In our second part of the journey through the North Island we visited the nice little town of Rotorua. Rotorua is also world famous for white water rafting so I could not miss the opportunity on this one. Rafting rapids are classified from grade 1 – 6 where grade 6 means it is unraftable because it is too dangerous. The Kaituna River has rapids of grade 5 so you can imagine that we got the shot of adrenaline which we paid for. And to make things even more amazing, the Kaituna also has the highest commercial raftable waterfall in the world, a spectacular drop of 7 meters. This was definitely one of the craziest rides of the trip so far.
Another memorable experience was the hike which we made after leaving the region of Rotorua. The hiking trail is called “The Tongariro Alpine Crossing” and is rated to be in the Top 10 day hikes in the world. After looking at the pictures, I’ll let you judge if the rating is exaggerated or not. The trail runs near an active volcano and lakes with incredible emerald water. In fact they are even called the “Emerald Lakes”. Because the last time the volcano erupted was in November 2012 parts of the trail are still closed and you cannot get closer than 3 km to the volcano because of the danger of volcanic flying rocks.
As a final stop on the North Island we arrived in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital which was described by Lonely Planet as being “The Coolest Little Capital in the World.” Because it is situated near the Cook Strait which divides the North Island from the South Island it gets a lot of rain, on average it rains 159 days per year. But we got the lucky shot and the weather was just perfect for one day of sightseeing and relaxing on the docks.