Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

After finishing up our WWOOF experience on the Martin's farm in Levin, we headed up to the volcanic region of the Central Plateau. We only had a few days before we had to be in Auckland to sell Miles and greet the Moms. 

We thought the area would be flat and a little boring with not too much to see, but we were really surprised.     Even the more unpopular places in visit in NZ are amazing.  There just isn't enough time to see it all.  This area had some of the most beautiful scenery we had come across yet.

We were heading to a small town called Turangi on the southern shore of huge Lake Taupo.  The half day drive from Levin to Turangi was very scenicly diverse - flat fertile farm land, intense hills and rivers, the loan desert in NZ (Rangipo), and finally the three massive snow capped volcanoes that line the southern shores of Lake Taupo.     Before calling it a day, we hiked along the forested cliffs of the Tongariro River and watched the sunset over Lake Taupo.  This was one of the best sunsets we've seen yet.  Hard to believe. 

Our accommodation that night was a very large room with lots of amenities.  We were given the room because the cheap small basic cabins we typically rent were being renovated at this place so they upgraded us for free.  After dinner we soon found out we were not alone in our room.  We started to see massive cockroaches behind the pictures on the walls, mirrors, and along the kitchen counter.  After complaining and switching to another room, we still had the same problem, but not as bad.  The next morning we complained again and they were nice enough to credit us the room.  They kept saying they were harmless, but there was a small nest of them behind the picture frame that hung over the bed - no thanks.  Glad we moved rooms and glad we got our money back!

Before leaving Turangi we did a few hour hike around a small volcanic lake.  We then headed up to the Wiatomo Caves region and stayed in a town called Te Kuiti.  The next day we explored some large caves, waterfalls, and a black sand beach in the area.  I took a bad fall at one of the caves so I took it easy for the rest of the day.  The black sand beach was really cool, we haven't ever seen one like it before.  It was then time to call it a day and head up to Auckland to prep Miles for his big day and get ready for the Moms. 
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