New Zealand in 21 Days
Feb-Mar 2007

Our 3-week trip to New Zealand started with flights from Toronto to Philadelphia to San Fransisco and finally to Auckland on Air New Zealand. Our first stop in Auckland was the EZY Rental location near the airport to pickup our older model Toyota Corolla. Before we could start our road trip we first had to stop at New Zealand's discount retailer called "the warehouse" to look for inexpensive camping chairs and a styro-foam cooler. The Warehouse had neither but the Super Saver grocery store next door had some of what we needed. With some food and basic supplies we started our 21 day road trip by heading north.

Day 1-2 Hwy #1, New Zealands main cross-country highway, led us north to Whangarei where we booked a diving and snorkelling cruise to Poor Knights Islands. We drove a bit further to Tutukaka to spend the night and be close to the diving boat that would take us to the Poor Knights Islands the next day. After diving on day 2 we stayed the 2nd night at the same holiday park in Tutukaka.
Day 3-4Day 3 started with no specific destination in mind. We headed south and finally decided to head towards the east coast to find a nice beach. Our first stop was Waihi Beach but the weather wasn't suitable for the beach today so we continued further to Mount Maunganui. Two nights here gave us a chance to do the hike to the top of the Mount Maunganui and to spend time at the beach.
Day 5Our destination on this day was Rotorua. We spent a number of hours on the Wai-O-Tapu "Thermal Wonderland" self-guided walk viewing the numerous volcanic features.
Day 6-7The next two nights were spent at Tongariro National Park so that we could spend day 7 hiking the famous Tongariro Crossing - a 6-7 hour hike up and over two volcanoes. It would have been a spectacular hike had the weather cooperated.
Day 8-9Days 8 and 9 of the road trip brought us to Wellington, and then to the South Island on the Bluebridge ferry. From the ferry dock in Picton we headed west to the west coast town of Westport.
Day 10Today we travelled the road south along the west coast to Franz Joseph Glacier. Here we walked the trail to the end of the glacier. Further south we stopped at Fox Glacier for the night.
Day 11We started the day at Lake Matheson trying to get a good picture of Mt. Cook reflected in the lake. Then we drove east to Queenstown where Brent did his first bungy jump!
Day 12-13Day 12 was spent driving between Te Anau and Milford Sound. The weather was great and the scenery was absolutely beautiful! Day 13 started with a boat cruise on the Milford Sound and then finished by driving to Kaitangata, a small town near the east coast.
Day 14On this day we drove north along the east coast to Akaroa. Along the way we made stops at the Royal Albatross Centre on the Otago Peninsula and at Moeraki Beach to view the Moeraki Boulders.
Day 15-16Day 15 is "Swimming with the Dolphins" day! The cruise from Akaroa brought us to a number of curious Hectors Dolphins. Their curiousity brought them within inches of us as we swam around the boat in supplied wet suits. After the swim we had great fish and chips in Akaroa and enjoyed the warm, sunny day. From Akaroa we continued north back to Picton where we had arranged to take the ferry early on day 17.
Day 17Once off the ferry in Wellington we headed north to Waitomo in order to do the Black Labryinth Cave Tour with the Black Water Rafting Company.
Day 18Another beautifully sunny day as we drove north to Hamilton, east to Waihi, and then north onto the Coromandel Peninsula. We stopped at Hahei Beach to setup our tent and then visited the unique Hot Water Beach at low tide to enjoy the natural hot springs.
Day 19Today Sherri wet diving at Hahei Beach before we travelled the "309 Road" to Coromandel. Along the way we enjoyed a brief swim at Waiau Falls.
Day 20-21From Coromandel we drove back to Auckland where we took a ferry ride and did some shopping in downtown Auckland. And, sadly, on day 21 we had to catch a plane back to Toronto bringing an end to our 3-week road trip.