Published: June 25th 2007June 25th 2007
Spoke to the German couple in the older campervan for a while. They are in New Zealand for a year and like all the National Parks and walks. Then we drove off to see the Kauri trees, which are basically these giant trees that are 2000 years old and more. About Jesus age. A tree decided to throw a big branch at Matt as we were leaving. Luckily it missed
Then we headed down South for a bit. Found a Motor Rest area in Waiwera and camped up there for the night. Nipped into a bottleshop and got ourselves some beer and we were set for the night. Fri 22nd:
Left Waiwera and continued heading south, stopped briefly at McD’s (the lure of the Golden arches) and then went on the motorway straight past Auckland. Drove and drove and drove. It was boring.
Stopped at Waihi beach to take some pictures and buy some stuff, then headed up to the nearest DoC campground (Dept of Conservation.). The DoC leaflet says Hot showers, drinking water, cooking facilities - the works…
…We get there, pay NZ$17 each (NZ$2.61 = 1 GBP). After this the lady
tells us that if there is heavy rain we may have to evacuate because the Fords will become unpassable.
The toilets are, in short a latrine. And the hot showers are not only open aired - that is, they have no roof, but the best feature is this. They only take the old 50 cent pieces. These 50 cent pieces make the shower work for exactly 3 minutes (as the sign said). You cannot put more than one coin in at any time and you must leave the shower, naked to the world in order to put a second coin in. We didn’t shower. Oh, and the cooking facilities. An outdoor barbecue. And that cost more than a privately owned campsite with electricity, hot showers, internet, drinking water and a kitchen.
Anyway, we decided to make the most of it and do the walk there. We passed a lovely blocked off cave, but after a while we got to a point where the river had washed the path away and it became impassable. Hahei/Hot Water Beach
Got up and washed in the outdoor cold water sink, with frost still on the ground and us
being used to tropical climates. Cooked the Garlic sausages that by now have stunk the entire van out from inside the fridge and inside 2 plastic bags. Suddenly the lady park attendant’s big black Labrador comes bounding across. Nice enough creature all speckled with grey, but you could tell he hadn’t come just to say Hi. So we tossed him a sausage (the most burned bit) and got ready to leave.
As we left the Fords had swolled quite a bit with the nights rain. The unsealed road ontop of this made us both wish we were in a landrover, not a bloody Toyota Hi-Ace Rearwheel drive. Luckily diesel gave it a bit more umph than unleaded. We escaped.
After a long long drive we got to Hot water Beach (Hahei), just in time for lunch.
We did the Flat Rock Walk
to get some pictures and then decided to go to see hot water beach itself. On the way we met up with a load of Korean’s over here studying English and talked to them for a while (They stole a boat to get across the creek, cheeky buggers).
Then we drove up to Catherdral cove
to see the cove, and did the 45 minute walking track there. It was pretty and had lots of rainbows, along with rain. After that we went back to the van.
7pm, lowtide we went back out to see the Hot water beach and met an Austalian lass. Hoticulturist, so she had managed to dig a fairly decent hole in minutes. Arms like Popeye. She was nice enough, then she left and brought back 2 Danish friends.
Matt had to ask himself if it was a dream when 2 Danish girls and an Australian lass all stripped down to bikinis while Leanne paddles on a desserted beach at night, which had bath water temperature water with steam coming of it. It was surreal. Sun 24th:
Got up early and went back to the beach to bathe in the hot water (Geothermal fissure underground causes an undertow and pulls water under rocks, heats the water which then seeps back to the sea nearer to the surface).
We borrowed a spade from the only people there - a couple drinking champagne whilst bathing in a hot hole of sea water on a beach watching the sunrise. So we enjoyed
bathing in the hole we’d dug. Then a tour bus of KIWI Experience came along.
They’re basically a bunch of people that buy a hop-on hop-off bus ticket that takes them to all the tourists traps and never get to see much of the country. Fake travellers basically.
So due to the ridiculous overcrowding we left. Drove about 8km up the road to Hahei and checked into a campsite there, and called Cathedral Cove Kayaks
to sort out the Kayak tour we had booked in Auckland. Unfortunatly the wind at sea was too strong for it to be safe (45 knots) so we postponed it till tomorrow. Checked our E-mails at NZ$2 per quarter hour which is sheer extortion. And that was about it. Oh, we got some beer and Leanne decided she doesn’t mind Stella. Needs must etc. Mon 25th:
Got up rang Kayak people, waited for a response. It was a negative so we cancelled it and sorted refund and then headed on our way. As it was about 2pm before they said “No”, and that meant we didn’t quite make it to our target of Rotorua for the night and ended up sleeping in
a lay-by just off State Highway 33. We did however pass through a town called Bethlehem
, if we weren’t going so fast we’d have a picture.
Where we stayed was okay, but cold. And you never realize how many people going past a campervan in the middle off the night honk their horn just for the hell of it. To wind you up, wake you up - whatever. Lorries never do, but just cars. Odd people.
There are more photos below