating beauty of New Zealand makes it a natural work of art and fits perfectly to its title of “God’s own country.” It is indeed a magical place to visit.