There are a million blog posts out there on the topic of solo travel. Other bloggers will tell you how to get over the fear of traveling alone, or why solo travel will change you. This type of post has become particularly popular in the last year, especially in the solo female travel niche. While I do encourage people to try solo travel, this post is not a how-to or a why you should travel alone.
This is just me saying I don’t know how to travel any other way.
I am fiercely, stubbornly, annoyingly independent. I’m independent to the point that I don’t even know how to be dependent (or how to ask for help or how to compromise). One time a friend offered to carry my bag and I immediately shot back “what’s wrong with you?” Because you know, when someone offers to do something for you, it’s obviously an insult.
The Coromandel is where Kiwis go on holiday. This scenic peninsula is located on the Eastern side of the North Island, not far from Auckland. It’s full of lush forests, rolling green hills, beautiful beaches, and small, quiet towns. It’s the perfect place for a vacation, whether you live in New Zealand or you’re just visiting.
The Coromandel Peninsula is a wonderful place to visit if you love the outdoors and a slower pace of life. It’s definitely a beach-lover’s paradise, as you’re never too far from a nice sandy stretch of coastline. The weather is sunny and warm during most of the year. However, don’t be surprised if you’re met with lots of rain in the winter.
I have a pretty strong connection to the Coromandel, since I ended up living there for a total of 6 months. Most of my time was spent in the Mercury Bay area, but I had a chance to explore other parts of the peninsula too.
This guide is simply a collection of my favorite places around the Coromandel, as well as a few things I think everyone should add to their itinerary. It’s focused on major hubs, so activities are listed under the nearest town.
The road to Milford Sound (referred to as the Milford Road) is said to be one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand. And considering EVERY drive in New Zealand is pretty scenic, that’s saying a lot.
The Milford Road is the 119 km (74 mile) stretch of State Highway 94 between Te Anau and Milford Sound. It’s the only way to get there, unless you’re hiking or helicoptering in, which is definitely an option. It’s located within Fiordland National Park, so most of the surrounding areas have been left relatively untouched.
As you’re driving the Milford Road, you’ll see mountains, lakes, forests, open valleys, and waterfalls. If you’re taking the road to Milford Sound, it would truly be a shame not to stop along the way to see all of the stunning sights.
While every turn has something beautiful to see, there are a handful of popular stops on the Milford Road. These will be the busier places, since a lot of tours add these in to their itinerary, however they are worth the stop nonetheless.
Here are 6 places to stop on the road to Milford Sound, map included
Before heading off on my year-long New Zealand working holiday, I had to do a lot of preparation. I had to get my visa, I had to find an affordable flight, I had to pack everything into a carry-on size backpack, and I had to purchase working holiday insurance.
I had trouble finding information about what type of insurance I needed for my working holiday. The New Zealand immigration website only said that I needed to “maintain medical insurance” for the duration of my visa, but that short sentence still left a lot of questions. I asked other travelers who had done working holidays, and they didn’t seem to have much advice. It seemed my only option was to just buy something and hope that I got insurance with proper coverage.
Luckily, I did figure it out. So instead of sending you off to figure it out for yourself too, I’m going to tell you why you need insurance for your working holiday, how to get it, and my top choice for New Zealand working holiday insurance.
Note that this article is written with U.S. citizens in mind. Visa requirements may be different for citizens of other countries, however it is generally required to maintain medical insurance for the duration of your working holiday visa. This article should apply to most visa applicants, but check individual country details.
There are a lot of “Must Dos” on most peoples’ New Zealand itinerary. Those usually include places like Queenstown, the Tongariro Crossing, Mount Cook National Park, and Rotorua. But most of all, a good New Zealand itinerary will almost always include cruising Milford Sound.
Visiting Milford Sound is something I knew I wanted to do way before I flew off to New Zealand. Every photo I saw of it felt dark, moody, quiet, and undeniably beautiful. Milford Sound looked so far away, so far removed from the rest of the world.
Without getting too abstract and gushy, cruising Milford Sound was everything I wanted it to be and more. It was, without a doubt, one of the best experiences I had in all of New Zealand.
Nothing gets me pumped for a big roadtrip like music. Having the perfect roadtrip playlist is one of my top priorities when preparing for my trip.
What I listen to depends on what mood I’m in. Sometimes I just like to listen to whatever fun, dance-y pop songs have been stuck in my head lately. Having an upbeat roadtrip playlist definitely helps me to stay awake on those long drives. I’m not always feeling the pop vibe, though.
When I’m driving out west, I can’t help but get faux-nostalgia and start thinking about stories like Kerouac’s On the Road. Suddenly, all I want to listen to is my favorite songs from the 60s and 70s. I love adding classic rock to my roadtrip playlist, and I always throw in some 60s psychedelic jams. You know, anything that reminds me of the era of love, the era of rock n’ roll, the era of a new America.
Not that I was there, but like I said: faux-nostalgia.
This playlist is a mix of all that. It’s a mix of Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Simon & Garfunkel, and tons of other artists that are quintessentially 60s.
Add these songs to your Spotify playlist or make an old-fashioned mix CD (which is what I do), and hit the road!