Hello Aotearoa, the north island! 1550KM in total.
11.04.2009 - 22.04.2009 20 °C
New Zealand was definitely a place we looked forward to with zest. We arrived in Auckland on 11th April 2009. We had a night in a motel/hotel before we picked up our home for the next 4 weeks - a Toyota Hiace Camper Van with fitted kitchen, toilet, bed, dinning area and shower!!
Once we got the wheels and stocked up in the local supermarket we headed north to Russell. This place came highly recommended from Peter amongst others so we decided to make the trek. En route we stayed in Prahia in a car park. This was our first camper experience and we were as excited as we were nervous. But it was great craic living in such a small area. M was a giant in the box! Unfortunately K was still hungover, I mean sick, from Brazil and Leahanne's wedding so when we got to Russell K was not up to much. Martin did some walking around and picture taking and met K after some rest. It was a beautiful town in fantastic settings. We did not have much time as we knew the south island had so much to offer so we headed south again after one night (and the movie seven pounds - we had a DVD player in the box).
In one day we drove 500K. All the way from Russell to Rotorua. Rotorua stank of rotten eggs. It was from the geothermal earth movements - at least so we are told! Day 1 in Rottenarua was spent mountain biking. We started off on two easy tracks, tahi and dipper. They were tough enough. Then we moved on to the grade 3 tracks, genisis and challenge. By mistake we did genisis twice!! We exchanged love stories with the bike rental guys and headed off on our merry way. It really was a class spot for mountain biking though and it catered for all different levels. All the activity of the day meant we hit the bed in the box early. This was a common theme for our time in NZ.
We headed to agro adventures just outside rotorua. First off we did the free fall extreme which is a giant fan that propels you in the air like you are free falling. It was fun but nothing like the real thing (or so K will tell anyone who listens - the mentaler). After much consideration Martin decided to do the swoop. We were strapped into sleeping bags and dropped from 45meters. First we turned upside down while plummeting to the earth and then the swing kicked on and we were swung across at a very fast speed Zorbing was such a laugh. Two of us in our swims in a giant plastic ball covered in warm water hurtling down a hill!! We watched the movie Australia and conked out for a 10 hour kip!
Lake Taupo - K is nuts!
We tag teamed on a run around the lake, one made brekkie while the other ran. Big brekkie was had. Hit the road. Arrived in Taupo almost on empty tank. Hit the iSite for info which must be said were a god send in NZ. The staff and the information from these tourists offices were brilliant in all towns we used them. We headed for the airport. The location where people who are not right between the ears jump out of planes. We missed the airport. Turned back. Complete dumbasses. Picked a skydive agency. Picked another as the other was too long a wait. K went straight into the jump suit after 10 min wait. Gulp. M photographed. K shed some tears. Met Mike. Waved bye and boarded the plane. M shed some tears!
The rest is on tape and film. OMG!!! What a blast....
We hit 2 paddy bars that night in celebration and a kiwi experience joint...Shorts, beers and a great night were had.
Tongariro to Wellington
Michael B recommended this trek to us. Unfortunately the weather was utter muck. When we arrived it was ok so M walked for half an hour around the camp site but we had been warned that the Tongariro crossing was inaccessible to the public the following day. We were gutted as it is one of the main attractions of the north island. We did a 2 hour walk by a waterfall and the chateau. It rained a lot and then it rained some more. We left and headed for Wellington.
We stayed 30k outside Wells where we were on our own in the national park...eeerrryy but cool.
We made our way to Newlands to the camper van site. Wellington is a very nice city set on a picturesque harbor. Went to Te Papa museum and used up some very interesting hours there. It is well worth the visit. We got the feeling that we wanted to stay longer in Wellington but we were already on a tight schedule.
We headed from north island to the south by putting the van on the boat and read the paper and kicked back. The sights were class from the boat. The cook Strait itself is very beautiful.