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NZ Road Trip: To Auckland

NZ Road Trip: To Auckland

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Whitianga to Waitomo to Auckland via Highway 26 and 1

This post is a part of our series on our road trip through New Zealand. New to this series? Check out our first post here.

Glow Worms

Our time in the North Island was starting to wind down. We had two days left and we didn’t know how to spend them. We considered roaming around the Coromandel Peninsula, something our friends at KnochKnoch had highly recommended, but we felt we didn’t have time. There was one thing that we wanted to check out before we left New Zealand and that was the glow worms.

We were told that you can find little areas all over the country where you can spot them. We had seen a few spots advertised but many were in fields and you had to visit them at night. We decided we’d go and spend the money to check out the Glowworm Caves in Waitomo. Of course, we worried that it would be an overhyped, overcrowded, and overpriced attraction. It wasn’t cheap, but this was a Maori family-owned and operated attraction, so it was nice to support them. So it wasn’t cheap and a little crowded, but it was not overhyped. It is a beautiful place without the glowworms and even more spectacular with them. Our guide shared great information about where we were, what we were seeing, and its importance to the area. He even sang a Māori tune in the “concert chamber” of the cave (this chamber had such amazing acoustics that it was actually used for concerts).

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    A peek back into the glowworm caves

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    This factory was clearly designed based on the icon of a factory

After we walked through the caves we climbed into a boat where we took a short ride into a pitch black cave covered in glowworms. Everyone sat in silence taking it all in. I don’t think there was really much to say. It is something you won’t see anywhere else (that I know of). The only downside: no photos allowed in the caves. Only your own memory to record the experience. The upside is there wasn’t a ton of people constantly snapping photos with the flash on.

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    From atop the dormant Mount Eden volcano in Auckland

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    Another view atop Mount Eden

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    A view across the bay from Glover Park

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    Looking at downtown from Ponsonby Road


The next day we made our way to Auckland. We had contacted our AirBNB host and asked for a recommendation on where to go. He suggested that we drive along Tamaki Drive and up to Glover Park. The scenic drive hugs the coast through small seaside neighborhoods before coming to Glover Park. At the top of Glover Park there are sweeping views across the bay. It was a clear day and we could easily see many of the islands that dot the landscape.

After this detour we headed into the city center, specifically the Ponsby neighborhood. We were after food and this seemed like a good spot to find it. Ponsby Road has a bunch boutiques, salons, bars, and restaurants with a lot of variety. We had a nice lunch and some coffee before heading to our humble abode for the next few nights.

Western Springs

Our AirBNB was located in Western Springs, just a short train ride from the city center. Like most of Auckland, this neighborhood has a very suburban feel with mostly small, single family homes. Our place was very comfortable and we had a great host. When we arrived he even gave us a short tour of Auckland; just another reason staying with someone on AirBNB is a great idea.

We didn’t do much in Aukland since we were exhausted by the time we got here. Our next stop would be Hong Kong so we wanted to save money and take the opportunity to relax.

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