ROAD TRIP – NZ
Start of our road trip on 19th February 2016 to 26th April 2016.
No need for a Visa if you come for less than 3 months.
We went to rent a camper van to Auckland with “Motorhome Republic company“. They are a good agency & friendly. You can find other companies around New Zealand, don’t hesitate.. but we had the best deal with them at that point. It is a old “Jucy Rental” painted in white. After showing papers, knowing the few things to know about the camper van, we took the road in the automatic left side car !!
Cost ; 2 963,52 NZD from 20th February to 26th April for 2 people.
If you plan ( like we did ) to join the North island with South Island, you will need to book your ticket for the ferry From Wellington ( North ) to Nelson ( South ) – We paid : 400 NZD for the camper van & 70 NZD per person.
Tips ; Go online – “Interisland” you will have a -10%.
DOC CAMP & APP
The DOC camp area are the cheapest you will find & people are taking care of the place. You will find a lot of “Honesty Box” – You pay when you get in with the camper van & sometimes they come to verify that everyone paid.
Or / & you have this amazing App that I recommend hardly ( save us lots of money ) ; “Campermate” – Without Internet connection it will work. Enjoy.
We used an amazing App again that should be already on your phone … “maps.me” – same without Internet connection & very useful.
Another amazing thing to know ; with “Caltex” go & take the card & receive – 6 cts / Liters.
The best place & cheap one is “Pack’n Save“. There are lots of deals to find out.
The best way to know more about the place you are in is to go to the “Visitor Information Center” in all the places & ask all your questions & take all the free papers about it. Ask them also the magasines with the reductions at the end before doing any activities !!
Tips ; Ask where is the best pie around !!
Budget of this trip ; 4 900 NZD including – activities, treats, van, tickets, ferry, food, fuel.
NORTH PENINSULA – 4 days
From Auckland, Devonport we took the camper van & drove to Manly first ; a beautiful beach. “Whangaeri” the caves walk & waterfalls. Then, we stopped to “Oakurua” near a beach for the night.
Arrived to “Okiato” to cross with a little ferry ( no other way with a camper van – 12,50 NZD ). 2 waterfalls on the way ; “Haruru” & “Rainbow”. Drive to “Aroha Island” where you can find a Kiwi resort. You can stay for the nights but you will need to pay. “Kari Kari Peninsula” – “Rangiputa Beach” ; snorkeling spot. To end to “Tokerau” for the night, we had very strong rain at that point.
On the road again, “Kaitaia” where you can do some shopping.. “Cape Reinga” for the lighthouse & be where the 2 oceans joins. It is a wonderful thing to see, You will be at the North Point of New Zealand. A succession of places came next ; “Tapotupotu Bay” sand & river – “Te Paki” sandy dunes – “Paua” white sand – “Ninety Mile Beach” as the name told already, it is a huge sandy beach of ninety mile – “Raetea” stop for the evening.
Drove to “Rowere” to cross with the ferry ( 22 NZD ) – “Opononi” amazing view on the dunes – “Kauri Trees Forest” a forest walk to appreciate the view of this amazing tree “Kauri”, you will be able to touch this famous old tree from New Zealand. Then we drove to “Pahi” where you will see this massive fig tree. Then we drove back to Devonport.
NORTH ISLAND ; AUCKLAND – 2 days
We took the ferry by foot to cross to go to City center of Auckland. “Art Gallery” is a nice place to visit, then we walked to the “Museum” but didn’t pay for it. Walked back to the port to cross again back home. The next day we went to “Lake Pupuke”, a beautiful spot. Then drove to “Mount Eden” – 360 degree view on the volcano & walk to “One Tree Hill View”, cross some sheeps. Direction “Mission Bay” to relax a bit before heading off to our next stop.
RAGLAN – 5 days
We drove South to “Raglan” to start the next morning our lessons of surf. At this place, you will find the most amazing restaurant with their “Cheeseburger” homemade at “Raglan Social Club“.
The only negative point of this little town, they don’t want any camper van staying over night in town ( 40 NZD ).
We reserved a 5 days surf lesson with “Raglan Surf School” ( 325 NZD each ). Plus, you will have a t shirt ! The first lesson started with 30 mins ; theory. Then we went all by 4X4 to the beach “Ngarunui”, took the wet suit, board & let’s surf. Learn to stand on the board on the sand & after practice on the waves. for 2 hours & a half, it is a sensational experience. Then you can take a shower at the beach, take your stuff & go back to the school.
The next 4 days were really enjoyable, catching some waves, laugh a lot & we had 2 days just the 2 of us with the teacher. It was really good & sportive. Apparently, you can choose to do your days whenever you want. We decided to do our 5 days straight away to have the most of it.
WAITOMO – 1 day
Waitomo Cave to see the glowworms. The visit is for 1 hour, from 9am to 5pm. 49 NZD per adult – 24 NZD per child. But if you have got the reduction book, you will find a -25% . We paid 35 NZD per person. It’s worth it, a fabulous tour guide trough streams, waterfalls, a tour on the boat in the dark to see the sky of glowworms, fantastic formations with stalactites & stalagmites.
Warning ; You can’t take photos in the caves. So shut down the cameras, be silent & enjoy the peaceful caves.
NEW PLYMOUTH – 3 days
You will find with pleasure that all around the mountain “Taranaki”, there are free camping area. Discover the different “attractions” around the mountain… “Wreck of the SS Gairloch” ; A boat in ruin on the beach, “Kumara Patch” ; surf break, “stent Road” ; A little Light house, “Opunake” ; view of the ocean. Finally, drive to our spot for the night on a parking at “Dawsons Falls” were you can enjoy a magnificent view & the start of long walks.
“Wilkies Pools Track” – 2,3 km followed by “Ridge Loop Track” – 3 km to finish to “Dawsons Falls” from “Kapuni Track” 2 km. A very beautiful walk for the nature lover.
Drive to the lake “Rotokare” with a free camping at the edge of the lake. We walked around it – 1 hour & a half for 4 km.
Road to “Eltham” & see the water tower & the gallery was closed.
WANGANUI – 2 days
Continue our road to “Whanganui” ; art gallery, museum & discover the art on the street ; The spiral wall made with printing hands, The globe & Crayons planted in the grass.. Follow our trip to “Whanganui River Road” for 64 km for some stops, then we did the road to “Raetiki de Pipiriki” – We felt it was more impressive than the road next to the river.
Road down to “Cape Palliser”, one stop before arriving there ; “Canyon River Valley Lodge Mokai Gravity, River Andvin”. 15 mins from main road. You can drive on the bridge with a crazy deepest canyon under you. Road to the park “Masterston”, next to a lake with some ducks.. It is quiet & peaceful place, not far from the road. You can find at the swimming pool, a HOT shower for 2 NZD… & I can tell you that it is amazing sometimes to feel warm.
Drive to “Putanginua Pinacles”, 1 hour & a half walk to see impressive and vertiginous cliffs. It is definitely a spot to go for.
Road to “Ngawi”, seals colony – don’t need to say more, there are a lot & you can stay forever in this kind of place. Stop at “Lake Wairapa” for the night.
On our way to “Rimutaka Forest” to walk more ; with “Loop Track Pool” 1 hour 10 mins.
MIRAMAR ; WETA CAVE – 1 day
“Weta Cave” is a work tour of “The Lord Of The Ring”, very close to “Wellington”. The shop & a movie of 25 mins are free. The work tour is 25 NZD per person for 1 hour. We were very disappointed as we went on the last tour of the day & the people working in there were already gone. Not a very good deal then. So don’t go for the last session.
Session start every half hour from 9.30am to 5pm, every day.
Finish the day to our spot for the night & such an amazing sunset…
WELLINGTON – 2 days
In town, you can find across “Caphtorne Hotel” some parking space for 1,50 NZD per hour, not like in the center at 4 NZD per hour. Walking 5 mins from the museum “Te Papa”. If you are not scared to walk more, drive a bit further up the street & you will find parking space for free for 2 hours.
A very beautiful art exhibition ; photos from the old city – a little film to explain where come from the Haka Dance.
Along the ocean, the walk is very nice but very windy ( Understand why it is called “Wellington” ). Across the bridge, a little Spanish carnival made with old toys, old fashion & old material for kids.
The Portrait Gallery is a great place to visit & the “Academy of arts is also a good building. The park “Botanic Garden” is nice.
Next day, in the queue to get to the ferry 1 hour before as the queue start to be very long already. We had bad luck as the ferry was 1 hour late also. 3 hours to cross, if you are sick in boat, don’t forget to bring something.
SOUTH ISLAND ; NELSON – 2 days
7pm arrival, drive on the road “Queen Charlotte drive” with such an amazing view of island. We stopped to “Rai Valley” camp area.
Arrive to “Nelson” in the next morning, the market is out & is very pretty. Go to do the famous & beautiful “Abel Tasman National Park” from “Marahaw” for a long track to arrive to “Anchorage Bay” – 25 km return – we did in 6 hours. Beautiful views of the “Adele Island”, beaches.. A lot of people took the option of Kayaking all the way. We finished our walk on a Paradise beach, calm ocean with low tied. The turquoise water, rocks around gold sand. You will find at “Old McDonald Farm” a hot shower for 3 NZD. It is indispensable really after this walk.
Drove to our spot for the night at “Hope Saddle Lookout”, panoramic view & a stunning sunset.
GLACIERS – 3 days
We stopped first to “Punakaiki” to see the Pancakes Rocks next to the road. Next stop, to “Hokitika” gorge with turquoise water. Just splendid but please, don’t forget your spray against the sand flies… There are everywhere !
“Franz Joseph Glaciers”, 3 walks of 2 hours 10 mins in total. We had a lot of rain for our walks unfortunately. Lots of waterfalls all the way to the glacier, it was misty but the view is wonderful. An ecological catastrophe when you can see at the look out the photo of the Glacier in 1958 & now. The Glacier is losing 3 to 5 cm of ice every day. It is not sure, it will still be there in 100 years.
“Lake Matheson” for 1 hour & a half around it. You will be able to see the reflection of Mount Cook in the lake. Beautiful & stunning photos to take.
“Fox Glacier”, 1 hour walk with waterfalls again around us. The last 400 m has to be done without stopping on a steep hill. The “Fox Glacier” is larger but smaller than “Franz Joseph Glacier”.
“Diamond Lake Track” for the night & a beautiful view. You can find a campersite for 45 NZD the night – wifi – Spa – Showers – BBQ ( we did the next evening ).
“Rob Roy Glacier”, is a 10 km track in a steep hill all the way. We did in 5 hours. But it is definitely a walk to do. It is from far my favorite. You will arrive in front of the glacier, waterfall, stunning place to have a rest. We would stay forever.
ARROWTOWN – 1 day
It is a charming village, famous for the people trying to find some gold in the river “Arrow”. It is also a place filmed in “The Lord Of The Ring” ( for the fans ; when Arwen has Frodo with her on the horse & she made the river horses drawn the 9 Nazgûls ). Have a go in the river to find some gold.
QUEENSTOWN – 3 days
You will find free parking up hill on some streets out of the center of the town. Walk along the lake, visit an art Gallery, walk along the streets.. This town is my favorite in New Zealand.
Drive to “Wakatipu” a camp area for 10 NZD per person for the night.
Enjoying being in town the most of the time. In an evening, you should try the famous “Ferger Burger” ( a bit expensive ; Mr Big Stuff 16,50 NZD & fries 4,50 NZD ). It is not difficult to find it.. Follow the queue H24 in front of it.
7am – walk to the Rafting place in town. 8 am departure for 45 mins driving. Wet suit, shoes, safe jacket, helmet, paddle & let’s do it. 6 per boat, explanation of the safety procedure with funny guides. 1 hour in the water, 3 – 4 rapids, the view of the famous scene in “The Lord Of The Ring” ( when they paddle in boats & pass the 2 big status of the Aragorn’s ancestress ). Wath a person jumping from the bridge with an elastic. The last rapid was the most bigger & scary ever. An amazing feeling & enjoying every seconds of it. Back to the place, you can have a sauna & shower there.
Little tip if you want to have a tattoo in New Zealand ; “Otautahitattoo“.
TE ANAU – 2 days
“Rainbow Beach” to “Shallow Bay” normally 3 hours & a half walk, we did in 2 hours in a humid forest ; Fjordland. It was a nice walk with a river & 2 bridges..
Next thing is indispensable for any people coming around this area ; go to “Miles Better Pies”. The pies here are more expensive but they are just the most amazing one we eaten. ( Ex ; Mince & Cheese pie for 5,50 NZD ).
We founded a camp for 6 NZD the night.
Road early in the morning to “Milford Sound”, go through a long narrow tunnel to reach a stunning view of misty mountains, waterfalls… “Mileford Foreshore Walk” 20 mins – view on the mountains & very strong waterfalls under the bridge, “View point” 15 mins, “Walkaway” 20 mins, “Breakwater” 5 mins. Drive a bit further to “The Chasm” 20 mins. It is an amazing walk to do with waterfalls, crazy formation rocks from the strong water, “Homer Tunnel” again to go back the other side. “Monkey Creek” a natural & pure water to drink.. Fill you bottles, it is such a nice feeling to drink this water. “Key Summit” 3 hours start from “The Divide” to walk up to the top of the mountain. A crazy & breath taking 360 degree view of mountains around us..Definitely a walk to do.
Drive to “Mirrors Lakes”, supposed to be a view with reflections of the mountains but the water was not clear for us. Road back to “Te Anau”, & of course back to our reward of the day ; Pies. Then, finally, drive to our stop at “Lake Monowai” for a sky view.. Unfortunately, a crazy amount of sand flies & mosquito came in the van & we decided to move away from this place.
INVERCARGILL – 1 day
It was a stop to visit & walk around the town, enjoy the museum & gallery. We organised our next trip & took all the information from the Isites.
THE CATLINS – 4 days
“Niagara”; the smallest falls of the world. “Waikawa”; museum. “Purpoise Bay”; forest fossil ( It is a forest who was recovering by the ocean & changed as stones ). At low tied, you can luckily see yellow eyes penguins, but there were to many people when we went.
“Curio Bay” ; if you never heard about it, that’s it. It is The place to swim with Hectors dolphins for free. They come to play in the waves just next to the beach. It was magical to see them around, we jumped in the ocean ( very ***** cold !! ) & we had 6 hectors around us to come to play with us.. for 1 hour, we enjoyed their company & decided to go back to the beach as we started to be completely freezing.
Drove to “Slope point” the South point of the South ! 20 mins to walk down to the sign. It was super windy but very nice to feel we did a month ago the North point & now the South point. Then we drove to “Weird’s Beach” to stay until tomorrow. At night, the moon was really bright.
Next day again to “Curio Bay”, but not so many dolphins & less play full. We are glad we went the day before. We spend our day to watch them playing in the waves. And suddenly, we heard that there are some sharks coming here sometimes too…….
Next morning, we wake up early to go back to the view point to see yellow eyes penguins.. We were so lucky as there were just one coming out from the bush & making his way to the ocean.. Very close, we were very quiet to don’t disturb it. “Mclean Falls” wonderful one, 40 mins. Then, the “Cathedral Caves” it is 5 NZD but when we get to the parking, it was full already & so popular !! we decided to don’t go. “Lake Wilkie” 30 mins.
“Florence Hill Lokk Out”, superb view on the beach “Tautuku board walk” 30 mins with birds singing in a fabulous forest. Drive to “Purakanui falls” 20 mins but so many people. “Jack’s Bay”, a huge beach, rocks along it & suppose to have some penguins & sea lions coming at dusk. We spot a baby sea lion coming out from the ocean just in front of us… Magical. Later, we saw a little penguin coming out of the ocean & hesitated a bit to finally walk to the bush to join his family. Amazing day.
In the next morning, I saw 2 sea lions going back to the ocean.. Road to “Cannibal Bay” & an amazing surprise for us as there were 20 sea lions laying down on the beach to have some rest.. We walked along it & saw some couples, babies, playing games between them.. Wonderful.
“Nugget Point” is a little walk of 30 mins to join the light house with a view on the rocks under us were babies seals play there. Some people very nice lend us the binoculars to watch them.
“Kaka point”, “Milton” & then “Brighton” to stay for the night.
DUNEDIN – 3 days
We went straight away to the I center to take information about the blue penguins. We booked with “New Zealand’s Wildlife and Heritage Destination” for 82 NZD for 2 person. It was on “Otago peninsula” at night. We went then to the “Art Gallery”, walk in the streets to see the “street arts”.
At 6.30pm departure to the peninsula with a group of 50 people. You will be on a little wood balcony where there are lights for the blue penguins to come from the ocean to their home. A group of 7 penguins arrived, 5 of them went straight away in the bush. 2 of them, more curious, staid there for ages. A real pleasure to take photos of them & look at them.
In the parking, the night was so clear that we took some photos of the stars.. stunning. That’s it, we were in the “Catlins” without the famous stars, but here we go now !
Next day ; “Hasker Inlet”, “lovers Leap” & “The Chasm” ; vertiginous view but wonderful. Then, went to “Cathedral St Paul” with a parking for 5 mins free – Went in 5 mins & come back. Road to “Baldwin Street”, the most sloping street of the world. If you are courageous, walk up the street to the top & enjoy the view – Extraordinary.
Road to the “Moeraki Rocks”. Kind of eggs rocks on the beach. Be aware of being there before 5p, before the tied goes up again. Then, drive to our stop for the night ; “Taranui” next to the beach on a cliff.
Road to “Elephants Rocks”, a huge park of grass & massive rocks with elephant shape. A very nice place to see. Drive along the “Lake Aviemore”, a peaceful lake where you can find somewhere to stop for a pic-nic next to it. Destination “Omarama” ; Clay cliffs where you can walk between & along it.
MOUNT COOK – 2 days
Stop to the “Lake Pukaki” with the camp site next to the lake & with the view of Mt Cook a bit forward. An amazing place to enjoy your time, breath with beautiful colors in the sky, on the mountains & reflecting on the lake.. Next day, drove to Mt Cook ; “Hooker Valley Track” for 2 hours & a half, 10 km. Tour around a mountain to arrived on Mt Cook, the view is amazing. “Tasman Glacier” for 1 hour & a half, 6 km. 300 steps to join the top of a mountain with a beautiful view.
Back to our camp site & enjoyed a pic nic next to the lake. Next step, “Lake Tekapo”. Find our camp area ; “Waitohi Bush Reserve” – a forest on a mountain.
CHRISTCHURCH – 2 days
We started to go to the I site to know all about the things to do around. “Museum”, “Art Gallery”, “Cathedral Square” who is half in ruins because of the earthquake 5 years ago. “New Regent Street” for the graffiti, the colorful houses, the “pyramid Cathedral”, the 185 empty chairs for the memorial who is very depressing & made me feel unconfortable, the “Containers Shopping Mall” is a very artistic place & original. Then we went to the exhibition “Spectrum” of Street Art, a very nice exhibition.
You can find a parking for 3 hours in the “Botanic Garden”. Walk along the river “Avon”.. A pretty little garden. Find our next stop for the night to “Pigeon Bay” for 10 NZD, nothing special about this place.
We took the road “summit Road” to see the volcano & bays around. It is a beautiful view & the light is wonderful. Then we moved to “Birdlings Flat” ; beach with pebbles. We, finally, founded a parking for free after a long drive to “Mount Grey” in a forest with some bees.
Resume from the Peninsula “Akaroa” – A bit disappointed as the Kiwis were not very friendly & it is not a secret to say that they hate camper van so we are in a category straight away when they see us… Lots of signs with “No Camper van”, “No parking”… etc..
KAIKOURA -4 days
Went to the I site to know that there is a camp site next to a surf beach 15 km from the town center. Drive along the Peninsula to go to see “Kean Point” ; 7 seals resting on rocks just next to the parking. We would like to jump in the water to have a swim with them but the water is too cold. The weather was not great so we had a walk in town, see some shops, along the beach.. It is a very relaxing & peaceful town. Drive to the beach “Kiwa” where we founded a “Paua”. Look at the sunrise next to the beach..
Wake up to discover a little seal playing in the waves. Drive back to “Kean Point” to do the walk there. You will go up the cliffs to enjoy a beautiful view of the ocean. Next step, “Ohau Point” a lookout on a colony of babies seals. There are so cute. There is a sign specifying to don’t cross the barrier & go close to them. Someone did just in front of us & went very close to the babies. We called the number to give the number of their plate of the car… Because of this kind of people, magical places like this will be gone..
Then a bit further up the road, you can walk to go to see a waterfall & we had an amazing surprise as there were babies seals playing in the waterfall so close to us… We drove to our stop for the night ; “Okiwi Bay” ; a little garden park next to the ocean & the train. Beautiful day.
“Omaka” to visit an exhibition of planes. Next step, “White Bay” ; 6 NZD camp area where you can go for a walk in a forest to go to see some Glow worms at night. We went for a walk on the beach, grass parking area, pic nic tables, showers, toilet… It is a beautiful place to go for a night or more. It was just, so special … The sound of the river & the light of the glow worms just in front of us… Then we walked back to the van to discover that the sky is very clear again.. The milky way is still so visible.
The morning, wake up early to go to see the sunrise on the beach. Nobody, calm, & the lights just start to appear behind the horizon. A spectacular show…
Next part, “Robin Hood Bay” ; very small area wish is to go surfing. “Ocean Bay” ; a bit more North, calm ocean, nobody & pebbles beach. A nice walk on the beach, a swim on the ocean to see some fishes. Drove to “Waikawa Marina Park Side” 16 NZD per person. BBQ, pool, TV & all the usual facilities. Worth it.
PICTON – 1 day
I site, walk on the main streets, along the ocean to wait until we go for the ferry crossing.
NORTH ISLAND ; WELLINGTON – 1 day
We went in town for a while then drove to a camp area but it was closed from February. Very late, we slept in front of the entrance with 2 others cars.
TONGARIRO – 2 days
I site to know all about the crossing. drove to “Turangi” ; walk in town & go to our camp for the night at “Waikoko”. The next day, wake up early, drove 40 km to the start of the track “Alpine Crossing” ; 19 km, 6 hour. It was a cold, misty & rainy day for us, whatever we decided to do it. When we get there to the top of the volcano, you are suppose to see a crazy view of the crater ; unfortunately, we could not see much but the place is amazing even without the view. A challenging track to do & have an amazing souvenir.
TAUPO – 4 days
This place is one of my favorite in New Zealand. You can find a parking space in front of the lake for free. The view is spectacular & breath taking. We walked in town, see some shops, see the famous plane MC Donald !
Next day, I site for information. “Hot Pools” spa park 55 mins to walk & find under a bridge a natural hot pool. We had fun to swim from the hot pool to the cold river running down from a glacier. It is a nice place to stay for a bit. We drove back to our spot to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
Wake up early to enjoy the view of the sunrise on the lake. Then go back to the Hot Pools. Go for our treat at the MC Donald, very funny to be on a plane. Drive to “Acacia Bay”. Enjoy some few time next to a bridge.
The next day, the weather is not great & a lot more people so we decided to don’t go the the hot pools. Last Pie in town & drive to “Huka Falls” ; very powerful waterfall. You can walk along it & enjoy different view of the fall. Then, drove to “Huka Honey Hive” story of the bees & honey. Next part, we nearly miss it, to the “Aratiatia Rapids” at 2 pm when they open the “dam” to leave the water flow. Amazing to see this. You can also walk along to see the different view of the rapids.
“Kerasene Creek” ; Hot Pools – Very hot ! You can park on a big space, walk down in a forest to find different spot to swim in the pools. You can smell the sulfur. In this parking, someone told us that it was not safe to stay for the night on the parking as there are people coming to rob cars parked there at night. Drove to “Okaro” ; free parking next to a lake & BBQ.. Much better.
ROTORUA – 2 days
Go very early to the “Geo Thermal Wonderland”. First of all, you can enjoy the “Mud Pools” outside the park for free is a violent & spectacular boiling mud. The largest in New Zealand.
8.30 am the center open the doors. 32,50 NZD per person with -10% coupons ; 29,25 NZD for us. We decided to do the tour for photos from 8.40 am to 9.45 am to have photos without lots of people & to go for the “Gewser Lady Knox” presented daily at 10.15 am who can reach heights of up to 20 m. They put some soap on it & in 2 mins to gewser comes. Go back to the park after this to enjoy more. Go to a speech at 11.30 am at the “Champagne Pool” to understand what made the pools, the color & how deadly is to touch it ! This pool is orange & green, thats why they called it “Champagne Pool”. 12 pm at the “Devil’s Bath” yellow & green pool, another speech.
You have 3 walks in the park for a total of 75 mins. “Wai-O-Tapu – Thermal Wonderland” is a particular place with colorful & diverse volcanic area. Definitely, thing to do.
Go the next day to “Rainbow Springs Park” to see Kiwis. 36 NZD per person with -10% coupons again. In a dark room, you can go quietly to see Kiwis behind a glass where they are eating as they are living during night. You can’t take photos. 4 Kiwis in 4 different enclosure. You can enjoy to see birds, lizards, fishes & of course the “Big Splash” ; a huge park where you can see dinosaurs & jump into a big splash ! At 11.30 am, you can see a bird show with beautiful parrots.
We drove to the “Lake Rotorua” & the forest to have a pic nic. Come back at night at 7.30 pm to go where the kiwis wake up to go to eat in open air enclosure. The lights around the park are very nice, it is something very special to walk in a park by night. We spent 1 hour in the place to see the Kiwis moving around & eating. 2 males & 1 female. Wonderful to see. A man in the center said to us that the Kiwis can live until 60 years old but in the wild in general 1 year. The male take care of the eggs for 90 days. They can cross a river & use their beak to breath. When they are more than 1 kg, they put them back into the wild.
TAURANGA – 1 day
“Mount Maunganui” ; walk along the beach with a view on the mountains. Do 30 mins walk return “Maturiki Walk” little island. Art gallery & go to the nest Fish & Chips ever ; “Fresh Fish Market”.
“Karangahake Gorge” 1 hour & a half walk in old mines in a forest, mountains.. Just spectacular ! Tunnels with rails, torch to go in, bridges with stunning view of the walk, … It is a wonderful walk to do.
“Waihi” ; ruins of a church, “Whiritoa” ; surf beach, “Wentworth Valley Falls” 2 hours walk with waterfalls. “Whangamata” ; pic nic near beach, “Opoutere” ; beach & camp site but very dirty, we decided to move on.
COROMANDEL – 5 days
“Whitianga” – to stay for our nights. “New Chums Beach” ; at 12 pm it is low tide & can enjoy a walk on the beach & find your way for the “secret” beach behind the forest. 1 hour & a half return. “Coromandel Town” for the I site & move to “Long Bay” & “route 309”. Gravel road to “Castle Rock”. “Waiau Falls” small but very cute. “Kauri Grove” & “Saumeses Kauri” where we could be very close & touch the tree trunk. their were 12 000 years old.
Next day to “Cook Beach” ; walk along the beach then “Winery Opoutere”where you can play some ping pong & a drink.
Took a shovel of beach & drive to “Hot Water Beach”, walk along the beach to find some people digging some whole in the sand to make their hot pool. It is a very funny moment to enjoy digging whole & being recover by the waves.. Finding that the stream is just on our way so it is too hot.. So funny.
THAMES – 1 day
28 km of a gravel road to arrive to “Thames”. Go to the “Pinnacles – lookout Edwood” 1 hour return. “Hoffman Pool” 5 mins very nice but too many sand flies. We founded a camp at “Ngatea” & you can enjoy some free wifi from the library if you park close enough to it.
AUCKLAND – 2 days
The 2 last days in Auckland were around “Takapuna”, “Devonport”, in town center. I had my tattoo in the same place that “Queenstown”.
That’s it ; 8 630 Km in total –
Enjoy your trip & I hope I helped you for your journey.