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Shannon Kircher's New zealand road trip

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Highlights for our impending road trip around New Zealand's North Island.
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11 Shakespeare Rd, Bluff Hill, Napier 4110, New Zealand
Napier is known as the Art Deco capital of New Zealand (and probably the world). Yet there's more to this North Island city than white-walled tires, funky hats and oddly-proportioned buildings. The Cabana is an institution in the Southern...
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126 Broadway, Matamata 3400, New Zealand
Welcome to Middle Earth in the South Pacific, and an ideal stop for traveling fans of the author J.R.R. Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie trilogies. Near the rural town of Matamata—itself a destination for its LOTR-inspired...
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585 Waitomo Caves Rd, Waitomo 3977, New Zealand
Waitomo, on New Zealand’s North Island, is known mostly for its glowworms. This is one of the few places in the world where they exist and millions of visitors descend onto the village every year to walk through the dark caves and see the sparkly...
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22 Customs St E, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Nicknamed "the Shaky Isles" after Australians experienced many of the famous New Zealand earthquakes, the name stuck with this popular cafe in downtown Auckland. Tucked away next to the harbor, this unique cafe serves up some of the best coffee in...
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Wellington, New Zealand
I still owe my best friend millions for introducing me to Wellington's Cafe L'Affare while I was working in New Zealand. Founded in 1990, this quintessential cafe is cozy, delicious and gourmet ground breaking. What are your food choices, you ask?...
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50 Mayoral Dr, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Aotea Square is a large main square right smack in the middle of downtown Auckland. Located near plenty of shops and cafes, it's a great spot to meet with friends, listen to live music, and get to know Auckland. Heading toward Queen's Street,...
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Rotorua, New Zealand
Before traveling to Rotorua, everyone will warn you that it smells like rotten eggs. Don't be put off, that's only because of the amazing geothermal features of the area. And the smell comes and goes, too. Sitting on a caldera, Rotorua has...
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Cape Reinga, New Zealand
Before arriving at Cape Reinga, near the tippy top of the of New Zealand's North Island, I heard about the waters meeting between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. I did not expect to be able to see the tumultuous relationship between those...
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Taupo 3377, New Zealand
Near Taupo are an amazing set of waterfalls and rapids called Huka Falls. An easy walk with plenty of viewing spots, at Huka Falls the turquoise green water thunders down the Waikato River headed towards the lake. Surrounded by lush forest and...
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Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand
The massive sandbar extending from Tauranga's harbor leads to one of New Zealand’s most beloved beaches at Mount Maunganui, known locally as The Mount. The white sand ocean-side beach is a surfer’s dream, and while an artificial reef was installed...
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1, 53 Courtenay Pl, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
My go-to spot for after-work drinks is the Library in Wellington, and no, not the public library. Right on Courteney Place, there is a nondescript sign reading "The Library" in front of a simple doorway with several staircases. If you know what to...
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Goat Island, New Zealand
Goat Island is just north of the village of Matakana and another ideal spot to spend a summer's day. It was New Zealand's first fully protected marine reserve so you don't have to go very far offshore to be surrounded by schools of fish. If you...
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Oriental Bay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
One of the incredible things about Wellington is how the city has evolved, sprawling along many of the beautiful harbors and beaches on the south coast of the North Island. This means no matter where you are in the city, chances are you aren't too...
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35 The Strand, Russell 0202, New Zealand
The Duke of Marlborough is a comfortable place to stay, but it's also a friendly place to eat if you're exploring the Bay of Islands. Fresh seafood and friendly service. The outdoor patio is covered in the winter, and serves as a nice place to...