Erupting into the North Island
Trip Start Jan 09, 2008
20Trip End May 20, 2008
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The day started with a fine weather that changed rapidly into stormy as we drove northward.
After the rainbow appeared, we went on a short walk to the isolated beach of Wharariki, which has sand dunes and caves and, surprisingly, also baby-seals, who were fooling around and playing with each other in a small pool, by the shore, that was created by the tide. It was amazing to see them from so close and we couldn't stop staring at them with joy, until the water of the high tide surrounded us!
The following day we drove to the most godforsaken place in NZ - Port Ligar at Marlborough Sounds
At the end of the long, winding and defective road The Shand family waited to host us in their Green Mussels farm. After having dinner with the mom Rawyn, her brother, his wife and 5 (out of the 10) of Rawyn & Tim's children, we were shown the privet cottage we were about to spend the night in: 2 floors with 2 bedrooms in each floor; Huge dinning area and a fireplace.
The only thing preventing our experience from being perfect - there were no water in the cottage!!!
Even though, we had a great time and we got to meet very special people and to be exposed to a different way of life!
The next day we drove the blah, Bela, Bela road back and head it to Picton, where the ferry leaves to the north island.
We sadly celebrated the ending of the south island chapter in our trip with wine, candles, music in a hot Jacuzzi, under the stars. All that and a hot chocolate fudge with ice-cream was on the house, how cool is that?!
At the car entry to the ferry, we met a couple of friends of ours - Gidon & Tsofnat - who we met in Angelous hut in Nelson Lakes
Anne is a very special and lovely lady with a sad life story, with an adopted mental handicap Iraqi girl. She hosted us in her comfortable and homely attic. We stayed up late, enjoying the company of Gidon & Tsofnat.
The day after, we went to educate ourselves at the Te-Papa museum and continued on our own to our next hostess, who lives in Greytown (1.5 hours drive north-east of Wellington) - Yehudit Ward.
As you can figure out by her name, she is a Jew, but with a twist - she also believes in Jesus Christ.
She is 84 years old and has the most unbelievable life story! In short: She was born in Germany, immigrated with her family to Palestine when Hitler took over control (before Israel was established), recruited to the British army and served in Egypt, met on the train (at the Gaza station) a NZ soldier who also served in Egypt ,they traveled together in Jerusalem for a week, got engaged, got married in the NZ army base in Egypt and sailed away to NZ, where they built their home and brought up their 4 children (one of them is a famous film director in NZ)
We had some fascinating conversations with her about herself, her family and her religious views.
After a long break from tracking, we started again - big time!
We set ourselves a goal: Climb the Taranaki's summit (2518 m).
The Taranaki is a dormant volcanic cone, which is separated from the main volcanic area of NZ, surrounded by plateau all around. This was the hardest climb we did so far - steep, slippery and very very long (5 hours), but it was worth every second! The view was panoramic and we even got to see above the clouds the Tongariro ridge, the south island and even the curvature of earth !!!
After achieving that goal, we tackled the next mission: The Tongariro Crossing track - our last, but not least track for NZ. This is the most famous and beautiful day-walk in NZ. Together with Gidon & Tsofnat plus hundreds of people we started the track, which included great views of Mt. Doom (from the "Lord of the Rings" movie), volcanic craters and emerald, amazing lakes. We felt like walking on Mars. This was definitely a scenery we never seen before and a good closure of the tracking chapter!
Now we are in Taupo - the capitol of the extreme activities and the core of the thermal activity of the north island.
Of course, we have to experience both activities!
As you can see in the pictures and the video - Noa already started...