We arrived in Rotorua in the driving rain and left in the driving rain and with this driving rain there were more plan changes; with two road closures there were even more changes. After doubling back a few times, going inland when we wanted to be coastal we finally made it up to the Coromandel Peninsula underneath the clearing skies.
One thing we feel we need to explain; when in NZ you have to get and pretty quickly into the “Kiwi Way” because if you don't some small things will start to get under your skin, as Rob has discovered! Particularly when they set up a 30km diversion or close a road without any warning or dig up a road while you wait; if you're a proper Kiwi, you get out of your car and talk to the workmen, not about how long the roads closed for but probably about rugby! Instead we just sat in the car and queued patiently in a very “British way”, that showed em! So what if it's minus five outside, snow all around, they still go out in their shorts and vest top! And why would you replace a car bumper, which is hanging
on a rope bridge Karangahake Gorge
on for dear life, when you can stick it with thick black duct tape, and that's the “Kiwi Way”.... sweet!
But we digress, where were we........ah yes the Coromandel Peninsula; hot water beach; a beach where you can dig your very own hot pool, Cathedral Cove and it's amazing rockscape and Kuaotuna beach, the weather continued to be mixed, we were lucky enough to get a break in the cloud to see these beautiful sights. Before long the rains closed in again and we were leaving our hostel in the rain; there seems to be a theme to our arrival and departures!
Before heading back to Auckland we made our own diversion to Karangahake Gorge, an area we had passed through a few days earlier but due to inclement weather we carried on through. Now under clear blue sky, boy were we glad we went back otherwise we would have missed our Indiana Jones adventure; a walk that took us through old gold mines that were pitch black, so dark that when you turned the torch off you could see nothing, not even your hand in front of your face and all this in a stunning gorge. Oh
yes Health & Safety has not gone mad here like the UK, this would be out of bounds at home or at the very least would require a guide or a risk assessment, especially as the tunnels went off in every direction and it felt like coming out the other end was luck, no signs led the way out it was more a case of trusting your instincts! As the sun set our Indi adventure came to an end, with the cold setting in we had the whole hostel to ourselves which also meant the whole wood burning fire to ourselves, temperatures dropped to below 0 before we headed to our electric blanket - bliss; we were greeted in the morning with an inch of frost on poor old Lionel!
Houses here are not built the same as in the UK, insulation does not exist; having a wood burning fire is a bonus if you are lucky enough to get one in your hostel; there is always a terrible dilemma once you are in front of the fire and this is should I stay or should I go? Once you leave the comfort of the fire it is freezing
Old Rail Lines
everywhere else, you put off going to the loo for as long as possible knowing the seat will have frost on it; going to the kitchen has its advantages, if you make a hot drink or dinner there is some heat to be gleaned from the kettle or oven; deciding to take a shower becomes another terrible dilemma, yes I really would like a hot shower but I know I will have to get out and get dressed in double quick time back into cold clothes! The Kiwi's really are made of harder stuff than us Brits, they don't seem to bat an eye at these indoor inclement temperatures in fact they seem to thrive on it, they just put on an extra jumper and get on without any moaning; this is the character building “Kiwi way”!
Anyhoooooooooooww, arriving back in Auckland felt a little like home, driving back into the hostel (obviously not literally) over a month later was familiar, even some of the faces were the same; Colin who we had met on our previous visit was almost unrecognizable less his beard and most of his hair, it was great to see him again, what a bl**dy
Throne of Rock
nice bloke! He's a guy with entrepreneurial ideas which includes a £1 booze cruise for Wino's (bring your own trolley) across The Channel, a clipper trimming business for rats and the relaunch of a smarter Sergio Tacchini track suit for the Hip Hop gentleman but we guess you had to be there!
It was farewell to Lionel our trusty stead, we thought about doing a blog on Lionel but it bored us just thinking about it! An early start and off to the train station to take the 12 hour journey on the Overlander from Auckland to Wellington, we had a beautiful day for it and passed through some lovely scenery and over some incredible viaducts high above the rivers below and most originals built in the early 1900's. Our arrival into Wellington seemed to herald the arrival of the rain, luckily as we walked to the hostel the owner stopped to pick us up, I think the huge amount of luggage we were dragging down the street was a giveaway.
It is always nice when you arrive somewhere in the dark and have to wait for the next day to see your surroundings; we were looking forward
to exploring New Zealand's capital Wellington.
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