New Zealand is a country I’ve been dreaming about for a very long time. How difficult it was to get a flight there … 2 years I was asking for this flight every month and only after 2 years I got it. New Zealand is very far from Ukraine and the whole world. So if I hadn’t flown with my current job there, I might have never flown. I was very happy when I saw the flight to Auckland in my roster (Qatar Airways fly to this city).
The flight from Doha to Auckland is 17 hours, and on the way back it’s even longer – 17 hours 40 minutes. It was my longest flight. Last year, I flew 16 hours to Los Angeles and it was endless. I thought this flight would never end. So I already knew it was going to be difficult, but gladly it was New Zealand – my new country – 49th from my list.
I knew I wanted to go either to Hobbiton, or to the Rotorua Geysers and also to Waiheke Island, where basically all the flight attendants go. In 2 days you will not have time to visit everything, but some places I still was able to see.
We arrived very early in Auckland and of course everyone went to bed. They woke up at 12 o’clock and usually everyone goes to Waiheke island on the same day. But not my colleagues … It is the beginning of spring in New Zealand now. The weather is still cold outside and it was raining, so no one wanted to go there at once. We agreed to walk around the city today, and tomorrow morning we will go to Rotorua, and later to Waiheke. I agreed, but I knew it will be difficult to visit 2 places that are far away in 1 day.
So our first day started at 4pm, as everyone wanted to get some more sleep, even though I hadn’t slept since 11am. We went to eat at a pub near the hotel. The hotel we are staying in is located in the city center, so everything is very close: restaurants, shops, and even the tower that we will climb later. My roomview was just on the tower.
I ate steak with mashed potatoes and after a while we went to the Sky Tower (that’s what the tower is called). Its height is 328 meters and it is the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere. We wanted to climb it during sunset, but as we were waiting for one girl, it was already dark. Entrance to the tower is 32 NZD ($ 20).
There are 2 restaurants in Sky Tower, one of which rotates 360 ° every hour and is located at the height of 190 meters. It is necessary to book a table in advance, because when we arrived, there were no vacant tables. But we still sat there in the cafe and tasted some wine from New Zealand. There are also three observation decks. The lower one is 186 meters high, the upper one is 220 meters high. There is a SkyJump at an altitude of 192 meters, from which bungee jumping is carried out. Construction of the tower cost $ 50 million.
Te Puia Geothermal Valley
The next day at 6am we were already waiting for a driver who drove us to the Rotorua geysers. There are 2 excursions. The first one is called Thermal Wonderland Wai-O-Tapu, price is $ 159. The second – Te Puia Geothermal Valley, price – $ 165. We chose the second one because it is shorter by 2 hours. I still want to go to Wajheke, remember? Although the first geyser looks more interesting, there is red water around the edges, but we still chose the second one. It takes about 2.5 hours one way to get there. We stopped only to take a photo on our way for 5 minutes. And by the way, we drove near the city of Matamata, where the famous Hobbiton is located.
I can write a very long article about geysers, but I will try to make it shorter. Te Puia is one of the most beautiful geothermal places in the world. There is also a boiling mud, and many geysers and even you can cook there, boil eggs, for example. The Maori, locals, once cooked food directly on a geyser. Now there is some equipment on which you can put your pot with a dish and cook. The Pohutu Geyser is the largest in the southern part of the world. It can reach 30 meters high. It erupts once or twice per hour. Although we were there not more than 1.5 hours, we still managed to see its eruption, which lasted at least 15 minutes. It was just an incredible view.
We also saw real kiwi there. Not the fruit, but the birds. All kiwis have a narrow long beak, no tail and wings are not developed, so they do not fly. They go hunting only at night. So they made a house there, for them to think that day is night and night is day. Otherwise they could not be seen during the day. Kiwi lives in only one country. You cannot find them anywhere except New Zealand. So they are the pride of New Zealanders. Their images are on the New Zealand dollar, as well as on the logos of many businesses and companies. New Zealanders got this nickname also because of the bird. The bird itself was named after a characteristic cry.
The thing that upset us on this trip was that we were driving for 5 hours both ways, and stayed there for 1.5 hours only. There was not much time to see the geysers. Although we managed to see the whole territory, but we would still like to stay there a bit longer and boil eggs, for example)) By the way, the smell there is not very pleasant. It’s a mixed smell of sulfur and rotten eggs, but you get used to it later)) Also, this boiling mud has healing properties. You can buy it and make yourself a mud mask.
Our guide was Maori. He even showed his amulet to us. But we haven’t been with him for a long time, because there were many Chinese tourists, so we decided to split. You will understand that a person is Maori by their appearance. They all have a huge face and the body structure is very big. They are different from everyone else.
Waiheke Island is very beautiful island. There are many vineyards on this island. I visited one of them. It is possible to go there from the port in Auckland. Ferry goes there every hour. My colleague and I barely made it. It took us about 45 mins to reach there. Ticket costs NZD 40. The view is simply gorgeous from the ferry. We passed by different small islands. Everything is so beautiful that i can’t describe it.
We went to one of the most popular vineyards there – Mudbrick Vineyard. We decided to walk there, it’s about 30 minutes walk. But it started raining on our way. And by the time we reached there we were wet and cold. There at the restaurant I ordered fish, different types of cheese and of course a glass of white wine, which is made here. After sitting there for a while, we met our colleagues from Malaysia. I would gladly go there again, because I saw only a small part of the island.
Nature in New Zealand is truly incredible. They have everything. Beach at the islands where you can try diving and surfing… active volcanoes, mountains, ski resorts, geysers, national parks … This country is a love at first sight! I dream to go there again, but for a longer period.