On from Auckland at last!

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
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Trip End Aug 15, 2008


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Friday, February 1, 2008

Well what a hectic few weeks! We left Auckland not so long ago (time is a blur) and have done so much! First stop was the Coromandel once more. No free camping here so we drove right up to the top to a DOC self registering campsite and stuck our littel envelope of dollars in the box. The drive was something else - all dirt roads, slipping, sliding, antony had to give us a shove up the road! Pitch black by now and windy but thankfully we arrived safely and the three of us fell to sleep. On awaking we realised we were in a very pretty spot right on the beach - lovely! Antony and I then deserted Nemo and proceeded to walk the 7.5 km along the Coromandel coastal walkway - very nice. We then waved at the cows and people the other end before trudging back once more! On arrival back we were asked if we wanted to stay another night as it's a long drive anywhere else...? No no we cried it's all good - no time for resting and dashed off much to her dismay. Smelly, unshowered and keen to get to our new campsite we rolled into a beautiful bay and the alleged campsite - NO ENTRY FULL! It screamed at us - Grr!! On we drove past beautiful and empty car parking roadside rest areas (no camping - its the coromandel) and stopped briefly but my conscience got the better of me so on we went to the next township  - no no you cant stop at our campsite our office is closed - FABULOUS!! tried 3 others then gave up and found a parking bay with no no camping sign and had some sleep finally. Woke up to a notice suggesting they would impound our vehicle if we were so naughty again - but it's not like we didnt try to use your darn campsites!!! Oh well. Onward and up to hot water beach where the hot springs flow beneath the sand and at low tide you can dig yourself a hole and make your own spa - except today when the waves are too strong and you can't get at the springs....! Ah well, onward to our campsite.

Paying a whopping 40 dollars we had our campsite and finally a shower! Thankfully the site was right on the beach and next to the other coastal walkway we had planned to attack (a mere 8km there and back) to Cathedral cove. We set off down the walkway - now this was beautiful and stopped off at Emerald bay for the snorkel safari. Loads of exciting marine life with a snorkel trail mapped out by buoys with info on each. Having changed and got ready to swim we stepped into the water - antony looking a little cautious - to discover it was freezing, murky and no visibilty or other swimmers - deciding on leaving it for today we dried off and continued our walk - at which point Antony - who hadnt entered the water - mentioned the sting ray he had seen lurking near the rocks - cheers hun!!!

Cathedral cove was stunning and we spent a while chilling - i had a read while antony took photos from every conceivable angle then we started the wlak up and back only to realise that we hadnt actually been to cathedral cove but had been enjoying horse leg cove - the other side of the rock! Back down again and through the arch (rapidly filling with the sea) and to Cathedral cove itself - which was even more stunning! Luxuriated here for a while then trekked back to our campsite, a lovely walk.

Next morning had a fab brekkie in the 'lunar cafe' in town before heading back to snorkel emerald bay. Loads more people in the water and we did a lot of the trail but visibility still sucked! Ah well. From here back to hot water beach - still hard due to wind but we found some hot springs to dig our feet in and man are they hot!

Then onward to our final coromandel stop in karanghake where we rode the little train and walked some of the gorge. Finally a mad dash out of the coromandel down to lake taupo to join the wellington/auckland korf tournament. This was great fun and many mad drinking games, good games of korf and sitting in hot springs in lakes were had by all. After a massive hangover and farewells to friends we were off again to head back up to Rotorua.

Here w booked into Blue lakes top 10 - well worth the visit - very pretty and did our laundry, had showers and became human once more before eating far too much food in an all you can eat buffet.

Rotorua day 2 we went for a town walk and admired the crazy sulphorous stench and bubbling hot pools in the park. We also kayaked all the way round blue lake then met Emma and Carl for dinner at an old police station now a pub called the pig and whistle. A good catch up was had and much laughter.

Rotorua day 3 we packed it all in - Antony did a freefall extreme sky dive simulation, then we luged down the slopes of rotorua, then sledged down the river katiaki before having a mud bath and sulphur spa in the awesome surroundings of hells gate, finishing the evening with mussels and fish at the belgium bar in town before a good night's sleep in the spare room of the raedaelli residence (Emma's new home).

Since then we have been to Waitomo and black water rafted on tubes through glow worm caves and my highlight of NZ so far a night abseil into glow worm caves - bless them they shone like little stars - a truly awesome experience.

Enroute to New Plymouth We followed the 'Lost world highway' through some cool scenery and into Whangamomoana a place that has declared itself a republic following a change of border where it would have become part of another district. The population of 40 soars every other year on election day and previous presidents have included a pony, a goat and a dog. A fun place to be and we have our own passports and everything!! Yay! The toll boothis a toilet!!

Now in New Plymouth hence the map pin and preparing to hike up Taranaki tomorow - wooh!!!
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