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Published: February 18th 2009
After crossing the Cook Strait, in our very own cabin, we hit the road bound for Taupo. We drove and drove as the sun sunk below the hills covered in energy making windmills and eventually ended up on the banks of Lake Taupo. Our car camp for the evening although in an idyllic spot left us sleeping in a car filled with tiny midgies, mozzies and sandflies (oh joy!). So we proceeded to drive around at speed to rid our car of these horrible house guests. In the end we gave up and I'm sure inhaled a few bugs as we slept.
The next day we pressed on to Taupo itself and settled into DeBretts, home of Taupo hot springs. We spent the day lavishing in the hot waters. From Taupo we headed North to Rotorua via a geothermal park that smelled of rotten eggs, the powder blue and thundering Huka Falls, Aritiatia Rapids that turned from a dry rocky river bed to tumultuous rapids in a matter of minutes and some free boiling mud pots.
Our time in Rotorua was spent finding the nearest ice cream shop for some hand dipped yumminess before deciding we would head for
the northernmost tip of the North Island that afternoon. After hours of driving we began to regret our late in the day decision. With no hope of a picnic area we ended up sleeping in the car in a random car park.
The following day we drove on through the Kauri forests to see the biggest tree in New Zealand. Tane Mahuta is 50.5 metres high, 13.8 metres in circumference and about 2000 years old. They call him the lord of the forest. Truly an amazing tree. Through the forest we headed to the point for sweeping views of the sand dunes on the other side of the bay and then raced to the ferry point. We made it with about 1 minute and 5 inches to spare (literally our car only fit onto the ferry with 5 inches to spare).
After crossing the bay we headed for 90 mile beach and Cape Reinga. We have heard many things about Cape Reinga but not once were we warned about the swarms of mosquitos. We awoke in the middle of the night to find mosquitos inside our tent when we have ensured we killed them all before we went
to sleep and a loud buzzing coming from the swarm just outside our tent screen. Needless to say we didn't get much sleep and spent the next morning dashing from the tent and trying to coax the horrible insects from our tent sides.
Sick of mosquitos we headed for the Bay of Islands just in time for Waitangi Day. The crowds and atmosphere were amazing as all gathered to celebrate the national day of New Zealand. Unable to beat through the crowds we headed to the Waitangi treaty grounds the following day.
The grounds were lovely, complete with a flagpole to mark the spot the treaty was signed, the old colonial house, a tribal house for all Maori and the war canoe. To top it off, celebrations were still going on including weaving and music performances.
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