New Zealand- The North Island
Trip Start Jan 16, 2010
23Trip End Aug 16, 2010
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We arrived in New Zealand in Auckland bracing ourselves for the bitter cold, i was quite worried about Jenny as she really does feel the cold. However to our surprise we were greeted by lovely mild sunny weather. We stayed in a hostel and explored Auckland in the evening before yet again picking up another campervan the following day that was to be our home for the 3 weeks. As per Australia i booked a camper with a toilet and shower to have complete freedom on the road. Now, to say our camper was a downgrade on our previous camper is an understatement. Lets just say we christened her "shitbin", a creaking knackered excuse of a van that suffered from condensation and had an engine as weak as a new born kitten. It has a manual choke for god sake! As we hit the road i quickly realised that the engine had a top speed on the flat of 80kph, one day i swear i was overtaken by an old woman on a disability scooter
On the way to Rotorua we visited the Waitomo caves made famous by the glow worms that inhabit them. You have a brief walk around the cave before going on a short boat ride passing under thousands of worms in the dark, its similar to floating through space i imagine.
Rotorua is a hot bed of Geothermal activity and hence, has a lovely eggy smell of Sulphur, steaming hot pools and geysers that can be seen from all different angles. The town is based around a huge lake. We quickly booked up for several trips including visiting a thermal wonderland and a mauri evening. We decided to stop at a caravan site next to "the blue lakes". We checked in and set about a 2 hour walk around the lake. The lake was beautiful and in parts looked like a Thai beach with beautiful emerald and blue waters. We sat by the lake side and soaked up the evening sun before heading gently back to get picked up for our Mauri evening.
The Mauri evening consisted of a traditional meal cooked under the ground and a Mauri concert full of dancing and Haka's in a replica village
The next day we decided to move on and the next stop was to visit a thermal wonderland. I do not know what we were expecting but we were really impressed. 3km's of amazing geothermal spots, multicoloured pools of minerals and steaming hot sulphur and mud. The smell was a bit much at times, but having never been to an active geo thermal spot before we really enjoyed it. Next up, we decided to climb a mountain just a short 3 hour return walk up 'rainbow mountain' but it was bloody tiring and bloody steep!
Later that day we had booked in to stay at a caravan park that had natural thermal pools. We spent the day at the most amazing campsite, bobbing in and out of six hot pools that varied in temperature all the way up to 40 degrees. The water is 98 degrees as it comes out of the thermal spring but it is mixed with a cold water spring. The water was really silky and the warm water was so nice we didn't want to get out and it was also soothing our aching muscles!
The next morning we couldn't resist another dip before we checked out and continued on our journey to Taupo. Taupo is the skydiving capital of the world and we had planned to do a skydive there. Unfortunately the good weather broke and the day was a complete wash out! we spent the day chilling out and learning about bees and how they make honey (jenny now wants to keep bees when we get back). We topped the day off by going to the Cinema at night. We camped by a lovely river and woke to a lovely misty morning with a layer of haze hovering . We decided not to hang around in Taupo and make the drive down to Wellington to catch the ferry across to the south Island. We got to Wellington around 3pm and booked ourselves onto the ferry at 9pm. We spent the rest of the day pottering around wellington which has to be the windiest city in the world, it certainly lived up to its nickname...'windy welly'. We boarded the ferry, watched a few films and three hours later we were in the south Island.
Our time in the North Island was short, as most of the things we want to do are in the south island. We plan to do more on the way back to Auckland on our return leg.