Our Favorite New Zealand Hikes

New Zealand is an amazing place for hiking, and Kiwis are hard core trampers. We spent six months between the North and South Islands and did a lot of hiking, along beaches, up volcanoes, and to wineries and glaciers. Here are some of our favorite New Zealand hikes.

Hiking Volcanoes in New Zealand

Since New Zealand is known for its volcanoes, we had to walk some of them! It means a lot of vertical walking, but there’s usually a payoff of a good view. The North Island has nine active volcanoes, and much of the land features like in Rotorua, are results of volcanic activity.

Here are some of the volcanoes we hiked in New Zealand’s North Island:

Maungawhau/mount eden, auckland

Mount Eden is a great hike to do when you spend a couple of days in Auckland. It’s conveniently located to downtown, and an easy walk to do without any hiking gear. As a result, it’s popular and can be mobbed with tourists on a nice day. Still, it offers nice views and there’s good restaurants and bars to reward yourself after the volcano hike!

hiking Mount Eden NZ
Lots of people on the footpath at Mount Eden
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New Zealand’s Top Attractions

After six months exploring one of our favorite countries on earth, we have some recommendations. This is our list of New Zealand’s top attractions, so you know where to go when you visit.

New Zealand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The country has world class museums and attractions, but there’s also a lot of hype, and you can’t do everything! Hopefully this list of what we loved helps.

Best Museums

We couldn’t talk about New Zealand’s top tourist attractions without mentioning museums. On a rainy or cold day, or the day after a long hike or bike ride, a museum is a good option. Some of New Zealand’s museums are among the best we’ve ever visited.

auckland war museum

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The Sail from New Zealand to Australia

I am still recovering from the sail from New Zealand to Australia. It was one of our longest passages and a challenging trip. The good news is we made it, and are now basking in the warm sun in Australia!

The Route from New Zealand to Australia

Our sail from New Zealand to Australia covered over 1200 nautical miles. We departed from Bay of Islands Marina in Opua, New Zealand aiming for Southport Yacht Club in Gold Coast, Australia.

Map sailing from New Zealand to Australia
Our route across the Tasman from New Zealand to Australia

Our route took us from the Pacific Ocean north up the east coast of New Zealand and then west along the north of New Zealand into the Tasman Sea to Australia. The Tasman Sea, known as “The Ditch” in sailing circles, is infamously rough due to the currents of the Southern Ocean colliding with those of the Pacific. So yes, we expected rough wind and waves and that’s what we got.

Rough Seas

From the first day until near the end of our passage, the waves were like a washing machine. Also known as confused seas, the waves came from every direction. To make it even more uncomfortable, there was no break between waves. The incessant confused waves made me sick a few times the first night and next morning, and I continued to feel sick for a couple more days. It wasn’t until late on the third day that I felt human enough to spend time inside the boat and to eat anything besides crackers.

A rainbow on the sail from New Zealand to Australia
We saw a few rainbows on the passage.
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Cycling in New Zealand

Soon after arriving in New Zealand, we bought a pair of used bikes for $50. It turned out to be an excellent deal, and we rode those bikes all over the country. Over six months, we did a lot of cycling in New Zealand. We cycled for exercise and to get around, from marinas and campsites. The bikes made life in New Zealand easier and better.

redwood forest, biking in New Zealand, Taupo
Our bikes on a bike path through a redwood forest in Taupo

Why walk when you can pedal, am I right? Nothing against walking, and the hiking in New Zealand is stellar, but you can cover so much more ground by bike. We love seeing the world from our bicycle seats: you get closer than a car, while much faster than walking. Still, we had to make some adjustments to cycling in New Zealand.

Getting Used to Cycling in New Zealand

We bought our bikes very soon after arriving in New Zealand, which helped get me used to using the other side of the road. After a few weeks of cycling in New Zealand, I was ready to drive on the left in the campervan. Overall, I found drivers in New Zealand pretty good with cyclists; I think they’re more aggressive towards pedestrians. We followed the rules and wore our helmets, stayed in bike lanes when possible, and everything went well for us.

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We’re Sailing to Australia

After over six months exploring beautiful New Zealand, we’re sailing to Australia. It’s always hard to leave a place as welcoming and wonderful as New Zealand has been, but we’ll always have the memories, photos, and friendships we’ve made here. After short hops in New Zealand, the Go crew is ready for the next voyage.

rear view from our sailboat, islands, wake
We’re leaving New Zealand behind and sailing to Australia

Why We’re Sailing to Australia

We are going to Australia for a few reasons.

First, we have a few friends living there who we want to see. Friends we met our first year cruising, and friends we met in Panama. Second, all the things to see and do in Australia, including great sailing, beautiful reefs, and great wildlife. We’ll finally see kangaroos and koalas! Last, we’ve never been there. But now we’re sailing to Australia and should be there soon.

Our cat is the reason we’re going straight to Australia non-stop. Having Domino on board was easy until we got to Fiji, when it got ridiculously difficult. Ever since last July, we have to go through bureaucratic hoops to make sure Domino is allowed in country.

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