On dodgy ground again.....

Trip Start Nov 09, 2011
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Flag of New Zealand  , Bay of Plenty,
Saturday, April 7, 2012

friday 30th

from our beachfront plot we could hear and see the gentle lapping waves across the bay the sun was out but clouds were begining to form so we set off back to coromandel town.  we were going to explore the gorge here but my laptop fan had stopped working so it was priorty to get it fixed as onward flights and arrangements needed to be sorted out..so we motored on down to thames which was a boomtown in the gold rush and still remains the largest town around ...

we found an excellent guy at "computer networks" who fixed my laptop while we browsed the cafes boutique stores and relics of a bygone era..and found a town centre campsite with facilities for 6 vans..where we stayed for the night..

saturday 31st
early to rise as it was a saturday in the bustling little town so a last look round before heading to miranda hot springs, a natural hot pool, on the sh25..the road passes lowland farmland and then returns to the coast where we pulled up in the springs car park.. we decided not to swim after all and instead carried on up the coast road passing inlets and lakes popular with migrating birds and tweeters...

we stopped at kaiaua for lunch and had a rethink....we had 10 days left and were only 140kms from auckland so we changed direction and decided to revisit rotorua thermal area..we found a different way back so as not to retrace our steps and ended up in paeroa , a town frequented by people visiting karangahake gorge..its a large town again with origins from the gold mining but also famous for the Lemonade and Paeroa drink which used to be manufactured here from the local spring water... they have a 15ft tall bottle of it to welcome you into the town...with their slogan  " L & P world famous, in new zealand"..hehe.....sadly coca cola have now taken them over.. we stayed in the paeroa race course car park..

sunday 1st april..

no it cant be april already that first 3 months of the year has flown by and it has been wierd not having a winter..we had a look around the race course buildings which were rather unkept and shabby but the track itself was well maintained, i wonder what they charge to get in on race days the next one being tomorrow so sad we could not stay..

as we were only 10kms away we had to go back to karangahake gorge gold mines...they were just as awesome as the first time and we went further into the mine now as we were "experienced"...!!.and saw the old pump room deep into the caves....we were also able to walk right through the train tunnel and along the other side of the gorge which we didnt get time for before..

after lunch there, we drove on to rotorua..we did the "smelly" lake walk again past all the hot mud pools and read more about them this time . apparently in early 1900s people would come here and camp beside the pools, no buildings here in those days, to bathe in the cooler "coffee mud pools" for the mineral benefits they gave..the down side was too much sulphur dioxide has an effect similar to laughing gas so it was nicknamed the happy pool but many people drowned in their happiness, fainting and just being too care free...!!

we parked up down wind of the lake...lol

monday 2nd

when we woke there were hundreds of "sand flies" midges to us..covering the van windows..it was awful a scene from " the birds"...but midges..lol...we had been free from bites for a while so were concerned when we saw them all swarming around us....we had to leave now...!! but robin had to go out and get the ramps in..so he covered himself from head to toe in coat, gloves, scarf, with trousers tucked into socks, you name it..he did look funny..even his balaclava...and we got away free from bites...

after breakfast by the lake on the other side of town we walked round the shops and visited the i site for more ideas..we decided to check into the towncentre campsite so we could have our 3rd meal out in new zealand which turned out to be an awesome indian in "eat street" a precincted area just for restaurants with tables all down the middle of the road...and cute fairy lights everywhere..

tuesday 3rd
we walked round kauri park this morning... it is the hot water area with loads of hot springs bubbling out of the ground at over 100`c individually fenced off for safety with a huge hot lake in the middle...not so colourful as last time we were here...but this time we could see the whole park, including the 2ft deep public hot mineral pools which i went in..

we then sampled fish and chips from the winner of " the best fish n chips in new zealand" award..the certificates and photos were plastered all over the walls... and they were awesome....the afternoon was spent walking in forest with tall 100yr old redwoods . .. very different to their native bush forests.. then our book of knowledge found us an awesome spot high up on the hill at the car racing track overlooking rotorua...very clever they have made use of the natural hill to create an ampitheatre for the racing track below...and the next race meeting was easter sunday..

wednesday 4th
we saw the sun rise from our view point above the town and then after a quick shop for provisions we booked into a top 10 campsite outside town to sort out plans for next weeks trip to australia..using the internet..

thursday 5th
all sorted flight booked van hired..yes we are getting another van ...even smaller than this one ..well we are experienced campers now...!!!..

we headed back towards auckland first stop hamilton.. by chance we stopped for lunch in hamilton gardens and it was awesome.. they have set out the park to include little areas of designed gardens almost like chelsea flower show ... chinese garden, indian, renaissance , and english walled gardens, traditional maori garden, victorian kitchen garden and a few more all complete with buildings and waterfalls, furniture and sculptures, the best free gardens we have seen..  we spent 2 hours here enjoying it all ...

after a quick drive through the very busy city centre , just to say we saw it, we drove to a nature reserve car park on the sh1...
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