What is it like to travel with the same group of people for seven days? What is it like to have a guide at your disposal 24/7? What is it like to explore New Zealand by happy bus? After many months of traveling on my own I decided to get out of my comfort zone and joined an organized trip. I was provided with accommodation in hostels, vegan breakfasts, funny and smart guide, and I shared the adventure with a group of people completely different than me.
WHAT IS HAKA TOURS?
Once there was a guy who wanted to show tourists his beloved country from the perspective of a resident. He set up a simple website, rented a bus and suddenly began to receive enquiries. This is how Haka Tours was established. Today, Ryan employs several dozen workers, has several buses and hostels. He organizes small, alternative tours for travelers who have enough of getting around the places solo, finally they want to chill out and follow a schedule, or want to explore New Zealand through the eyes of its inhabitant.
The greatest value of the company are its people – to be more particular wacky guides. Every day our guide Tom extended beyond his comfort zone and encouraged us to do so. And sometimes he even forced us ;). We jumped from cliffs, did bungee jumping, parachuting, we threw rubber boots from a distance and visited the caves on our knees. We always chose more difficult, longer, winding routes, which gave us incredible views and experiences. Our Kiwi guide went to great lengths to make all of us get along and despite many differences between us, it worked!
I decided to go on a 7 Day North Island Adventure Tour. The big advantage of this trip was that I saw a lot of places which I wouldn’t have reached if I had travelled alone, e.g. by car. As in my hometown Krakow, Poland I used to take people from couchsurfing to my hidden secret spots, so did Tom showing us his New Zealand secret places. And it was great! The group made up of 16 people; I would say that neither too many nor too few. However, during the first few hours I was like “what have I got myself in”… I didn’t want to talk to anyone, force myself to look for friends or smile. My sister was going through a surgery that day and what I wanted to do the most was to spend hours on skype talking to my niece. But you know what? Because I had great people around me I didn’t sit in a corner and cry. They made me begin to enjoy traveling again (in New Zealand I was going through a little crisis of homesickness and thus a prospect of spending Christmas thousands of kilometres from home upset me). They saved me! Sad song playlist went back to the backpack and I got my hands on the camera.
My 5 favourite moments:
1) TONGARIRO CROSSING
2) TRADITIONAL MAORI VILLAGE
3) SKYDIVING OVER LAKE TAUPO
4) PIG FARM
5) CATHEDRAL COVE
Auckland to Coromandel – exploring NZ’s biggest city before venturing to one of NZ’s most spectacular locations – the Coromandel.
Coromandel to Waitomo – exploring some of the most stunning spots of the North Island.
Waitomo to Rotorua – exploring a huge underground cave system lit by glowworms in Waitomo.
Rotorua to Taupo – exploring Rotorua’s geothermal wonderland.
Taupo – exploring New Zealand’s biggest lake.
Taupo to Wellington – exploring the lovely route to Wellington.
Wellington – experiencing the coolest little capital in the world.
I would recommend a similar trip, especially with such an organizer as Haka Tours. This team consists of curious and intelligent people with a passion for discovering the world. I think that such a trip is a nice alternative for people who have limited time for traveling. Have you ever been on such a tour?
Note: I received a 50% discount, but as always, the opinions of the tour remain my own.