Come and tour with us as we explore the North Island of New Zealand, a trip we did in mid-October to mid-November 2009.

These slides give you the story of our travels.  There are other pages where you may buy a selection of photos from New Zealand

We flew into Auckland and hired a small car to take us around the Island.  We mostly stayed at Motels offering self-catering so we could cook our own meals.

In summary, we drove from Auckland to Rotorua, Taupo, Wanganui, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Coromandel, Auckland again, Bay of Islands and back to Auckland (24 days)

Here were some of the highlights of our trip. We first drove to Rotorua.

Rotorua city is renowned for its unique "rotten eggs" aroma, which is caused by the geothermal activity releasing sulfur compounds into the atmosphere. At Rotorua, we saw the Lady Knox Geyser at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland near Rotorua which is activated at 10:15am each day, and Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu – aptly termed aThermal Wonderland. The fully carved Wharenui (Meeting House), Te-Puia, at Rotorua was very instructional. “At Te-Puia, we tell our stories in many ways.” One of our most entertaining forms of storytelling is kapa haka (Māori performance art) and other cultural performance. The Prince of Wales Feather Geyser was a spectacular sight to see, just look at the photograph.

From Rotorua, we travelled south along the Thermal Explorer Highway towards Taupo for 27km (20 mins drive) and there we did a helicopter trip over the mountains.

We saw Mount Tarawera from the air. A major feature of the region is the dormant volcano of Mt. Tarawera which erupted in 1886 with loss of 153 lives. Lake Tarawera is the largest of a series of lakes which surround the volcano Mount Tarawera.  We also saw the Blue Lake of Mt Tongariro (pronounced 'Tong-a-reer-oh').  Then we flew over Mount Ruapehu (pronounced 'Roo-a-pay-hoo') which is one of the world's most active volcanoes (last erupted 1995) and the largest active volcano in New Zealand. It is the highest point in the North Island and includes three major peaks: Tahurangi (2,797 m), Te Heuheu (2,755 m) and Paretetaitonga (2,751 m). The deep, active crater is between the peaks and fills with a crater lake between major eruptions. The redness on parts of the snow is thought to be due to dust from the Sydney dust storms

When we landed, we visited Aratiatia Rapids where water is released from the dam every two hours during summer to feed the rapids.

One day we drove to see Mt Ngauruhoe  (pronounced 'Nara-hoe-wee' ) which is a conical shaped volcano in the Tongariro National Park, and then drove to the rear of Whakapapa village at the base of Mt Ruapehu.

You will see various other places in the photographs below, until we arrived at New Plymouth featuring the ever-present Mount Egmont or Mount Taranaki which is visible from the surroundings.

Another helicopter flight took us to see Mount Egmont (Taranaki) up close from the air. We spent several days towards the end of our tour visiting gardens around Auckland and then visited the Bay of Islands where, unfortunately, our string of blue skies ran out with some cloudy weather.

2009 Tour of New Zealand North Island

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