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Published: March 17th 2008
We stayed in a hostel in Wellington for two nights just to get a shower and wash our clothes. We’d been camping for nearly 2 weeks straight without a shower. Saying we were dirty was an understatement even if we had washed ourselves in the lakes on the South Island. Wellington was a really nice city with cute little squares, parks and their National museum, Te Papa was well worth a visit.
Our plan on the North Island was to:
Do the Tongariro Crossing, the best one day hike in NZ (and maybe in the world)
Visit the thermal areas south of Rotorua
Spend time in Coromandel Peninsula
Dig your own bath on the Hot Water Beach
Visit Bay of Islands and take a cruise there
Sell the car in Auckland
What do you guys think when we had two weeks of time to do these and we got to do 3/7…?
We spent 3 days at Tongariro National Park just waiting for the weather to clear up so we could do the hike. No such luck. We did explore on one of those days Lake Taupo and its surroundings.
The thermal areas south of
Rotorua were very interesting but the smell was very, umm, interesting 😊
We got to Coromandel Peninsula very late and just got to put up our camp before the rain started. IT DIDN’T STOP FOR 72 HOURS! They had their worst storm in 6 months when we got there. So we drove to the hot water beach anyway and there was a BEACH CLOSED sign there and the lifeguards were pretty strict with nobody going near the ocean… To top off our visit to the Coromandel we got a flat tire in the pouring rain just to find out our car didn’t have a jag….. We got a lucky break with Damien and Clara stopping to help us. We made friends for life 😉 We actually hooked up later in Auckland and had a bbq and stayd our (planned) last night in NZ at their home.
So we decided to skip Coromandel and drive straight to the Northland and hopefully get some sun before going to Auckland to sell our car. Thankfully the weather cleared up and we had decent weather up north. We actually had sun for a couple hours straight (before it started raining again…) and
enjoyed it whole heartedly.
We made some cool discoveries that none of the guide books we had really recommend but we sure would. Firstly we got to RARAWA Beach. It’s opposite to Ninety Mile Beach on the east coast of the peninsula. The sand was soooo white you basicly got blinded had it been sunny 😉 We spent a couple of hours there before heading down south.
Next really nice place that isn’t really mentioned anywere was OMAPERE. Here we got some of that famous Kiwi hospitality that you hear about. We got invited to camp on a local family’s front lawn. They had a place to put on a camp fire and toilets and a shower for guests. We were thrilled! The following day was beautiful! The sun shone and we actually saw the place. The bay looked like a post card and we drove to the coast and just looked at the waves pounding the shores. We had some fish and chips before leaving and everyone in town was so friendly. It was amazing. If we’d had more time, we definitely would have stayed there longer!
Then we went to see the Kauri trees, biggest in NZ.
After shot of the Aratita rapids
They open the dam three to four times a day and this causes the waterflow.
Nothing special about those I thought. The Redwoods in the California are much more spectacular… But after that we wanted to go for a swim and saw on the map KA IWI LAKES. The guide said they were clear water lakes popular with families. That’s it. We got there and, DUDE, the water was just like at Lake Mckenzie in Fraser Island. It was just what we wanted and the best thing about it, we were practicly the only ones there. We had the lake to us and we stayed there way longer than we had planned.
Last stop was Auckland. Everyone we had talked to had said don’t spend too much time there, its booring. We agree. The only reason we went there 5 days before our flight was because we were concerned with selling our car. We got to the backpackers car market and it was packed, with sellers trying to sell their cars and campervans. The problem was that there were no buyers. It was the end of peak season. We got a bit worried but the stroke of good luck hit us. We sold our car to the second person coming in shopping and that
was it. We had 5 full days in Auckland to spend. What to do we asked, and it turned out to be, nothing much. We were so bored. We sat in cafes planning our Hong Kong trip, went to movies, pretty much anything indoors, because, surprise surprise it was raining most of the time.
So NZ was that for us. We had a blast with our road trip. Only problems with our car were 2 flat tires we got so in that case we had luck. We met a lot of interesting friendly people and loved the scenery. We cant do much than laugh at our luck with the weather. We started counting midway trough our trip on days without rain. The total in 5 weeks in NZ was a whopping 6!!! We talked to an Irish couple at the airport who had traveled for 6 weeks and had had 2 days of rain in their entire time in NZ. Pretty odd hey? Everybody seems to be looking at us strangely when we told them about the amount of rain we had because everyone else has had just sunny weather…. I guess, since we had such good luck with
the weather in Australia we just had to have bad in NZ 😊
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