A Travellerspoint blog

Coromandel Peninsula

semi-overcast 11 °C

Today our plan is to drive around the Coromandel Peninsula. The drive is very similar to that of the west coast of the South Island although there are considerable more narrow and windy roads complete with corners in which you have to use a giant mirror to see oncoming traffic. We stopped in a couple of towns along the way but this area is definitely more vibrant in the summertime, right now everything is boarded up and dead. We stopped at Hot Water Beach and after battling the river to get to the hot part of the beach, we were faced with another dilemma; there was no more room to dig a pool! As per past situations, the giant backpacker bus that will remain unnamed (there are only three so just rotate them) pulled up and unloaded all its passengers onto the beach. This combined with the previous beach occupants meant no room at the inn. Combined with the rapidly incoming tide, we decided to hightail it out before we got stuck. We did however find a stream of water emptying from the dug out pool that was delightfully warm! After much deliberation, we decided it would be best to forgo trying to revisit the beach at next low tide and instead made our way to Cathedral Cove where we were also faced with ANOTHER busload of the aforementioned dreaded bus companies. The walk down to the rock formation was beautiful and the rocks were even more spectacular in person. Once the bus group made it down to the beach, we hightailed it back up and headed to the nearest DOC site where we camped alongside a beautiful little river.

Posted by tc2009 02:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Waitomo Caves

sunny 15 °C

Today is glowworm day today! We headed to Waitomo where we met up with our tour group, there are only 12 of us, including our guide, so it was quite small and fun. After a short drive to the caves across farmland with, you guessed it - SHEEP, we arrived at the walkway down to the caves. Once we made it down the bottom, we were introduced to Bob the eel who came up for a bit of a snack (no, none of the group but instead some lovely eel treats), donned our sexy hardhats with headlamp, and off we ventured! It took a bit to adjust our eyes to the lights but before long, we were trekking along until we reached the raft ready to take us to the glowworms. The ride was a little bit like an attraction at Disneyworld but fun all the same. At the end of the ride, there was an amazing area with tons of glowworms. After sufficient awe time with the glowworms, we grabbed the raft and headed back to the entrance where we emerged into the bright sunlight a little bit blurry eyed.

We had a quick tea break where we were introduced to a goat that met its unfortunate end by falling down into the creek & drowning. Unfortunate but we added it to our list of ‘Dead Animals Seen in NZ’. For the record we have seen the following dead animals:

- One dead cow in a field
- One pig’s head stuck on a fence post on the way to Golden Bay (disgusting)
- A dead Pukeko
- Umpteen dozen possumse drive back

Disturbing lists aside, the walk into the next cave was neat complete with lit pathways, moa bones, and various other interesting aspects. The car ride back to the base was very twisty and Chrissy ended up carsick for the rest of the day making for a miserable drive to Thames as the road was windy and twisty. We did however make it to the iSite just before it closed allowing us to get directions to the DOC site where, after we refilled the water, we headed off. The DOC site is quite neat as it has its own visitors centre in the middle of a Kauri forest. The campsite is also nice and there are only three other campers here tonight.

Posted by tc2009 01:57 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Rotorua - Day Three

rain 7 °C

It was pouring rain when we woke up this morning so we decided to make today a museum day. We made our way over to the Old Bath House that was interesting but quite creepy at the same time. The basement, which housed the original mud baths, was quite low ceiled and also had a creepy, dingy feel to it. However, for a nominal fee you too could experience the relaxing effects of an ‘Electrical Bath’ among other things. Also the upstairs of the bathhouse also was transformed into a nightclub in the early 60s complete with a sunken dance floor and Hooters like uniforms for the serving staff. We also watched a movie about the history of Rotorua complete with the shaking seats as the volcano exploded.

After completing our museum kick for the day, we headed over to the Polynesian Spas where we kicked back in our own private mineral pool overlooking the lake and complete with the pouring rain on our heads as we soaked. After our soak, we headed for lunch at the Pig & Whistle, the historical police station, where we had coupons from the iSite for drinks. We had a delicious lunch; Tom enjoyed the house beer – Swine Lager. We even witnessed a large convoy of Pacific Horizon motor homes parked out front.

The time had come for us to depart however we first had to fill up the LPG tank before we left or we would freeze. This proved to be more difficult than imaginable however as one station was empty, the next only swapped tanks, the third couldn’t fill the tank because she was alone, and the fourth had a damaged filling station. All this took an hour of driving back and forth around Roturua, it was pitch dark, and we had to be in Waitomo the next morning so we abandoned all refilling efforts and headed off. The drive was as imaginable and not very exciting. We eventually made it to Te Kupti where we headed to the nearest holiday park, which was little more than a glorified trailer park, but it was somewhere to spend the night. We watched a weird movie about a Jack the Ripper copycat and then headed to bed. Glow worms tomorrow!!

Posted by tc2009 01:53 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Quick Recap

rain 4 °C

Hey everyone,

Sorry we have been MIA for the last while, haven't had much luck/time with the internet lately. We have made it to the North Island, presently in Roturua. Until we get to somewhere with internet and can update again, just think of us as we soak in the various hot pools around here and try not to freeze at night.

With Love,
Tom & Chrissy

Posted by tc2009 20:33 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Rotorua - Day Two

sunny 14 °C

Today we decided to treat ourselves by ordering room service for breakfast. After we packed everything back to the van-a-ram, we headed over to the Agrodome where we checked out the Freefall, a high power fan which you lay on top of and float around – similar to skydiving apparently, and the Schweeb, a bike enclosed on a track in which you race each other. Tom quite enjoyed both activities while Chrissy is still undecided which she liked more.

After the agrodome, we were off to our next adventure: ZORBING!!! For all those who have ever harbored secret desires to be a hamster, this is the way to fulfill that dream. We chose to go down in the wet zorb which meant we were standing around in the chilly wind wearing just our bathing suits and socks (they help you slide around better) before jumping into the plastic water filled ball. One little push and away we go! Bouncing and rolling all the way down. Its definitely an activity that is beyond wicked fun but needs a bit of a delay if you choose to take part in the second discounted trip. We both were tempted to have another go but alas our appointment at Hell’s Gate beckoned to us.

Hell’s Gate is the most geothermic area in Rotorua and the mud was thrilling. The reserve was also home to the only hot waterfall in the southern hemisphere however Chrissy was more thrilled with the bubbling pits of mud and Tom had to drag her away. After the thrill of the mud, one of the resident traditional carvers showed us how to carve a traditional design. After our arts & craft session, we hopped into a mud bath that was exciting although not as muddy as we thought it would be. After the mud, we hopped into the sulphur pool, which was the colour of lemonade, and deliciously warm. Following our soak, we went for a massage, which was soo relaxing and Tom was sure he was going to fall asleep but fortunately for all, he stayed awake.

All relaxed and rejuvenated, we headed to the DOC site along a lake where the fishermen were catching some massive fish! We settled in for the night and before long, were out like a light.

Posted by tc2009 03:43 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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