Hey guys! Today I have a guest post on New Zealand by Marie Nieves. Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. She is an avid lover of photography and regular author for several blogs. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.
Once I arrived to New Zealand, I knew that I had to explore as much of it as possible. I’ve never been interested in those regular tours where I was supposed to just follow a tour guide and look around. I wanted to experience this land of green scenery and rocky coasts my way. This is why I opted for the Northern Explorer train trip from Auckland, the largest city of New Zealand, to its capital, Wellington.
The journey was supposed to start in Auckland, the city of many attractive choices where you can experience something new and exciting on every corner, on Monday morning. I had decided to spend the Sunday before the trip visiting some of Auckland’s main attractions. The Sky Tower, a symbol of the city, was on my must-see list; so I headed there, full of excitement. I climbed the Tower in one of the glass-fronted lifts and went to the viewing desks where I could gaze over the city with amazement. Reluctant to leave, I decided to dine at the restaurant Orbit 360 where I took a table next to one of the glass windows. I was delighted with the fact that the restaurant rotates, so I could truly enjoy the panoramic view. Another landmark that I didn’t want to miss is the Auckland Harbour Bridge that was built in 1959. After the Bridge climb, I spent the rest of the day strolling down the city’s streets. Next morning, I headed to the Auckland Strand Station to start one of the most amazing journeys of my life.
From Auckland, to the National Park
On the way to the National Park, I admired the most spectacular scenery of New Zealand. Vast wetland, farmland, bush landscape and mountain views – even more picturesque that I had imagined. The train had un-tinted panoramic and roof windows that enabled me to soak in the gorgeous scenery. We made several short stops on the way to the National Park – Papakura, Hamilton, Otorohanga (Waitomo), with a slow and smooth transition to the Volcanic Plateau. The Tongariro National Park is listed as a World Heritage site, with its three active volcanoes of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu. I couldn’t look away from the fascinating slopes of these majestic mountains. Since I had planned to continue my journey the same day, I couldn’t stay for a day-hike over the Tongariro Crossing. However, as I definitely plan to revisit New Zealand, I will be getting in shape for this hike. The departure from the National Park was scheduled for 1 pm, so I savoured the time I had admiring the rocky scenery.
From the National Park, to Wellington
I got back on the train and went to the café to grab a bite and have a beer. As we descended through river gorges towards Wellington, we stopped for a while in Ohakune, Palmerston North and Paraparaumu. The landscape was no less breathtaking than during the first part of the trip, with the amazing sights of the emblematic silver fern and red flowers of rata trees. I could see the Cook Strait and the reserve of Kapiti Island from the train as we approached Wellington. Finally, we arrived to the capital city at about 7 pm, and I headed to the flat where I was supposed to stay. When travelling, I always go with the option to share accommodation with a flatmate, since it’s a great opportunity to meet new and interesting people. My roommate gave me some tips on must-see locations I should explore during the following several days, since I’d decided to stay in Wellington for a while. The next morning I started with a cup of coffee at a cosy local café, and continued my adventure.
Each of my journeys brings something unique into my life. My train trip across New Zealand was authentic and memorable, and I would never settle for less.