Seda: As we travel around the country, we mention the names of campsites we stay at in case it may help you one day, but feel free to get in touch if you’d like to know about anywhere in particular. We can gladly tell you all about cold showers that’s supposed to be hot or 20NZD charge per person for a hike to toilets at 2am!
Andy: In order to go to Hot Water Beach we’d stayed the night at Kuaoitunu campsite. As we sat on our comfy camping chairs relaxing with a cup of tea and an apple each, we were joined by 3 rather inquisitive ducks. We discovered that they were the best form of recycling apple cores on 2 (webbed) feet! Just watch your fingers…..and toes!
Kuaotunu campsite was also very close to Cathedral Cove, another must-see of the area. It was a hard walk to the beach and back because you can’t park anywhere near the start of the trail.
There were lots of hills too so it was pretty tiring. Also, it was packed when we finally got there making picture taking extremely difficult. Damn tourists! They’re everywhere.
That night we stayed at a place called Opoutere Coastal camping ground. As the name suggests, it was right on the beach where we saw some huge waves and people surfing. We might have to give it a try sometime. We had a bit of a drive the next morning to one of, if not THE thing to see in NZ!
As we awoke to a gloriously sunny day we set off for the Hobbiton Movie set tour. Unfortunately all the tours were booked solid until 4.30pm so we had plenty of time to get there, with multiple pit stops along the way. ……
After Hobbiton, to mix it up a bit, we stayed the next night on the back garden of the Waiotapu Tavern. It’s a very popular camping destination for travellers as it’s half the price of a regular paid campsite, but with limited space. With our late finish at Hobbiton we were worried we wouldn’t get a space, with not much of a Plan B in mind, but thankfully we got in. We had a light dinner there, a couple of drinks and chatted to some Dutch guys about football, NZ and the joys of Amsterdam!
Seda: In the morning we went to Wai-o-tapu Geo-thermal Park which was only just down the road. This whole area of the North Island sits on top of active volcano’s which is evident with the many geysers around. Within the park is the Lady Knox geyser which we were excited to see “erupt” at 10.15am sharp! We would then take a stroll around the park which was absolutely out-of-this-world!
The Lady Knox geyser was a bit of a let down to say the very least. It doesn’t erupt at all. Instead, they make it erupt by pouring a natural soap into it creating a reaction. It only went off for about 10 seconds and only a few metres high too! I guess our Lady Knox was all “chilled” that day!
In the afternoon we went to a redwood forest near Rotorua. It was a lovely walk around the forest among some giant trees. Like their Californian cousins, these trees grow to monstrous proportions. Out of the 935 pictures, these are the ones we’ve chosen for you…
This area is known for volcanic activity and many brightly coloured geothermal lakes. There is a constant smell of sulfur which you might know is pretty much the same as rotten eggs. Andy constantly sniffs the air and tells me I stink! We just cannot imagine how the locals live with it day in day out. I wonder if they are all getting double pay because they endure this smell as a part of their daily lives?!
Andy: In the morning we went to Kairau Park in Rotorua. There are thermal springs everywhere in this region, even in a small town’s public park flimsily fenced off. The market was very small and we walked around it in 5 minutes. It was more interesting to us to have the market right next to the sulphur smelling bubbling pools, and seeing it as a totally normal part of life.
It started raining so we drove into The Government Gardens where people were playing croquet in the rain. How very English!
Seda: We drove on towards Lake Taupo and stopped off just before to see Huka Falls before staying the night at Reid’s Park Farm Freedom Camping. When something is free, everyone wants a piece of it naturally, so we knew we had to come here early which we did and chose a decent spot. Call it getting older and less adventurous but we were not sure for a while if we wanted to stay here even though it’s free. As the party groups and more youngsters arrived, we were seriously considering going somewhere else but then it started to rain which normally would put a damper on our day but it was our friend on this occasion. I mean, who wants to party in the heavy rain, right?!
The place seriously filled up before late and a solo female traveller parked up into the last space next to us. It was her 11th month on the road she said in her little sleeper car. And we thought we were brave!
Rain went on most of the evening allowing us to catch up on reading, research, checking flights etc. Next morning, we are up rested and in one piece!