Thursday, 12 May 2016

NZ: Napier to Rotorua

A quick tour of Napier complete, we camped on a cheap 'donation only' campsite about 50 minutes north of the city at Lake Tutira.  We pitched the tent facing the lake, hoping for a beautiful scene to wake up to in the morning. Instead we had a thick fog. Can't complain though! We left the campsite with the original intention of driving to Gisbourne and staying the night, but one look at Gisbourne and we carried on driving - there didn't seem like much to do and we were way ahead of schedule, so we decided to continue on to East Cape.

We stopped at the longest Wharf in the southern hemisphere at Tolaga Bay, 660m.  It is quite long and we walked up and down it, but I didn't feel a sense of awe that I was hoping to feel!

We also stopped at Tokomaru Bay which was very pretty but in the end, just another beach.  I feel like I am getting a bit meh and nothing stirs me like it did on the South Island!

We took the long gravel road down to the East Cape Campsite where we spotted the cutest baby cow ever - and I don't use the word Calf, I say baby cow because it looked like it was only a few weeks old. I have never seen such a baby before!!! I wanted to cuddle it but the mum was staring pretty sternly so we carried on driving.  East Cape is literally just a gravel road with some remote farms along it but it's pretty beautiful, and for some reason they let their horses roam free - no fences or anything. Trustworthy bunch I guess.

We caught the sunset just before we pulled in to the site to set up the tent.  Unfortunately my tummy which has been so good up until now, decided to be dodgy for the evening, right when we were camping furthest away from the toilets that we ever have done, and the toilet was a disgusting long drop that had a huge spider in that wasn't very pleasant!

The tent was blown left right and centre so we had a bad night sleep of tent flap to the face, and we woke bright and early at 5am to trek up to the East Cape light house to see the sunrise.  Lots of publications had made a big deal about the 880 steps you climb up but it really wasn't that bad, and we took our spots on a patch of grass to see the sunrise - the first sunrise in the world.

Well, it was nice, but I have seen better, and the atmosphere is kinda ruined by tons of other people joining you and taking pictures every 2 seconds (to be fair me included - I worked out my camera has a timelapse function so took a terrible set of photos without a tripod) .  The lighthouse was nice though.

We were lazy and had an extra hour kip in the tent on our return, though the tent was still flapping wildly in our faces so it wasn't that great and we decided to call it quits and continue on our drive to Rotorua.

I have already been here but Anja hadn't so we had decided to spend a few days for her to take in the eggy smell and see some geothermal activity.  We arrived mid afternoon so she went to a Maori village experience whilst I read my book in the car - The Rainmaker by John Grisham if you're interested. I got pretty addicted to it and couldn't put it down.

As hostels were only $5 more expensive than camping we decided to treat ourselves - but we both decided we sleep better in the tent!

We checked into the hostel I stayed at previously, in fact my first ever hostel in New Zealand, and spookily I ended up in the same room with the same bed.  As it was a Saturday night we treated ourselves to a Korean dinner which was delicious...we had vague thoughts of a night out but the town was pretty empty so we headed back to the hostel, to find pretty much the rest of the town here playing Beer Pong.

The next day I had my first New Zealand visitor - Rinse!! He lives in Matamata which is only an hour away, so he came to visit us in Rotorua.  We hiked up to the Rainbow Mountain, which was a bit disappointing compared to anything on the south island (do you recognise a theme here!), took a drive to Kerosene Creek which is a hot flowing stream, decided not to get in as the water smelt sulphury, then went back to the hostel where we had dinner and played games with other hostel people.  Rinse spotted a pretty Dutch girl and ended up staying till late....player....

View from Rainbow Mountain

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