Northlands

Can’t believe we have nearly seen the whole of New Zealand! 
We finished off the Coromandel by hugging some Kauri trees. Some of these trees have been here for thousands of years so they are doing their best to conserve them.


Hugging them was my contribution to conservation.
Currently exploring the northlands, where there are a few sparsely populated villages.
Our first stop was Omamari, on the West coast. We stayed at a campsite overlooking the Kaiiwi lake.






After a pretty rough nights sleep in the back of the car (the temperature is starting to drop!) we head to another Kauri forest. We weren’t allowed to hug these trees.

These pictures can never show the sheer size of these giants.





From the Kauri forest we head up the coast to Maunganui Bluff. I took a walk on the beach and Laura explored the mountain. We both got soaked to the skin, I was wind and sand beaten, Laura covered in mud. The signs of a good walk! 



We dried off best we could in the car and continued north. 



We stopped in Opononi and found the only campsite available. This is where we learned there are very few towns. Luckily we had enough food to last until we found a store! 


At least there’s plenty of drinking water for us! 

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To the East Cape

Callum (who we met in Dunedin on the South Island) met us in Gisborne and joined us on our journey to the East Cape.


We stopped at Tolaga Bay Wharf, a really long jetty reaching out into the ocean.







Our home for the evening is a campsite over looking the beach.




The facilities consist of a drop toilet inside a corrugated box on top of the hill. For 6 bucks a night, you can’t go wrong. 


We had plans to wake up early for the sunrise over the easternmost part of the land.


Was such a clear night, the moon lit up the place.


Over 800 steps to get to the lighthouse to watch the sun come up.





I was very out of breath at the top. 
Luckily, it was more than worth it.






Moved onto Whakatane where we caught the moonrise. 



We treated ourselves to a bit of ‘normality’ and went to the cinema to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

Gisborne

 
Another amazing vista on our drive to Gisborne at TÅ«tira Lake.

One of the upsides to staying in a Top 10 campsite is they usually have a jumping pillow…



After exerting most of our energy bouncing around like kids we took on the challenge of walking the length of Poverty Bay.






It’s the equivalent to November weather here, but that didn’t stop us having a sea swim.





We ended walking over 10 miles and we still didn’t make it to the end of the beach!

Taupo to Napier

 
All along the drives around New Zealand there are signs to point out views, we stop at most. The one we stopped at between Taupo and Napier was a real surprise.



A waterfall! It’s not actually signposted apart from the ‘viewpoint’ sign! Talk about hidden treasure! 
Napier is the Art Deco capital of New Zealand…





As we found another spot to freedom camp we treated ourselves to an Indian.
Honestly, we were both disappointed with it, especially as we can both cook! On the plus side, we had leftovers so we didn’t have to worry about breakfast the following day! 


Followed by ice cream…



And all before noon! Piggies! 




Quick stop at Bluff Hill lookout for some views over the dock.

Wanaka to Franz Josef

Puzzling world!!


Got lost in the maze, but we did complete it! No idea how long we took but we were hungry! 









Optical illusion time!



















Enough of fooling our tiny brains, onwards to Franz Josef! 


Only thing with New Zealand is you can’t drive very far without seeing a view to stop and enjoy.











The drive from Wanaka north to the glaciers was amazing. So many amazing vistas! 
Eventually arrived at Franz Josef!



Camping with the mountains as a backdrop.

Couldn’t ask for more! 

Wanaka

Camping life, I don’t even know how long we’ve been sleeping rough for! 


Wanaka has ice cream and lakes to offer.



Took an easy tramp around the lake (made it harder on ourselves by walking on the pebbles and shingle!)



Me attempting The Little Mermaid pose on a rock!



All the autumnal colors are bright as!



Queenstown to Wanaka

There’s so much to do in Queenstown, we have limited time, the Skyline was the activity of choice.


Laura is really not vain, but this was such a funny shot to catch of her! Mwhaha!


You know when people talk about ‘breath-taking views’. Well, this is like the king of breath taking views! 
I could have stayed here all day staring at this.





Luge time!




This was so much fun! Bloody freezing on the ski lift, especially when it stops for no apparent reason halfway!



Burritos before we hit the road to Wanaka.



The drive from Queenstown to Wanaka wasn’t too bad on the eyeballs.


Wanaka isn’t too bad either.