A Travellerspoint blog

Rotorua

Smelliest place on earth...

sunny 25 °C

We arrived in Rotorua in the evening and went to see and smell our first smelly thermals. Really impressive, steaming wholes, bubbles everywhere and an incredible smell. We camped wild that night, just outside the thermal park we went to see in the morning, Wai-O-Tapu it is called. That was one of the most incredible experiences ever. Everywhere springs and wholes and ponds with steaming and erupting water and mud boiling. Great for some mud masks that I purchased later on....:-)
The colours of some of them were just amazing and looked quite artificial, as they were so bright. We started the tour with an erupting geyser which was incredible. The smell was mind blowing though, but I absolutely loved it. After some great souvenir shopping (mud masks for the girls...:-) I went to the internet and unfortunately found out that they did charge me for the van after all.... Dough!!! Would have been too good to get the van for free. Would have done my budget good, but never mind....
In the evening we went for the Maori experience which was a complete flop. WE did learn a few interesting things but the whole thing was a complete tourist rip-off. Hundreds of tourists were squeezed into plastic tents do have some dinner cooked in the Hangi, which is the original Maori cooking, where they steam food for hours in the earth and then some Maori dancing etc. Unfortunately the whole thing came accross so not original and authentic that we were all quite disappointed. but had a lot of fun as it was quite comical. They made us repeat everything in Maori, which made us feel being back in primary school and asked us to take a picture of the dinner and the whole thing was just ridiculous.

After another night of wild camping we went to another thermal park that we got for free with our fantastic Maori night. That one, Hell's Gate, was really good too although I like the other better. Here they taught you more about how the Maori used to use the thermals and how they cooked food in it etc.
As we arrived at our camping spot at night, not knowing where we were and hoping to not be attacked by some Maoris, sticking their tongue out and widening their eyes as in their typical tradition, we weren't too far off and were surprised to have parked our van just by a nice lake surrounded by one of their meeting houses etc. That certainly was far more authentic than the arranged evening we had before. It does look very funny though when they do their dancing and all that and stick their tongue out as if their life depends on it.

We continued our journey the next morning to Wellington and stopped at Huka Falls which were incredible. REally cool place and we went for a nice walk there. The river generates 65% of the power for the Northern Island and 15% for whole of NZ! Quite impressive I thought...
We stopped for lunch at a prawn farm, stayed in a campsite in Taihope and continued all the way to Wellington where we were just waiting by the harbour to get us on the first ferry in the morning which is bringing us to the South Island. Classy... just next to the other lorry drivers....:-)

Posted by Julia1976 05:47 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Coromandel

sunny 25 °C

Our first stop was the Hot Water Beach, which is a very nice massive beach with some hot water springs. The water is really really hot and you can get a shuffle and dig a whole which then fills up with the hot water and sit in it. It's really cool, the only diappointing fact was that the spot where you have the hot springs was completely packed with people, so we decided not to bother digging a whole.
Our next campsite was in Hahei just next to a fantastic beach. There are several little islands and rocks in the water which look just amazing, so we went for a really nice walk along the beach.

As it is so nice here and the weather is just great we decided to stay another day in Hahei and went to the Cathedral Cove, a huge whole in a rock looking like a cathedral, hence the name :-)
It was a really nice walk there and we got rewarded with a great beach with massive waves. The waves were actually that high, that my Mum got thrown over by one of them and pushed so hard with her face in the sand under water, that her neck cracked and she also ended up with a bruised eye. Very funny!
With such a wonderful scenary around us we decided to have dinner at the beach. Really cool! Very sophisticated with table and chairs too! :-) My first proper dinner at the beach. How romantic! :-)
Our next stop is Rotorua. The driving here is great by the way. It's so much more relaxed, no traffic jams, just loads of dead possums which is a plague brought in by Australia and the Kiwis are still pissed off about that, as they don't have any preditors they now have 70 millions possums here and and only 4 million is their population!

Posted by Julia1976 04:50 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Auckland and the Bay of Islands

sunny 25 °C

I am now in New Zealand. After landing I went straight to the B&B to meet up with Mutti and Antje. It was great to see both of them again. The B&B was quite simple but clean, certainly good enough for me. :-) Auckland doesn't seem very special.
We went to the harbour for a bite to eat and shit loads of wine, as expected. It was great to catch up but far too much to drink, so we all had a bad hangover the next morning.
Regarding to the landlady it seems that I was sleepwalking which is quite worrying. Wonder how long I have been doing that..... Anyway, needless to say that I wasn't in the best condition to pick up our campervan! ;-)
The driving was going better than expected and we went on our way to the Bay of Islands. We stayed in a small pituresque and charming village called Russell. The van is really small and we haven't really worked out the sleeping situation, as the so called 3rd bed is far too small and it also quite risky to fall down, so that is still a bit of a challenge.
Our first day in Russell was great with fantastic weather so we decided to have beach day and just relax. The beach wasn't too great (obviously being spoiled from Australia) but the scenary was fantastic. The islands certainly have something mystic.
We had our first BBQ in our new home and decided to stay here for another couple of nights.
After having hassle with our water tank which seem to be broken we got that sorted too. Our van seems pretty much the oldest around and apparently the tank was broken before, so no surprise there then...
Our next day was a boat trip going to "The Whole in the Rock".
Unfortunately it was overcast the whole day but the islands and the Whole were still great. Must be amazing when the sun is shining. Straight after we left the harbour we saw dolphins. There were so many of them, just fantastic. They were staying with the boat for a really long time and were swimming with us and jumping really high. Really cool! I have never seen so many dolphins befor and have never seen them jump so high. It was like being in one of those shows. They were massive too. Those Bottlenose Dolphins can get up to 4.5 meters and up to 450 kilos. Quite scary to imagine to swim with them.... I am not sure why they wouldn't let us swim with them, but unfortunately we didn't get a chance. I think their first priority was getting to the whole and only if we had time in the afternoon we could have swam with them. But never mind, I am sure there will be more opportunities.
Our van is still not sorted, so I called the mechanic again and we went to a nice little pub just by the seaside, The Duke of Marlborough.
As we can't get the van fixed we now have to go back to Auckland to get it fixed there, which gives me also the opportunity to pick up my fleece which I left in my drunken stage in the pub.
By the time we got back to van company they couldn't really help us anymore and put us up in hotel next door. After a lot of hassle and me kicking up a huge fuss, we managed to get a new van which is for 4 people and therefore much bigger and much nicer. So we are all very happy now with the big van. At least we have two proper double beds and can even manage to unpack all our stuff, which is a complete novelty for me :-)
Much happier with our new van we made our van to Coromandel.

Posted by Julia1976 06:38 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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