I was so excited when I knew I could have a 5-day trip around the North Island of New Zealand. The trip was with Stray Travel - the orange backpacker bus. These five days were an amazing experience for me. I feel like I got a refreshed me after five days because I did lots of things I hadn't done, or even dreamed of doing, before.
On the first day, we left Auckland and headed off to surf in Raglan, which is known by many as the surfing capital of New Zealand. On the way to Raglan, we passed a waterfall with a really beautiful name - The Bridal Veil Falls.
When you see the water falling down from 55 meters high, it is really like the veil of a Bride. We stopped for a bit in Raglan town and everyone was so excited about going surfing in the afternoon. It was a lovely sunny day which it made it even better. After some lessons and practice at Raglan Surfing School, we could start surfing. I never thought surfing would be that difficult, but when I carried the surf board and could not even take it through the waves, I realized that things that look easy sometimes really aren't!
We stayed overnight in the heart of the bush at a wonderful lodge and enjoyed a great first night together. I felt I was in wonderland when I laid down on the top of the hill, surrounded by glowworms and the stars, the only thing I could hear was the sea.
After a great cooked breakfast the next morning, we headed to Waitomo to explore the limestone caves. This day was the most fantastic day during this trip for me.
The activity we did is called "Haggas Honking Holes" with Waitomo Adventures (where we wore wetsuites with lovely white gumboots!). When I successfully dropped down from a 20 meter high hole, I felt so proud of myself. We went through lots of holes and dropped down waterfalls all 80 meters underground, surrounded by thousands of glowworms. I could not help thinking about how amazing this world is.
We stayed in a Maori village (Mourea) near Rotorua that night and were welcomed as though we were family. We shared meals and listened to the Maori elders talk about their myths & legends.
We were told there would be a surprise in the third day, but no one expected it would be whitewater rafting with Kaitiaki Adventures. When we knew the surprise would be rafting, everyone was cheering.
The rain made rafting even more exciting. We dropped down from a 7 meter high waterfall... that was fantastic! I found rafting is also a teamwork sport. You need to have good cooperation with each other to steer and control the raft, otherwise you could fall out or get in troubles.
After rafting we stopped at The Huka Falls before we went on to our next destination. Huka Falls is a fabulous waterfall with an incredible blue color. While there, we also explored the world's largest crater lake, Lake Taupo. We stayed overnight in The Park Travelers Lodge which is a great lodge with a hot spa.
On the fourth day, we left Tongariro National Park and headed off into the wilderness of Whakahoro. We enjoyed a night of serenity at Blue Duck Station. Even though it was raining, we enjoyed hunting in the bush so much. We got two goats and three rabbits in total. And the most amazing thing is we were so lucky to see one rare blue duck, even though it was quite bad weather. In the evening, after a fantastic goat curry meal, we sat around an open fire and reminisced about the amazing few days we had spent together.
The last day of this trip, because we got stuck in the bush, we were sitting, dancing, playing games and cherishing the last day we together.
This 5 day trip with Stray Travel means a lot to me, I really found a different side to me and I learned a lot. What is more, I explored New Zealand and I saw lots of amazing things that I haven't seen before. Last but not least, I want to say, life is just like travel, we never know what will happen in the future, the only thing we can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Enjoy the feeling on the way.