Trip Start Nov 09, 2008
66Trip End Apr 02, 2009
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Where I stayed
On the way, we went past Lake Rotorua and stopped to visit Wai O Tapu, 'Thermal Wonderland - New Zealand's most colourful volcanic area'! The previous night, we woke, not only due to cold but to the smell of rotten eggs - not uncommon you may have thought knowing all three of us, however this smell persisted longer than normal! It turned out to be the smell of the volcanic activity which is common in the area. Having suffered the smell we decided that we would look at the cause. Holding Steven very carefully, in the pushchair if possible, we embarked on the shorter walk round some of the craters and pools. It was definitely something you would not see often, with clouds of red, yellow, white and blue steam(?) coming off of pools and out of craters, depositing the minerals over the rock and hot muddy pools glooping away. It was at this point that a camera became inadequate as it couldn't record the heat or smell of the place.
We arrived at Waihi Beach and pitched camp in Steven's favourite location yet - right next to the jumping pillow and adjacent to the playground! We went down to the beach in the early evening, just a couple of hundred yards from the camp site, and loved the beach. It was a huge flat beach, the tide was out, not too many big waves and sea 'gals' were wandering around. The blue sky, with a few little white clouds, was reflected in the large area that had a skim of water on it - and dammit - Yvonne didn't have the camera on her! It was quite idyllic.
The next day we decided that we would see out our remaining tenting days at this site - so much for Steven to do - and booked five nights in all, before we head up to motel-land in Auckland, ready for the flight to LA next Monday. At this point, Yvonne has started to become sentimental about the tent which she knew was going to have to go at the end, but can't avoid thinking of it as a faithful friend!
We visited the town of Waihi and took a leisurely trip on an old gold mining train - sadly it was a diesel rather than a steam train, but they did a fine corn fritter at the cafe at the other end of the line!
The next day we heard there was some fine fishing a couple of hours up the coast (friendly campsite cleaner's info!), so we headed out on the main road, only to be thwarted by an accident that was blocking the road through a local gorge. We turned back and reappraised - the alternative route was on a very bendy road - welcome to Sicksville, Arizona! - so we decided to stop at Whangamata where Steven played with a stick on the beach and D attempted some fishing. From the moment we arrived we saw heavy clouds coming over and the still bay became quite rough, not conducive to fishing, although the rain promised never arrived.
The next day, we decided to cool off (it is hot and sunny, interspersed with cloudy weather) by going in the pool. The pool is excellent and includes a hot spa pool and a slide - which Steven is keen to go on but is really not a proficient enough swimmer yet! The other joy on the campsite is an under fives' room which has a television and DVD player and a good variety of indoor play equipment. Steven loves the kitchen and the dolls' house! There is also a Steven size bath in a special family bathroom so he can have a good soaking too - which he has needed!
At this point we have another day to enjoy here and then goodbye to the tent and on to Auckland!