North Island

The North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, separated from the slightly larger but much less populous South Island by Cook Strait. (Thanks Wikipedia) It has so much to offer, so many things to see and do, but in 3 days you can only try and pack some of the most popular ones in. Starting with Bridal Veil Falls, a waterfall located along the Pakoka River in the Waikato region. You have to walk down to what feels like 100 steps or more but you will  be glad you did when you reach the bottom to this view.

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New Zealand has some crazy things. Things that you hear about and think “What planet do they live on? This can’t be real”… oh but it is. Glow Worms, for example. GLOW WORMS!! There is little place called the Waitomo Caves. Unfortunately I didn’t get an opportunity to get a photo of the worms, but I did go  Oh you know…Black Water Rafting in the caves and saw tons and tons of beautifully lit larvae that look like constellations in the sky. Do yourself a favor and visit the caves, yes they are cold, but… Glow Worms!!

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Now, a normal person would plan an activity for the day, have some lunch, take a nap, and maybe enjoy have a relaxed evening? Not here, not in New Zealand, especially when you know you live across the world and wont be back in a while. We had a day busy day of exploring and doing: We started the morning in Hobbiton!
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We took the Hobbiton tour and really enjoyed our guide’s insight. There are a ton of facts about the movies and all the hard work they’ve put into this site that you would not otherwise know. I usually like going when it’s not too busy since I like taking my time to get creative with photos, and I didn’t feel too rushed, but when they have other large tours booked right in front or behind you it’s kind of hard to get just the right photo! I don’t like people staring at me when I’m trying to recreate one of my visions, but I got past it and tried anyway. DSC_0705DSC_0709

I don’t want to spoil the surprise and the best part of the tour, but…yes, there is alcohol and dressing up allowed! I was a little Hobbit!DSC_0719DSC_0723DSC_0732DSC_0733

It was a great morning, sunny and warm and even though I could have stayed there all day, we had other things to see and do. Thanks Hobbiton, you were all I expected and more!

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Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to roll down a hill inside of a plastic ball? …No? ..Neither have I. But the Kiwis did, and they are awesome at it! ZORB!!! You can watch some of it here!! —–>  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjoWcLc5IKc )

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Even though I had a full battery and was in heaven exploring and discovering so many beauties in this country we had come to our last activity for this trip, and there was no better way to say goodbye to New Zealand. Te Puia in Rotorua.
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Te Puia is Rotorua’s Thermal Reserve. They offer guided tours and is a fantastic option for learning more about their Maori culture.

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Te Puia has some of the most impressive geysers you will see. They erupt up to 20 times a day and you can witness the beauty right here in Te Whakarewarewa (pronounced fa-ka-re-wa-re-wa). Here in Te Puia they also have The National Carving School, The National Weaving School, where they display the work and methods of traditional Maori wood-carver and weavers, plus a carved meeting-house, a cafe, a kiwi reserve and a gift shop!

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As part of your Te Puia experience you will be enamored with the Hangi feast, or traditional Maori meal that has been cooked in a pit in the ground for four (4) hours.  DSC_0781DSC_0784

…And you will be invited to a real Maori village where you will have an opportunity to meet the chief and perhaps try dancing the Haka?
DSC_0785DSC_0787DSC_0793DSC_0797Thank you New Zealand, you were great to me. I will forever hold you in my heart.

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