Matakohe to Waitomo
Trip Start Jan 23, 2013
181Trip End Jul 23, 2013
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We packed up Elvis and were out of the Matakohe Holiday Park campsite by 09:30 hrs. We drove a few hundred yards down the road for breakfast at the Gumdiggers Cafe, which we had noticed when we drove in the previous day. Terry had an enormous breakfast; 2 x fried eggs on toasted bread, 2x rashers of bacon, 2 x halves of large tomatoes and 2 x hash browns which he soaked up with a large flat white coffee. I had 2 x rounds of toast and some jam with a small flat white coffee. I was going to have to start keeping an eye on the amount of food Terry was eating - he couldn't have been that hungry
One thing I forgot to mention was that our Tom Tom does not always speak English, even though English was the language set. We seemed to get snippets of another language now and again - we have no idea what a 'fardi arsh' ' is, but we heard it every time we joined the highway.
After breakfast we crossed the road to the Kauri Museum. This museum provided some insight into the Kauri theme. We were inspired and impressed by the exhibitions and information in the museum and the massive Kauri slabs and trunks provided fantastic opportunity to take photographs which would put into pictorial context the size of these magnificent trees. The museum also provided some insight into Gum digging and many pieces of solidified gum were on display, including a couple of pieces which had entrapped insects. It reminded me of Jurassic Park.
We left the museum at 12:30 hrs. As we wanted to spend a little more time on the South Island than the North, we decided to try to drive down as far as Waitomo, which was around 200 miles from Matakohe.
After driving for an hour we stopped at a Honey Centre for a look around and a stretch of legs
We stopped for some petrol just North of Aukland and also at a 'Pac and Save' Supermarket, to get a new bulb for the lamp which blew last night. Pac and Save is one of the big Supermarket chains in New Zealand, so we were told.
We drove for another hour or so before stopping at a little town called Huntley. We found a parking space at the top of the street, where Terry took a photograph, then we took a walk down the one street that constituted 'the town'. All the shops were pretty basic and extremely reminiscent of the 1960's, where one shop might sell many different products. We were really looking for a cafe to sit and have a coffee, but it was nearing 17:00 and the three that we passed were closing so we decided to give it a miss and continue our journey to Waitomo. For a small town that seemed to have little to offer in the way of tourism, Huntley seemed to be over populated with 'eateries'. Driving down the one way street to go back on to the Highway, a Subway, MacDonalds and KFC sat gleaming proudly on the corner. I couldn't see a soul in any of them.
We reached Waitomo about 18:00 and booked Elvis in to the Waitomo Holiday Park for the night. The receptionist at the campsite was extremely helpful and explained the benefits of buying a Top 10 Holiday Park card, which would save us 10 percent off of future campsites, activities throughout NZ and off our Ferry crossing to the South Island. We worked out that this would be cost effective so bought one and got a reduction in the cost of the tickets for the Waitomo Glowworm Caves straight away, which we will visit tomorrow morning.
We were both quite weary from travel, so walked to a nearby cafe that was serving barbecue food for our supper. We returned to Elvis around 20:00 and erected the awning. I did some laundry and had a shower then read a magazine I had picked up from the last campsite. I was surprised to learn that Coronation Street is New Zealand's favourite soap.