PLAN YOUR NORTH IS­LAND ITIN­ER­ARY

Lonely Planet Magazine (US) - - Journal -

AUCK­LAND

An apt in­tro­duc­tion to New Zealand’s dis­tinc­tive blend of Pa­cific cul­ture and Euro­pean her­itage, an a‰er­noon on Waitem­ata Har­bour with Waka Quest is more than a sun­set cruise: it’s an ABC on Maori cus­toms ($118; wakaquest.com). Catch up on sleep at Ho­tel DeBrett, a bou­tique ho­tel with eclec­tic Kiwi fur­ni­ture and art (from $275; hotelde­brett.com). A‰er a good night’s rest, pick up your ve­hi­cle and start your trip.

PIHA

Drive 25 miles west via the Auck­land sub­urb of Ti­ti­rangi along Scenic Drive for about an hour to reach the com­mu­nity of Piha. Usu­ally, you won’t have to look far for Zen Wallis and his dad, Phil, who run the Piha Surf School (about $50 per per­son for a group les­son, in­clud­ing gear rental; piha surf­school.com). Lyons Rock B&B, with great ocean views, is one of the few guest­houses in the area ($118; lyon­srock­bandb.co.nz).

WAIT­OMO CAVES

The 140-mile drive from Piha to the caves takes around three hours. Spend the night at Wait­omo Top 10 Hol­i­day Park ($20 for a pow­ered site; wait­o­mopark.co.nz). To get the best out of the cave sys­tem, block out all of the next day. Ra‰ through its pools with the Leg­endary Black Water Ra ing Co. (from $110; wait­omo.com), and take a guided boat or walk­ing tour to see the glowworms (from $40; wait­omo.com).

TAUPO

See the work of De­lani Brown at the Taupo Mu­seum ($4; great­lake­taupo.com). Clear and breezy a‰er­noons are best spent on the lake with Dave Nes­bitt aboard his twom­asted boat, Fear­less (from $24; sail­fear­less.co.nz). Park at Taupo DeBretts Spa Re­sort, a camp­ground with ther­mal pools ($15 for a pow­ered site; taupode­brettsco.nz). The next day, grab break­fast at L’Arté Café ( larte.co.nz).

RO­TORUA

Spend a day or two ex­plor­ing vol­canic Ton­gariro Na­tional Park ( na­tion­al­park.co .nz) be­fore driv­ing two hours north to Ro­torua. The best ex­am­ples of gey­sers and blis­ter­ing mud pools can be found at Wai-O-Tapu Ther­mal Won­der­land ($25; waio­tapu.co.nz) and Te Puia (from $38; tepuia.com). En­joy a night of lux­ury at Black Swan Lake­side Bou­tique Ho­tel (from $410; black­swan­ho­tel.co.nz).

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