Auckland, Waiheke Island, and Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
New Zealand had a reputation for great people and stunning landscapes, and it is not undeserved. I spent a week in New Zealand and there was no shortage of good times. The food in New Zealand is some of the freshest food I've ever eaten anywhere. I had amazing tapas, poke, and Korean barbecue while in Auckland. I also spent a lot of time walking the streets and saw some beautiful sights and views of the skyline.
While in New Zealand, I also went on a wine tour of the gorgeous Waiheke Island and tried wines from several different wineries as well as oil from an olive oil mill. It was really interesting to hear about the traditions of wine and oil making in New Zealand and it was my first time drinking wine at a vineyard, so it was a really special experience!
I also rented a car to drive up to Waitomo Caves to see the glowworms, which was crazy amazing. The drive itself was terrifying, as it was my first time driving on the left-hand side of the street. My roommate Sebastian ended up doing most of the drive because I was so scared. We went the wrong way around a roundabout during the drive and got pulled over, but it all turned out ok. When we got to Waitomo, we did a cave tour with Black Water Rafting.
The tour started with rappeling down into the cave. We then jumped down into the cave river with tubes and went tubing down through the cave until eventually climbing up and out of the cave further down the river. It was an unforgettable adventure and the cave was astonishingly beautiful. Our guide took some pictures and we even saw an eel in the cave!
After my roommate left, I spent a few more days exploring Auckland. I really enjoyed the beaches and the amazing Auckland Zoo, where I saw a kiwi bird and a Tasmanian devil for the first time. New Zealand definitely lives up to the hype. There are many amazing things to see and do and the food especially is incredible. I look forward to my next time exploring the country.