A Few Must-Do’s in NZ

My friend Marc and I toward the end of our tramp around Rangitoto. The volcano can be seen in the background.
My friend Marc and I toward the end of our tramp around Rangitoto. The volcano can be seen in the background.

This past week has opened my eyes to more of the natural beauty New Zealand has to offer. It’s no wonder why Kiwis have been calling it God’s Own Country, or Godzone, for over 100 years.

A few days ago, a large group of us planned a day trip out to Rangitoto Island to climb the youngest volcano in New Zeland, which emerged from the water roughly 600 years ago. We took the twenty-minute ferry ride over to the base of the volcano. It was only a few kilometers to the summit, but it sure was tiring. The elevation increased hundreds of meters by the time we reached the top. The views at the summit were remarkable, but as many people say, pictures do not give this beautiful country justice. If you are spending time on the North Island, be sure to add Rangitoto Island to your itinerary.

Cathedral Cove from the water.
Cathedral Cove from the water.

After experiencing Rangitoto’s sheer beauty, I had a strong desire to quickly experience more of what the North Island had to offer. With this in mind, we decided to venture around the Firth of Thames and on up to the Coromandel Peninsula. Supposedly, the best way to experience the Coromandel is via kayaking. Considering this, a group of us scheduled a three-hour kayak tour in Cathedral Cove and it was the most enjoyable three hours I have experienced in New Zealand. This area is home to many scenes from “The Chronicles of Narnia” movies! The water was as clear and smooth as glass. There was one point where we were kayaking in 50-feet-deep waters and the ocean floor could be seen clearly. The tour was located on the Hahei Nature Reserve where fishing isn’t allowed and nothing can be taken from its beaches or waters. This resulted in some remarkable marine life. Following these two trips, I was extremely drained but so deeply satisfied with what I had seen and learned.

One of my favorite aspects about NZ. So many islands scattered throughout the water.
Bright and early kayaking in the Coromandel. One of my favorite aspects about NZ – the islands scattered throughout the water.

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