Last Saturday we set off on our road trip of the north island. We picked up our car from the airport and headed off to the Waitomo Caves. The car was an automatic which I wasn't a big fan of but it was alright! We got lost within the first 10 minutes but finally found our way out of the airport and were on our way! The caves were so cool and looked so beautiful on the inside where the rock had sort of dripped into place over time. Its crazy! When it was really dark we could see glow worms all around the cave. They looked so pretty but when we realised they were just maggots that turned into flies it put me off them a bit!
After our tour we moved on to New Plymouth and spent the night in the car with our sleeping bags. It was a little spooky and got very cold but saved the cost of a hostel! We woke up very early and decided to head into Egmont National Park to see Mount Taranaki. Unfortunetly we were off to a bad start when Will had been driving for 5 mins and then got pulled over by the police and got a cracking $120 fine for speeding. The annoying thing was neither of us had even realised we were going too fast as we were only going 70kph but the speed limit was 50kph we just hadn't seen a sign for it. Such a nightmare! We tried to forget about it and enjoy our day so we went for a walk through some Goblin Forests and over a river and did a small bit of rock climbing! Haha it was ace fun. There was snow on the ground and we were just behind a group of boy scouts so very nearly got hit by a couple of snowballs. There was also a group of young guys who looked like Maoris running up the path barefooted and with no tshirts. Nutters! The view of Taranaki was amazing!
We then went on our way to Tongariro National Park. The cool thing about this was we got to drive along the Worlds Forgotten Highway to get there. It was a really windy road about 190km long. We drove through beautiful valleys, passing lots of sheep and stopping off at some beautiful look outs.The scenery is amazing here you can really see why they picked New Zealand to film Lord of the Rings and apparently this is nothing compared to the South Island!
worlds forgotten highway
We arrived in Tongariro just as the rain was starting but decided to go for a quick walk anyway. Tongariro is where they filmed Mordor and Mount Doom from LOTR so we had to catch a glimpse of them! We spent another night in the car and had another early morning to give the Tongariro Alpine Crossing ago. It's meant to be New Zealands best one day trek that's 19.4km long. We hadn't realised that we had to book a shuttle from one end to get back to our car amd didn't fancy getting to the otherside and have to walk all the way back so we walked half way and then turned back. Mt Ngauruhoe is what was used as Mount Doom and the crossing goes right by there. It's an active volcano and a couple of times we saw some flying rocks so we thought it might be about to arupt and got a bit scared! Haha! We nearly got to the highest peak of the walk but the clouds started rolling in and it was soo windy and cold that we thought it would be best if we turned around. Such a lovely walk though. Definitley seemed like the sort of place Gollum would hang about at!
nearly at the top!
With aching legs we got back in our car and drove on to Taupo. The first site we got was of the beautiful Lake Taupo with the stunning Tongariro mountains in the distance. We walked around the small town and watched a couple of people go bungy jumping. Still haven't plucked up the courage to do it ourselves.. yet. It was yet another night in the car in a campervan park right next to a river. Day 4 we were off to another bad start as I realised I'd misplaced my brand new $190 Oakley sunglasses that I bought last week. We retraced all our steps from the day before but no luck. Devastated! I've moved on now though and am trying to forget about it. Basically eveyone in Taupo now has my email address though and said they will email me if they turn up.
So after having not a great day we decided to move on to Rotorua and treat ourselves to a hostel. It was the best decision we ever made! The owners were amazing and made everyone homemade bread and soup for dinner for free. What a treat! I can tell you that never ever happens! As it was such a noce place we decided to have another night in that hostel and just chill out for a bit watching the hobbit as it was raining all day. It was nice not being in the car and we ended up going white water rafting! So much fun but pretty scary! We went down a 7m waterfall and managed not to capsize somehow but we got soaking anyway. Brilliant fun though and it took our minds off the lost Oakleys and speeding ticket!
We decided to visit Matamata as it is pretty close to Rotorua and where they filmed Hobbiton and The Shire. It was bloody expensive to get in but soo cool! All the hobbit holes are still in place and they have The Green Dragon pub where we got an ale or cider that's straight from the movie and sold nowhereelse! Pretty cool. Once again the scenery was stunning and we found out a couple tricks that they use in the LOTR films. Will and i are going to have to watch them again!
loving the shire
We weren't sure where we were going to head after Matamata but in the end decided to go to Tauranga. We got very lost and were both in very foul moods. Finally though we arrived and couldn't face sleeping in the car so booked another hostel and went straight to bed! We woke up in better moods and found out the hostel had a table tennis table! The first we have come across since South America. Brilliant! We played a couple of games and then realised it was time to head back to Auckland only to find a nice big parking ticket on our windscreen for parking facing the wrong direction. The most ridiculous thing we've ever heard of but apparently you can get tickets for that here. So it really is true bad things happen in threes. We had a cracking week though and couldn't let any of that ruin it. It just turned out to be quite expensive...