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Travelling To New Zealand In 9 Days

Can you travel the north island of New Zealand in just 9 days? Yes. You can. I know this because I did it. It sounds crazy, perhaps even foolish. You might be wondering if I even had the chance to experience anything while I was there. The truth is, I did TONS and I genuinely enjoyed the entire duration of my trip. I thought I would write a post about this because most of us don’t have extensive time off to explore exotic places that are far away. But let me be your perfect example of short-term far away travel.

Here’s how I did it:

  • My boyfriend and I booked our flights’ WAY in advance and got a great deal. We went in New Zealand’s late spring, which wasn’t a bad experience. We flew into Auckland and reserved a camper van (RV) and I used my blog to get a discount (not even kidding). We booked our campervan through Mighty and they were great!!
  • I planned our entire road trip in advance. Traveling New Zealand by campervan is the best way to go.
  • You lose two days going to New Zealand and gain one day coming back. REALLY important to keep in mind when planning everything. Also, if you are Canadian, I highly recommend planning your layover in Canada (Vancouver) because you don’t have to go through customs and are less likely to miss your connecting flight should you connect through the States
  • Give yourself 1-day cushion in case you decide to stay somewhere random (which we did). Also, the driving time between places is LONG. Longer than you expect. My boyfriend Bryon and I spent a lot of time driving.
  • Save one night for a local recommendation – this is a great idea because locals know some great spots that you may not have considered.
  • Book tourist attractions in advance (For example…Black Water Rafting and other popular high-adrenaline tourist stuff.)
  • Make your own meals as often as possible because New Zealand is not cheap.
  • Wake up early to make the most of your day. Bryon and I woke up at 6 AM every day and usually were in bed between 9pm-11pm at night. No regrets.

In terms of how we planned the trip, I think we were really efficient and made the most of the 6 days we had on the North Island. We started in Auckland and immediately got our camper van and drove 5-6 hours (very tired and jet lagged) to the north of the island to Bay of Islands. Here, we stayed at a holiday park for the night in Paihia. We went sailing the next morning (recommend sailing with this guy – best part of our trip).


 

Auckland New Zealand

 

After our sailing trip, we then headed south of Auckland stopping at a holiday park to sleep and arrived at Hot Water Beach the following morning. This was our next planned destination. We loved it here so took a gamble on our cushion day and spent the night so we could enjoy the thermal baths at low tide on the beach. Our trip then led us to Rotorua. Initially, we planned 2 nights here because it’s a very popular tourist destination. Luckily, we used our extra night for Hot Water Beach and stayed in Rotorua for one night. This city is full of geothermal activity and high-adrenaline activities. However, there is a very strong sulfur smell throughout the city and it ended up making me very ill. We spent the night outside of the city at a holiday park on Blue Lake, which was very beautiful and thankfully lacked the sulfur smell. Rotorua is basically the Niagara Falls / Myrtle Beach of New Zealand. Very touristy and very expensive.

After Rotorua, we had a planned stop in Waitomo to try Black Water Rafting. This is really all that is in Waitomo, so I don’t recommend planning to camp here unless you have a lot of time. Black Water Rafting needs to be booked in advance, but it was such an amazing experience! After we finished rafting we drove on to Piha (local recommendation) where we experienced one of the gems of our trip. This stunning black sand beach is a surfer’s paradise and surrounded by beach homes that rest of the hills of the mountains that surround it. It’s absolutely amazing.

 

Auckland New Zealand

 

This left us with two nights in Auckland. Auckland is a large city, and there is much to be explored. I don’t think you would need more than two nights here, though. There are wineries on an island just a short ferry ride from Auckland, there are opportunities for sailing and of course dining and entertainment.

Since we planned the logistics of the trip in advance, there was lots of time to truly enjoy the experience without feeling overly rushed. Driving through the country really made us feel like we ‘saw it all’. The landscape of the country itself can be considered a destination because it’s just absolutely beautiful. My trip is a great example that you can travel to faraway places for a short duration and still see everything. You can watch a video of my trip to New Zealand HERE.

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Author Description

Caitlin Melvin

Caitlin is the type of girl who will surprise you. She has a love for fashion and beauty but most weekends you will find her playing weekend warrior headed on some crazy adventure with a GoPro and a camera in hand. She is a seasoned traveler, lives an active lifestyle and is happiest outside - generally in the woods. She loves camping, taking her paddleboard to new locations, playing in the snow and lives life for new experiences. Follow her journey! @Caitlin Melvin YouTube @Caitlinalison Luella Pearl Blog

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