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Published: September 19th 2009
Chilling on Mt Victoria with views of Auckland!
On the 31st of August we boarded the plane from Sydney to Auckland. As the plane was about to land my face was stuck to the window, the scenery outside didn’t look real everything was so neat and pretty!
We arrived in Auckland and took a bus to the city centre; from there we walked to our apartment which was a much longer walk than we had anticipated! We arrived at the apartment then went to do some grocery shopping (once again the walk was much longer then we thought it would be!), we then cooked dinner and went to bed quite tired!
The next day we went to the ‘Jucy’ office to organize our campervan we decided on renting the ‘Chaser’ which is small but also has a shower and toilet on board! We then spent the remainder of the day looking around the shops for some warm clothes as it’s pretty chilly!! We spent the next few days discovering Auckland walking around on one of the days we took the ferry across to Devonport from there we climbed up Mount Vitoria from which we had really nice views of Auckland! We then had a nice coffee
there before taking the ferry back. We also walked to the Domain and headed Parnell which is a very pretty area of Auckland, on the way we found an abandoned train which was really fun to photograph! We also went to Ponsoby which is pretty much a cool road with lots of cafes and funky shops, had a delicious hot chocolate there (marshmallows were given with the hot chocolate!) In general Auckland is a nice place with all the city things but not too much hussle and bustle! On our last night we met up with a couple of friends we had made in Thailand Matt and Sian, we went out for dinner and drinks before going back to the apartment and getting ready for the next day!
Day 1 of road trip!
5th September- Auckland to Paparoa:
This morning we picked up our Jucy! First we went to the supermarket to stock up on some essentials for the next few days’ water, pasta etc… We then went to pick our bags up and sort everything in the van out and then finally we set off on what’s hopefully going to be an amazing road trip! As we started
Long way from home!!!
driving out of the city and seeing the endless green hills I knew that I would fall in love with New Zealand. We didn’t do much sightseeing today as we were a bit short for time and needed to find a campsite to spend the night, we decided to stay in Paparoa because the Kauri Museum was close by and we plan to go there tomorrow! We arrived at the campsite plugged the van to the electricity and settled in for our first night!
6th September- Paparoa to Waipoua Forest:
Today we woke up, prepared breakfast and had our showers and realized our shower isn’t that nice but would be useful in circumstances where we were staying at camps with no showers! We then drove to the Kauri Museum which was an interesting place with a lot of effort put into it! The museum was bigger than we had anticipated and we spent longer going through it then we thought! We then started driving in the direction of Waipoua Forest on the way we stopped for a little while at Lake Kaiiwi which was very pretty so we decided to have lunch there and then take a little
stroll around the lake. We then drove to the start of Waipoua Forest where we stayed at a DOC camp which we didn’t have to pay for woohoo!
7th September- Waipoua Forest to Ahipara:
This morning we drove into Waipoua Forest where we saw some pretty impressive Kauri trees! We saw the “Four Sisters” which are four tall trees which are connected at the base and we also saw Te Matua Ngahere which is the widest Kauri tree with a girth of 16.4 meters with a height of 30 meters! We then drove a little further up and saw Tane Mahuta which is the largest Kauri tree alive with a height of 51 meters and a girth of 13.8 meters! After that we drove towards Rawene on the way we stopped Ompere because of amazing views of Hokianga Harbour, we had lunch and then we then continued on to Rawene from where we took a ferry across to Rangiora from there we hurried down to Ahipara because it was already starting to get dark. We arrived at Ahipara and found the Motorcamp where we stayed for the night!
8th September- Ahipara to
This morning we set off nice and early from Ahipara and started our journey to Cape Regina which is at the tip of the North Island. Along the way we stopped at Kaitai which is a little town where we stocked up on food for the next few days! The drive to Cape Regina is beautiful, with a mixture of green valleys, bays, mountains and sand! Our original plan was to stop at a DOC campsite close by to Cape Regina for the night but arriving at the campsite we realized that it was not a power site therefore we would not be able to have our heater on at night and it gets pretty chilly! So…we went to the lighthouse which turned out to be a lot smaller than I had expected! We took some pictures and then drove back about 20 kilometers to another campsite which had power, we parked up and had dinner while watching an episode of Heroes!
9th September- Cape Regina to the Bay of Islands:
Today we woke up and went to look for the showers in the camping site where we were staying as we wanted to save
the water we had in our van, the ladies showers were out of order and I wasn’t too tempted in showering in the men’s room so I opted for not showering. As I was walking back to the van I heard someone calling my name which is a bit weird when you are in the middle of nowhere with no signal or anything! It was our friends Sian and Matt who were driving along and spotted us! They turned around and came in the grounds where we were staying and we started comparing vans and just discussing our routes etc… Matt and Sian went for a spaceship they are traveling with two friends who also got a spaceship! They then left and were heading up to Cape Regina to see the light house, we had breakfast and then set up back to the lighthouse too as we had not taken many pictures yesterday! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t nice today the sky was grey and we had a little bit of rain. We went back to the lighthouse took some pictures and then set off in the direction of the Bay of Islands. We stopped at Cooper’s Beach by doubtless
bay to have a quick lunch before continuing our drive down, enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way! At the Bay of Islands we stayed at a Kiwi Holiday Camp and bought a Kiwi Card which gives us 10% discount at all the Kiwi Holiday Camps! Had a nice hot shower which was great, and had dinner and went to bed!
10th September- Bay of Islands to Whangarei:
Today we woke up and were disappointed to discover that the weather was still miserable, going on a sail boat to see the islands didn’t seem so tempting anymore especially with the cold wind blowing and not a ray of sunshine to warm us up! So we decided that we would continue moving south today. First we went to the Treaty Grounds which is where Maori Chiefs and the British Crown signed “The Treaty of Waitangi” which was good to learn a little bit more about New Zealand’s history! After that we went to Woolworths and did some more food shopping for the next couple days, we then went to the “ Hunderwasser Toilets” which is situated in the town of Kawakawa, basically its toilets that were designed by an Austrian artist and ‘ecoarchitect’, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. It was definitely a funny experience!! I don’t think I’ve every thought of having a photograph of myself taken in front of public toilets but there you go! We then continued down to Whangerei which is where we are stopped for the night we are staying at a Kiwi Holiday Campsite again and everything is good!=)
11th September- Whangerei to Thames
Today we had a big drive planned out and that was to get from Whangerei to Thames! After walking around Whangerei looking for a tripod we set off, we practically spent the whole day driving stopping at a few scenic locations to take some pictures etc… but as the weather was pretty bad we didn’t stop that much! We stopped at Mangawhai Heads which has a very beautiful beach with a sand island not far from the mainland. We then continued through to Wellsford, Warkworth into Auckland where we stopped to buy a tripod! We also then went to have a coffee and use the internet for a while to check emails etc… we then continued driving towards the Coromandel Peninsula we got a bit stuck in traffic coming out of Auckland, so we made it to Thames quite late!
We spent a long time trying to find a campsite with power but we eventually found a place to stay woohoo!
12th September- Thames to Coromandel
This morning woke up bright and early (well 8 30 am!) and getting out of the caravan found out that the camp site where we were staying was actually really nice! Green grass, surrounded by trees and a little creek flowing through in front of us add a few singing birds and some flowers here and there it really felt like a perfect morning, except for the weather! We then drove into the centre of the town to get some food supplies, on the way we drove down a road with loads of old cars all polished up and looking very nice! Turned out a library building was having its opening and inside the library was computers which information and history on Thames which has all finally been stored in the computers! There was a little band playing and they were selling hot dogs, but interested us was the cars, they were in such good condition!!! After that we continued onwards towards Coromandel Town. The drive from Thames to Coromandel is truly amazing once again we felt like we had to stop all the time just to soak in the spectacular views! The only downfall was the weather. Arriving in Coromandel town we discovered it was really a tiny tiny place with a population of 1620! We walked around the town a little we found a DVD rental shop and rented the first two “Lord of the Rings” movies so we could find more places we wanted to go to! We then spent forever trying to find a campsite as most places rejected us because the grass was “too wet” for us to park on!!! We finally found a campsite which was right on the beach! By this time it was properly raining so we parked up and do not plan to get out till morning!
13th September- Coromandel to Colville
Today we woke up saw some blue sky and went back up the road we were on yesterday so that we could photograph the view looking down towards Coromandel and all the little Islands out in the bay. We then went to “Driving Creek Railway and Potteries” where we took a little train that takes you up the mountain through the forest with the odd potteries here and the ride ends at the top at the “Eyefull tower”, climbing up the tower we got to see some beautiful views! We then started driving towards Colville once again the drive was amazing and we kept stopping to take pictures! Arriving in Colville we stopped at Colville Farm which covers 1260 hectares of beautiful land and decided we would stop here for the night! We then drove on further north as we still had a few more hours of daylight left. Back at the farm I helped bottle feed the baby lamb which was a great experience! Now we are all cosied up in our campervan getting ready for an early night as we have to wake up bright and early tomorrow to attempt to milk Daisy the cow!
14th September- Colville Farm
Today we woke up bright and early, it was all misty outside and we couldn’t see anything! Our morning started by bottle feeding the lamb, we then milked Daisy which actually wasn’t as hard as we thought it might be and then we also went and helped feed the chickens and got three eggs which were given to us! After that we went to have breakfast, we then jumped on the back of the pick up truck and drove 4 Km down the road to another field we went through a few gates and then finally arrived to the field where the cows were we then threw hay out from the truck to the cows it was actually great fun! We then drove back to the farm and from there walked down to the red shed from there we met our horse riding guide and our horses Reed and Zigi we got on and started walking through the fields we got to an open field and brought the horses to a fast trot across it. We walked through creeks and up to an amazing view! Along the way our guide pointed out certain trees, birds and plants (including the Manuka flowers from which the world famous honey comes from). He also told us the history of the land and about Maori tribes who used to live on it. After one and a half hours of riding we were back to farm and giving the stubborn but adorable horses treats!
We then came back to our campervan to have some lunch -baked beans and the eggs! We then set off to have a little walk around the countryside up a steep hill to get some more views (trust me you can never tire of them!) before returning to our back to the farm to feed the little lamb again (another thing that will always remain as adorable as the first time we fed him!) Now its shower time before some dinner and then going to bed, well and truly exhausted! Tomorrow we plan to move on and make our way further up north but today will definitely stay in our memories as one of the highlights of our trip!
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