Monday, January 9, 2012

The Best of New Zealand (North Island) 2011

The Best of New Zealand
North Island 2011


The highest waterfall on the North Island is located near the small town of Matamata (an hour and a half south of Auckland).  Also nearby is the touristy town of Rotorua and Hobbiton where they filmed Lord of the Rings.  The track to the falls is a moderate 45 minutes.  The views are amazing!  If you desire, you may continue the tramp for an additional hour to reach the top of the falls.  This hike is Card#20120005 at

Blowholes are few and far between thus making this unique discovery all the more rewarding.  The winter months are the best time of year to view this natural phenomenon but even in the summer months, Piha Beach is a place of beauty.  Located about an hour east of Auckland, this black sand beach is a must visit. 

When I learned that this island was formed by a volcano only 600 years ago, my view on life instantly changed.  I mean, 600 years is a tangible number like Christopher Columbus discovering America.  It was quite special to witness trees, flowers and life flourishing here.  Oh, and the hike was pretty neat to. 

The drive is a bit detering, but this remote area offers beauty, peace and tranquility.  To date, this is my favorite, richest toned black sand beach that I've come across.  Words cannot explain it.  I just wish I had more time that day to explore further.

This Trailhead is located just up the road from Piha Beach.  The hike to the falls is a moderate 45 minutes.  This is a popular place for canyoneers to abseil.  Waterfalls usually lead to a scenic and rewarding experience.  Kitekite falls does not disappoint.  You may continue your hike through the rainforest to the top of the falls or head back like us and plan your next adventure.

This secluded black sand beach borders the Whatipu Scientific Reserve.  If you wanted to plan a full day beach hike, in theory you could probably walk along the Tasman Sea and discover an amazing coastline.  In the immediate area, you can take another short hike to Karekare Falls

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