A Travellerspoint blog

Auckland day 1

all seasons in one day 20 °C
View AU & NZ 2014 on Minuano's travel map.

Rain, rain, rain.
We did not hurry with checking-out from the campsite. Once we did, we drove to our car rental to discuss the car return in 3 days and then found a parking lot where we would leave our car tomorrow because... we will spend Thursday on the Great Barrier Island. Yeah!

Rain, still rain.

After setting up all the details we went to the town centre where... the sun came out and stayed. Hehe, this particular sun's generosity is nothing new to us anymore.

We did our 7km walking reconnaissance through the northern NZ metropoly. It was a nice time and walk but whether we liked the city, we will be able to tell on Friday when we'll continue to explore it and it's suburbs.

But now it's time to pack the backpacks for the Island - tomorrow we start early.

Good night

Posted by Minuano 00:58 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Coromandel Peninsula to Auckland

all seasons in one day 19 °C
View AU & NZ 2014 on Minuano's travel map.

What an ocean view we had in the morning! We had to leave the parking lot at 9:00am so a quick coffee and we took off towards Whitianga, a small but old town on the western shore of the peninsula. The road there was again rainy but once parked our camper, the sun on the blues sky (!) started to dry off the streets :-)
We indulged ourselves and enjoyed a tasty breakfast at the Fig Café. The wind didn't let us to enjoy the local nice beach too long so we jumped in the car and drove the highway 25 to Coromandel Town. As opposed to road 309, the Hwy 25 is another beautiful scenic ocean road during our journey. And it is indeed great, the views are in some spots simply breathtaking.

We arrived at Coromandel on time for quite an unusual adventure: an hour ride with a mountain slim railway train. The whole idea of this one of the main touristic attractions of the town came actually as a side effect of something totally different. Local artist, a sculpturer and potterer, Barry Brickell was using clay for his works. He discovered that the hill on which the attraction now is located, offered clay with good properties so he invested in the land (he bought 60 acres property with the hill) and in the railway infrastructure. Consequently a slim railway was laid up the hill to enable logistics. You can find this story with more details on the Internet but this is worth adding that the attraction called Driving Creek Railway drew 1 million tourists 2 years ago. We liked this too.

A quick glance in the town centre and we took off to Auckland, certainly following most scenic coastline highway. Considering the fact that we were now moving southwards on the eastern side of the peninsula, we were accompanied by the sunset all along the journey.

Auckland welcomed us warm - once parked on campsite we started to prepare the last days of our stay in NZ. And indeed, we are looking forward to a real highlight :-)

Posted by Minuano 00:54 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Rotorua to Coromandel Peninsula

rain 16 °C
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Morning as yesterday: Emilka on the playground and we rushing between one and another sandwich bite. Good thing about it is that, when we took off, Emilka was already tired so by investing in morning rush on the playground, we bought ourselves relaxed 1,5h of drive. :-)

It was raining all the time until we arrived at Hot Water Beach, where it stopped when we got ready to go to the beach. This is called good timing, right?

Hot Water Beach is another surprise made by nature. Without going into the technical details of how it is actually working, in the middle of a wide, sandy beach there is a hot (up to 70C!) stream flowing towards the ocean. People gather around this stream with spades and dig their own "private" hot mineral spas / pools and indulge themselves. After a few minutes they just leave. People come and go. Some of them, if they start to "cook", jump to the ocean to cool down. And you really have to be careful not to sit to close to the hot stream. Truly amazing experience, vey nice occasion to socialize because people lie in their pools 0,5-1m from each other.

After washing away the sand under street showers from literally every part of the body, we drove another 6km north to so called Cathedral Cove - a big rock standing out from the ocean a few meters in the water. After parking our car, changing to our hiking shoes and putting Emilia into the child-carry backpack, we took off for over an hour hike to the Cathedral Cove beach. The trail led us through a thick and green forrest, steeply up and downhill, until we arrived down at the beach. This place has charm enough to be a very nice wedding location. Apparently, this is being offered by some wedding planners here.

With very good moods and Emilka in good shape (she fell asleep during the hike for 30min), we came back and discovered, we can stay on this parking lot overnight and this is allowed.

A salat and tasty sausages under the sky full of bright big and small stars did good. Tomorrow further exploration of Coromadel Peninsula.


Posted by Minuano 02:13 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)


sunny 21 °C
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Yesterday evening's reading session about Rotorua (and surroundings) made us aware of the city's attractions and... convinced to stay 1 more night. And we did not regret a bit. On the contrary, just another time we could say "we wish we could stay here longer".

After a breakfast between our camper and the playground (Emilka likes to start the day actively ;-), we drove over to the adjacent church to hear "the Word for Sunday". A few minutes afterwards we were standing beneath the Mt. Ngongotaha where we hopped on the gondola which took us up. From there we were able to see the panoramic view of the city and the lake. But this place offers more attractions than only a lookout point. One of them is adventurous ride with a luge. Before I start to describe this, I'd say you check it on thr net or youtube yourself. I can only say that we enjoyed it very much. (Basically it would have been possible to ride it with Emilia but since she wouldn't really appreciate, we decided to split and when one was riding, the other one would stay up with her).

Happy and smiling, we returned to the parking lot where our daughter once again fell united with another (this time Indian) family and wanted to leave with them (was already climbing up their car!). She found it uncool that she has to stay :-)

On the other side of town a museum called Te Puia. This another must-see/be. A Maori tour guide named Karl Leonard (yes, he has also a Maori name but I don't know the spelling) gave us a passionate and very educative introduction to Maori culture, heritage, traditions and explained about volcanic environment in New Zealand. We saw a 10-15m high geyser (how it ejected water and then how it calmed down) and hot mud pools. This was truly an amazing museum visit which we would recommend to reserve the time for when you're around Rotorua. But of course, the tour guide is Karl!

Again a few minutes drive brought us to Polynesian Spa. Even if nowadays we live in the world of spas and you can buy a multifunctional spa bath tub for your own flat, this one seems to be another special attraction, again connected to the geological environment around. The waters are natural mineral waters sourced "from beneath". Bathing session in differently warm (hot) pools after an active day was a sort of a crowning for us.

Of course again there is more to see: Lake Okareka, Agrodome etc. but we are moving out tomorrow - direction Coromandel Park.

See you there.

Posted by Minuano 04:03 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Taupo to Rotorua

sunny 24 °C
View AU & NZ 2014 on Minuano's travel map.

After another cool night in the Waikato (the name of the river) valley the sun woke us up. Good because our bodies needed extra dosage of warmth. And yet, we decided to cool down even more so we went for a short swim in the river. The little one and her dad loved it, mom took some pics from the shore :)

The ducks came by to say hi to Emilia.

After a breakfast we took off and drive only a few minutes to see Huka Falls - Waikato's waterfalls which are said to be "the most visited attraction of NZ". We couldn't confirm nor deny. But we liked this place a lot.

Half an hour drive north and we got to Wai-O-Tapu - a vulcanic "park", full of unseen views merged with unsensed smells (stink!). The place is incredible. It emerged due to (or thanks to) numerous vulcanic eruptions and later activities. Nearly 2,5h walks around craters, sulphoric waterfalls and moulds, caves and flats, almost dizzy due to smells, we moved on to see mud pools. Another place which could be very well filmed in any witch / bad creatures movies.

A short drive to Waimangu (similar but not the same) and.. We were too late.

So we drove to Rotorua. Perhaps we'll drive back tomorrow..

Rotorua lies at the Rotorua Lake and so from it's appearance it resembles Taupo. Right at the lake there is a big and diverse playground where Emilka - full of herself as she is - enjoyed time along with many other kids.

We finished thr day on the local campsite which offered hot mineral pools. Isn't it a fine end of a day which started in a cold river? :)

See you tomorrow.

Posted by Minuano 02:55 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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