North Island- New Zealand
02.03.2017 - 06.03.2017 62 °F
We've had limited access to internet lately so I apologize for the lapse in postings. I'll try to catch everyone up now and not forget too much! March 2nd: we were picked up at the Auckland Airport by the rental camper-van company, which took us to pick up our camper-van. We ended up waiting there for about 3 1/2 hours which was a bummer, but it did allow us catch up on some research for the upcoming days. Once we got the van, we filled up on "petrol", grabbed some food and gas for our camping stove from Warehouse and headed on our way to Lake Taupo where we stayed for the night on the way to our first "tramping" adventure. The Kiwis call hiking tramping so we are trying to fit in by doing so as well!
Lake Taupo was absolutely beautiful! In the AM we walked/ran up to Huka Falls right by the lake and then took a swim in the natural hot springs and pools that were right there! The water here is so clear and blue, definitely not like the lakes back home. Graham was able to get some great pictures of the falls.
After our exploration of Lake Taupo it was off to Lake Waikaremoana Holiday Park to get ready for the first Great Walk. We woke up early to drive the long gravel roads into the small town of Onepoto. Along the way, we saw the most amazing sunrise over the hills.
The first day was tough since we hiked up hill for the first half of the day and went about 16km. The scenery was absolutely amazing though, which made it worth all the effort. The forests looked like something out a fairy tale- very lush, with huge trees, and you could hear bird song every now and then. The trail was mostly untraveled, but we did end up meeting a few groups of people at each campsite. A young couple and a group of locals were going the same direction as us and staying at the same sites. The locals were super nice and offered great advice! It was a group of about 8-10 middle aged men who had been friends since they were about 11 and go on 2-3 hiking/camping trips together every year. It reminds me of Graham and his friends- still connected after so many years! The first campsite had a great hut where you could cook food and wash your dishes and was right on the lake. Everyone went in for a swim in the cool water which was much appreciated after the hike we just completed!
The next two days went on pretty much the same way - long hikes during the day and then relaxing, swimming and cooking at night. The water taxi picked us up and the end of the hike and took us back to our camper van. We had a beer to celebrate completion of the Great Walk, showered and headed back out on the road towards Napier where we visited a winery and stayed at a carpark right on the ocean. It was great hearing the waves crashing the shore during dinner. Graham has a great story about our night there, but I'll let him tell you.
From there, we drove through Napier down to Wellington where it was raining and gloomy during our stay. We dodged into a coffee shop to use their wifi and enjoyed a few great flat whites. We did manage to catch a beautiful sunrise on our way out as well.
So there you have it... that was how we spent our first few days in NZ. We are in Marlborough wine country right now and are about to visit a few wineries.
We've been moving pretty quick so we haven't had a lot of time to upload photos. Once we have more time, we'll make sure to upload a ton more!
Until next time- xo, Miya