Central North Island Travel Stories blog posts

  •  The Priest Spa at Rotorua's famous Polynesian Spa complex.  © Destination Rotorua Tourism Marketing

    The Heat is On in Rotorua

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    When soaking in a magma-fuelled hot spring within a volcanic caldera I decide it’s best to adopt a philosophical air. Really, if the volcanic basin that is spread out before me in the form of a lake suddenly erupted, there would be nothing I could do.

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  •  Kamahi Cottage.  © Amelia Norman

    Coming Home to Kamahi Cottage

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    The sun is thinking about setting behind the rolling King Country hills as I wind my way through verdant farmland to Kamahi Cottage. As I drive, speckled cows glance up indifferently from their grazing. Two plump pheasants skitter across the road.

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  •  Amelia Norman flies high at the Freefall Xtreme, Rotorua.  © Agroventures

    Flightful Fun at Agroventures

    By Amelia Norman
    Monday, 28 September 2009

    “Three!...” The countdown begins. I hold my breath and clench my hands together. “Two!...” My eyes alternate between open – glancing at the ground 40 metres below - and closed, waiting to fall. “One!...”

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  •  A Maori warrior welcomes visitors to Mokoia Island.  © Wai Ora Experiences

    Legendary Paradise: Mokoia Island

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    The boat slices through the calm waters of Lake Rotorua. Ahead, I see the humpbacked silhouette of Mokoia Island rearing from the lake’s centre. As we draw nearer, the island’s beauty comes into sharp focus...

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  •  Rangitaiki River Rafting

    Wet 'n Wild in the Rangitaiki

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    In a split second, our huge white water raft flips and I tumble into the biting Rangitaiki River. For a disorientated moment I’m lost, underwater, in a jacuzzi of thrashing neoprene legs and flailing paddles.

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  •  A Maori warrior performs the haka at the Mitai cultural show, Rotorua.  © Amelia Norman

    Ready for some Culture?

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 16 September 2009

    In his long, feathered cloak, the chief is formidable. As he speaks in a rolling, fluid stream of Maori, the whites of his eyes glisten from his brown, tattooed face.

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  •  The path within Ruakuri Cave is adorned with stalactites and unusual cave features.  © Amelia Norman

    Waitomo: New Zealand's Underground Scene

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 2 September 2009

    In the depths of Ruakuri Cave, I’m surrounded by a smorgasbord of golden rock formations.

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  •  Marine Parade buildings in Napier, Hawkes Bay  © Gemma Dixon

    10 Reasons to Take the Kids to Napier

    By Karen Goa
    Tuesday, 25 August 2009

    Planning a visit to Hawke’s Bay for an Art Deco tour or a wine and food festival but don’t know what to do with the offspring?

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  •  Sheep, Agrodome Rotorua

    Tourism on the Sheep's Back

    By Amelia Norman
    Monday, 24 August 2009

    New Zealand’s got sheep. Lots of sheep. Millions, in fact. We eat them, we wear them, keep them as pets, sleep with their skins, and we wait patiently in the car while herds of them meander across our major highways.

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  •  Bay of Plenty New Zealand

    Plenty to do with a Day in the Bay

    By Amelia Norman
    Monday, 24 August 2009

    My hands are blistered, haunches are aching and I’ve got a serious hankering for honey. But what a day!

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  •  Blokarts lined up on a Bay of Plenty beach.  © Tourism Bay of Plenty

    Heaven is a Blokart

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 13 August 2009

    Science was never my strong suit. So when Garry Ingram, Track Manager at Blokart Heaven in Papamoa, tells me that what I’m about to do is “all about physics”, I instantly panic.

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  •  Emerald Lakes Mt Tongariro - Ruapehu Region (courtesy of Destination Great Lake Taupo)  © Destination Great Lake Taupo

    Tongariro Crossing

    By Judith Doyle
    Tuesday, 21 July 2009

    The Tongariro Crossing, central North Island, is described as "the best one-day walk in New Zealand". This tag appears on countless brochures and accounts.

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  •  Large spotted Kiwi, Otorohanga, Waikato  © Tourism Waikato

    Bushy Park Kiwi Creche

    By Helen Frances
    Monday, 20 July 2009

    On day one of a two-day visit to Bushy Park’s Edwardian homestead Dan Hurley, Bushy Park Trust’s Conservation Officer, offers an opportunity few could resist – an expedition through lush Manawatu rainforest to find a kiwi chick.

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  •  Amelia Norman visits White Island, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.  © Amelia Norman

    White Island: Where Nature Reigns Supreme

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 15 July 2009

    Dipping my finger in the milky stream I dab a little water on my tongue. “That water contains sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, gold and probably a bit of iron,” explains our guide Rachel. “How’d it taste?” she laughs.

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  •  Waimarino glow worm kayaking, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.  © Waimarino

    Welcome to Glow Worm Central

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 15 July 2009

    You’ve got to love New Zealand. Where else in the world would your tour guide announce he’s practically brand new in his role, divulge that he expected to be underwhelmed when he first did the trip on which you’re about to embark...

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  •  The giant kiwifruit at Kiwi 360, Te Puke.  © Amelia Norman

    Kiwi Culture

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 15 July 2009

    I select a giant kiwifruit and climb inside it. A Dutch couple sits quietly in the kiwifruit behind me. Bringing up the rear is an American family, nestled into their fluorescent green seats, chatting happily beneath the kiwifruit’s rounded brown top.

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  •  Waitomo's Black Labyrinth  © © Amelia Norman

    Waitomo's Black Labyrinth

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 14 July 2009

    Karl’s voice floats upriver through the echoey dark: "Basically, what we’re looking at is the snot and pooh from a bunch of cannibalistic maggots."

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  •  Amelia rides the Zorb down the zig-zag track, Rotorua.  © Zorb, Rotorua

    The Spirit of Rotorua

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 28 August 2007

    I think I’m going to be sick. I can’t tell top from bottom of this giant plastic ball in which I’m encased. It’s rolling faster and faster downhill and changing direction willy-nilly.

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  •  © ZEALANDIA

    A Kiwi Encounter

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 28 August 2007

    In the hushed darkness I hear a scratching. Something with claws is raking the forest ground fitfully. I tiptoe forward past tall, umbrella-shaped punga trees, eager not to reveal my presence. The scratching stops. I stop. Has it seen me? Silence…

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  •  The Priest Spa at Rotorua's famous Polynesian Spa complex.  © Destination Rotorua Tourism Marketing

    Hot Pools and Massage

    By Heather Hapeta
    Tuesday, 5 December 2006

    Despite first appearances, this is not the age of giant beasts in an ancient world but Rotorua, New Zealand: the pungent heart of New Zealand's geothermal activity.

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  •  Whanganui River - Whanganui and Manawatu  © Visit Ruapehu

    Canoeing the Whanganui River

    By Judith Doyle
    Monday, 18 September 2006

    Our all-women group of eleven aimed to canoe the Whanganui River from Whakahoro to Pipiriki - a distance of 88km. We were under the wing of one of the companies that guide on the river - an excellent decision for novices.

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  •  Flax leaves in front of a winter mountain, Mt Taranaki  © Josh Woskett

    Freewheeling to Taranaki

    By Karen Goa
    Saturday, 29 July 2006

    Helmets? Check. Leathers and boots? Check. Maps of the back roads? Definitely. The main routes are no place for a decent day’s motorbiking. We - my rider husband Ken, the Harley and I - are Taranaki bound.

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  •  Waikaremoana Falls, North Island  © © El Groo via Flickr

    Lake Waikaremoana Track

    By Judith Doyle
    Tuesday, 25 April 2006

    Primeval forest, an untouched lake plus Maori and early Colonial history - the Lake Waikaremoana Track combines them all in a stunning 46km-long trail.

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  •  Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay  © Venture Hawkes Bay

    Cape Kidnappers

    By Heather Hapeta
    Wednesday, 22 March 2006

    "It's absolutely amazing. I had no idea that you could get so near to them." Gary, from England, is astonished. "So close they're touchable!"

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  •  © Helen Frances

    Foxton Folk

    By Helen Frances
    Tuesday, 21 March 2006

    In small towns people with unusual interests and flair stand out. It’s the windmill that first catches the eye at Foxton, but the folk who run the Foxton Transport Museum and Doll Gallery on Main Street waylay me en route.

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