In December J and I decided to take a short holiday to the North Island of New Zealand. A few months prior to the trip we were brainstorming mini trip ideas where we could camp, go somewhere new and fly reasonably cheap. As our Christmas holiday plans were low key we thought an early December trip before the holidays would be perfect. I was given (gifted) the task of coming up with a destination and itinerary for a 4-5 day holiday. I focused my flight searches on Australian locations and after getting frustrated with prices I felt were too high for domestic I branched out and looked at islands. This exercise was mainly where I floated into a dream world thinking of all the places we have on our travel to do list. When I searched Sydney to Auckland flights though, Virgin Australia surprised me with a flight deal that was half the price of flying to Cairns.
Day 1: Auckland
We flew into Auckland mid-day and hired a car from the airport for the entire trip. We knew from friends and google the airport was about 30 minutes out of town so though booking cars from airports tend to have a higher fee, they can be worth cost. This was one of those times! Auckland airport has free wi-fi for the first 30 minutes so I signed in and immediately loaded my map with the route from the airport to the hotel. Tip – make sure you zoom in on the route and load the map of the entire route. Once you leave wifi and have no service the route and map will remain and the gps will still display your location.
We stayed at The Langham Hotel in the CBD of Auckland. I booked the room about 10 days before the trip through Wotif.com. We have used the Wotif Mystery Deal and were very pleased with the hotel we were given. If you are flexible with your travel itinerary and location, the Wotif Mystery Deal is a great way to score a deal on a highly rated hotel.
We spent the afternoon walking the hills of Auckland with no plans but to explore and enjoy the city. Once the rain started late afternoon we headed to the hotel to enjoy the rooftop pool and hot tub before dinner. We had dinner at The Federal Delicatessen, a NY inspired Jewish Deli. We started with cocktails – a “Green Grocer” for me which was The Fed’s twist on a gin and tonic while J sipped on a dirty martini. Both were delicious, crisp drinks which was a great start to our meals. We split the matzo ball soup, Meatloaf on Rye Sandwich and ended with a slice of the NY Cheesecake. The restaurant definitely had the NY deli vibe, right down to the bottomless drip coffee in diner mugs.
Day 2: Auckland to Hahei Drive
Our second day in Auckland was spent driving from Auckland out east to the Coromandel Peninsula for camping at Hahei Beach. We drove to Thames and then across the Peninsula to Hahei Beach.
We camped at the Hahei Holiday Resort and scored the campsite along the beachfront. This was a fantastic campground with full kitchen facilities, hot showers and great service. We had picked up groceries for a few days but decided to try a local fish and chips shop and eat on the beach for dinner. While eating J started feeling ill which turned into the worst case of food poisoning I’ve seen. (This was not from dinner but we think from a little breakfast place on the drive) I enjoyed a gorgeous sunset from the tent before tucking in to what would be one of the longest nights! Luckily he made it through the night and we were able to get meds and plenty of powerade in him the next day while I enjoyed the beautiful coastline.
Day 3: Hahei Beach
We were scheduled for a 5:45am kayak tour but when the 5am alarm went off we were still awake from Js sickness so I trekked down the beach in hopes the kayak tour would let us go later. Cathedral Cove Kayaks were fantastic not only in rescheduling us for the next morning but also throughout the entire tour. After getting a few hours’ sleep I packed J in the car and headed down to the Hot Water Beach. Hot Water Beach was beautiful but J thought I was torturing him as we had to walk about 500 meters from the parking lot to the hot spot on the beach. The water came boiling out of the sand and by digging little pools natural spas were created.
The afternoon was spent relaxing on Hahei Beach and exploring the coast. J spent the afternoon napping under the trees. The beach is stunning with clear water and gorgeous views.