The geothermal wonders of Rotorua
You’ll probably want half a day to get to, explore and return from Rotorua, but with an early set-off or a hotel-pick up with a tour group, you can easily return in time for a much-needed shower before bed.
Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activity, which makes itself apparent in many ways. Dip into the bubbling hot water pools, slather on the therapeutic mud and watch as geysers erupt.
Aside from that, explore the buried village and wander through some of the country’s top scenic gardens.
The hobbit homes of Middle Earth
New Zealand is home to beautiful scenery, cute kiwis and many of the locations used in the Lord of the Rings films.
If you’re a fan, a day trip to see the set of Hobbiton is easily done from Auckland. Most guided tours state eight hours for the day, which will take you from your hotel to hovel and back to your hotel.
The village is bigger than you may expect, with 44 hobbit holes (and The Green Dragon Inn) to explore. Tickets for Hobbiton are best value when you take the two-hour guided tour of the set.
If you join a tour group to Hobbiton, you can expect a couple of breaks on your journey to see beautiful lakes and quaint villages.
The glowworms of Waitomo Caves
Just south of Hamilton is the town of Waitomo, most famous for its caves that come alive at night when its wormlike inhabitants begin to glow.
Walk through the majestic limestone caves by day, get a boat tour by night or sign up for black water rafting or ziplining to add a bit of excitement to your trip. It’s one of the best adventures you can have in all of New Zealand.
It’s a three-hour drive from Auckland to Waitomo and there are plenty of tours available if you want to sit back and relax. Many of these tours can be bundled with others, such as day trips that include Hobbiton or Rotorua.
The wine of Waiheke Island
Waiheke is commonly nicknamed the island of wine and a day trip will quickly show you why.
With around 30 wineries on the island, mostly specialising in reds, you’ve got plenty of options. Aside from wine, there’s locally-grown produce such as olives to sample, a historical village to visit, laze on the beach or browse the art at Connells Bay Sculpture Park.
If you’re going to enjoy the produce of the island, it’s recommended you join a tour or have a designated driver for the day. Guided tours mean you’ll be whisked around the island to different boutique vineyards (with tasting fees included) and you’ll have safe transportation back to your hotel.
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