Heading South

Trip Start Jan 19, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Mercury Bay Holiday Park

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, February 19, 2011

So we're heading south.  We took a late hike in Russell out to a whaling station and a nice beach then decided to just get in the car and start driving east.  It was about 9pm when we started driving and we just figured we'd get a cheap hotel or campsite once we got tired.  This isn't America where there are Motel 6's every 15 miles... we literally couldn't find a place to stay and finally slept in our car in a Wearhouse parking lot (the NZ wallmart) at about 3am.  It was kindof shitty, but we managed to get some sleep and then got a hotel room the next day and read and napped.  We learned our lesson to call ahead and do a little more planning... it was an experience. 

We got up the next day and went to the Kauri Forest and the Kauri Museum.  Spectacular trees... second largest in girth in the world. (second to the Sequoias in California)  It's so nice doing so much hiking.  We're definitely feeling a little whipped, but it's a good feeling

That night, we drove all the way down to Auckland, stopping at a kick ass artistic coffe shop, and then slept at the City Garden Lodge where we had stayed earlier.  This time, the tent we had stayed in was taken, so we crashed in their caravan, which was very nice.  Cozy and private.... perfect.  We stopped in Auckland because Colin really wanted to go to the Kelly Tarleton Antartic Museum.  It ended up being really amazing.  I think we stayed there for close to 4 or 5 hours.  We're pretty nerdy like that though,... we like museums. :)

Now we are back on the east coast exploring the Coromandel Peninsula.  This area is really beautiful... more mountainous, with rocky rivers running through it.  It feels a lot like The Rockies in Colorado. The tramping has been even harder than before.  We camped last night next to the river, made a great meal and sat by the fire until late.  This was the first campground that let us make a fire and we took advantage.  It was a beautiful night sitting under the full moon hanging out by the fire and laughing. Unfortunately, it rained last night and we had a rainfly malfunction and woke up wet.  That was lame.  I won't name any names... but it wasn't MY fault. :)  We woke up and went for a 3 hour hike that was straight up.  It ended at a patch of large Kauri trees, but it wasn't my favorite hike.  It was so steep that they had built steps the whole way.  Damn... literally 2 hours of going up steps.  We started out so ambitious...running up the first 4 or 5 long stretches of steps and ended red faces and drenched. Yikes!  My ass better look good after that. :)  Our bed will feel good tonight. :)  And I'm looking forward to Hot Water Beach tomorrow, where you can dig your own hot thermal pool on the beach.  That's what I'm talking about!

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