World Adventures with Sue and Frankki travel blog

Ahh, here we are in New Zealand, the last country. It may have been last, but we did our best to see as much of it as we possibly could. We rented a camper van and was greeted at the Auckland airport by this very nice man and this great camper van. When we told him we were going to head out of town right away, he took us to this shopping area right next to the freeway so we could just get on and head on out. There was a bit of a problem with the water pump so we headed on in to a grocery store and started loading up for the trip. We were so excited, we could buy anything we wanted and not have to eat it that day.

We headed out for the east coast. Around 9 or so, we decided that we needed to pull over because we were driving through mountains and we did not want to miss the scenery. So we pulled over into this space that looked like it was where gravel was dumped for road construction. Because it was dark, we had no idea where we were, whether it was safe or legal to park there, but we went for it. What an adventure learning about our new "home" and how to move around in this very small space. But we felt like such "nesters" as we started to set up our little home.

The next morning we discovered we were safe and sound and in the middle of beautiful Coromandel mountain range. We were headed for the Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. It is a beach where at low tide, you rent a spade and go out and dig a hole in the sand, sit down and hot water starts coming up from underneath. When we got there it was not low tide, but the beach was beautiful and there was a great surf that several people were taking advantage of. It was a great introduction to this beautiful country because every time we thought we had seen the most beautiful, we rounded a corner and saw something even more breathtaking.

We started our way to Rotorua through Tauranga. In Tauranga we found this little hole-in-the-wall fish place right on the water. Had some fish and chips and started talking to these two men who gave us some great tips of things to see in Rotorua. We also took a great little walk around Mt. Maunganui. Then on to Rotorua, home of the hot sulfur springs and bubbling mud pools, all thermal pools. We got to see a Maori Concert and Hangi which was very interesting. The next day we wandered around Rotorua, sat with our legs in thermal pools and checked out the bubbling mud. As we headed out of town we found this natural thermal pool in the woods where a few people already were. We put our suits on and joined it. It was great, like a big jacuzzi with a waterfall out in nature.

From Rotorua, we headed to a free campground that the van person told us about in the Lake Taupo area. It was this big plot of land on this beautiful rushing river. I was too tired to leave the van, but of course Frankki wandered around meeting people and found this guy who wanted to hike on/over the Tongariro Crossing. So the next morning we head out with Keith, I drop them off for a full day of hiking and I have a peaceful day in the van. The weather was not great for the hike, it was cold and cloudy, but as it turned out, the clouds cleared each time there were in an area with a lake or something to see. They both really enjoyed the hike. Keith continued on with us to the next bigger town as we headed out for Wellington.

During our travels, we would camp in a campground every other or every two nights and camp on the road or street when we could. The country really encourages camper vans and makes space for them to camp most anywhere. That was great. When we got to Wellington, we camped on a street which was unfortunately on a slope. When we got up in the morning, we discovered that we could have parked down by the water, on even land and had a waterfront view.

We were in Wellington for one night only. We decided that we would go ahead and head for the South Island rather than staying in the larger cities. We spent the afternoon in the Museum of Wellington City and Sea (anyway, I think that is the name of it). It was a great museum, we could have spent a full day there.

So much for not many details, huh?? I can't write briefly about this trip, there was SO much going on. But the next one will be the South Island. Back on with that info soon.

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