Rotorua - North Isle

Trip Start Jun 24, 2008
Trip End Oct 17, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, August 6, 2009

Having dropped our hitchhiking couple off just south of the cape we drove back towards Auckland.
We stopped to admire the views along 90 mile beach on the west coast before camping up on a disused car park at Oponomi along the shores of Hokianga Harbour.

Next morning we stopped again to admire the vast stretch of water that is the harbour from the rocky inlet where we found a cliff-top vantage point.
Onwards from here via the Waipoua Forest to look at the giant Kauri tree there called 'Tane Mahuta' (Lord of the Forest). This rare example is the biggest in NZ at 18M's high and 14M's in girth. Thought to be between 1250-2500 years old, it was an impressive sight.

Later that day we parked off-road south of Auckland city and early on the 5th we continued south for Waitomo Caves and our first adventure activity.

Waitomo is an area of limestone hiding a labrinth of caves and tunnels formed below the surface from rain eroding the soft rock within.
Gail chose to view the 'glow-worm' caves because she's a big girls blouse.
I chose to descend a 150ft chasm by abseiling down a rope like a fearless samurai. A task that I performed with a natural skill reserved for those of the highest nobility and for which I should certainly be awarded a knighthood in due course.
Unfortuneately my gallantry cannot be shown as Gail took the camera to an activity you are not (as she found out) allowed to photograph.

Later that day we drove on to the centre point of our tour in the North Isle, Rotorua.

The 1st thing you notice about Rotorua is the pungent smell of sulphur as you descend the hilly terrain from the north west. The odour increases towards sun down which was the time we entered the town. By then steam can be seen rising from the sulphur pools dotted across the open country around the main through highway. We headed for a campsite that boasted hot open air bathing.
The pool closes at 10pm so we got straight into a hot tub big enough for 30 people at a temperature of 38 degrees.
We stayed for 3 nights and went around visiting various attractions like 'Hells Gate' sulphur pools and the Gondola ride to one of the hills surrounding the town then several goes on the 'luge' carts to come down again.
All in all Rotorua was great fun and we had an unexpectedly lovely time there with a fair share of suprises.
From here we set off for Wellington and the close of our north island adventure.
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