Tag Archives: north island

NZ North Island – The Video

Here is the long awaited video about the last part of our trip in New-Zealand (that suffered from a bad computer crash;-(

After a dream road-trip in the South Island, we continued the exploration in the North Island, discovering the beautiful natural wonders of the center near Rotorua, going west to Raglan‘s world famous surf spots, and going to the east Coromandel peninsula that showcases some of the most stunning beaches on earth.

Enjoy this breathtaking video with lots of aerial footage giving an unusual angle on NZ’ beauties!





NZ North Island: Raglan surfers’ dream

We had a dream stay in Raglan, a place I first visited  17 years ago (makes me feel old…) and that completely mesmerized me at the time with its perfect surfing point-breaks and hippie vibe…

17 years later, the charm is still intact! The family stayed in the Solscape Lodge, a very special place where backpackers come from all over the world, and sleep in train wagons! It was great coming back to this place so many years after, and meet all those travelers who come here to share the same things: good waves, beautiful nature, and meet cool people! Kids could live that special feeling for almost a week, living in the communal area where people cook, chat and dream until late at night.

Surf wise, it has been a dream. We arrived for the beginning of a clean winter swell, 2.5m at 17 seconds period… which delivered perfect waves for 4 days in a row on all the Raglan point breaks, from classic Manu Bay and up to 4 meters sets on the outside of Indicators! I got a few of those barreling beasts and got rides from outside Indicators to the end of Whale Bay in just two waves (I guess a kilometer of riding), until I got seriously punished and broke my board in two halves…. One less board to carry;-)

We could also enjoy some hikes (including gorgeous Bridal Veil waterfalls) and a great mountain biking trail around the Raglan countryside.

Good memories for the whole family! Raglan has definitely something special!

Now heading to Coromandel peninsula, our last stop before leaving to Australia.

North Island: Tongariro & Rotorua

After our ferry crossing from Picton to Wellington, we headed to the central mountains of the north island, first to Tongariro mountain range, then to NZ Maori cultural center, Rotorua.

The two experiences have been amazing. First, we went to Whakapapa (say “fakapapa” in Maori) to get the good weather window to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a famous one day hike to goes across many different geologic formations. And we got lucky to get the perfect weather. How beautiful it was to hike across volcano summits including Mount Ngauruhoe, moon like valleys, acid green lakes, original forest, 1000 m above the giant NZ lakes. 20 kms of pure enchantment. Probably one of the best hikes we had ever done…

Then we went to Rotorua to visit first Wai-o-tapu, the “Thermal Wonderland” of NZ which showcases many different geologic wonders like the “Champagne Pool” and several 100°C bubbling pools that sometimes merge with fresh waters to create perfect bathing for humans (with a little sulfur smell).

The following stop was Te-Puia where we could see the largest geyser in the southern hemisphere, as well as a cultural exhibition on the Maori culture that was way more interesting than expected as we always fear those traditional customs displays… But it felt quite authentic, and it was actually real fun to give a try to the warriors’ haka;-)
We completed the cultural journey by visiting the Rotorua century old museum that was telling the complete history of the Maoris across the Pacific, landing last in NZ around 1300 AD.

Now heading to the west coast to one of my favorite place on earth….