A lot of people will book a month away in Australia and due to the flight route, they may have to go via New Zealand, and they often just want a “taster”, and stop for a few days.

While my philosophy is to give New Zealand a proper visit – and enjoy the beautiful scenery and culture – my nature, as a travel agent, is never to miss an opportunity to visit somewhere new!

My last “short scoot” to New Zealand’s North Island was just that – but brilliant just the same. Yes – Rotorua is great, so is the Bay of Islands, and the Coromandels, all easily accessible from Auckland, but I chose Tongariro National Park and Lake Taupo.

About 3 hours from Auckland and situated in the dead centre of North Island, Tongariro is actually New Zealand’s oldest national park. The stunning beauty of Mount Ruapehu, 2,800m above sea level, can be seen for miles and miles. A typical volcanic cone shape, and snow capped – it dominates the view wherever you are. The park has hiking trails, easy and challenging like The Alpine Crossing, or if you are less energetic thermal hot pools, to soak and relax in.

Taupo and Turangi are fisherman’s dreams…. Turangi is the world’s best for trout, so wile away an afternoon in the fresh air fishing, walking, or soaking in a mineral pool.

You’ll be bound to work up an appetite for dinner ~ ours was at the Bayview Chateau Tongariro. A gorgeous dining room with views of Mount Ruapehu. This is where the crew of the Lord of the Rings stayed. In fact there’s a private cinema in the basement where they watched the days “takes” ~ and we sat snuggled in a big sofa watching a film that evening!

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From the Park to Taupo, we lunched at Hukka Falls and then skirted to Mata Mata and Hobiton (a chance to visit Frodo’s house and stand under the Party Tree!) before arriving in Auckland

Just a few days in New Zealand’s North Island, but some sights and experiences to last a lot longer!

If you’d like to know more email me: charmaine@hallmarktravel.com

Meet me in the gallery!