February 06, 2019
Thursday 7th February
Rotorua, North Island. New Zealand
Best location to blog yet. I am sitting in the back of the motorhome in the car park of our favoured supermarket chain Countdown whilst the gals are shopping. Wahoo..!
So…the last couple of days have been basically running down the east coast of the north island. What a trip to get here. On leaving the Auckland area with our newly fitted cold fridge and new passenger Trina we headed east in roasting sunshine. 27 degrees or so. Initially the views were not spectacular or exciting until all of a sudden at some random village we entered a huge flat prairie type landscape with miles of open land, blue skies and mountains in the distance. Hard to say why but this was strangely dramatic. We then started to appreciate that we would then enter these mountains which were long, wide and …well..high. !
The roads through were great fun. Well maintained but windy(as in lots of bends not, as in breezy!). There were lots of passing places for the relief of cars rolling behind Maureen the Maui Mercedes Motorhome that we are learning to love. There was an overwhelming sound of cicadas (cricket things) singing all along the route. Once over the mountains we came to rest in Whangamata (Wagamama I called it!) for a short break before parking up a little south at a freedom parking place within 50 metres of the Pacific Ocean. Now this freedom parking is a bit of a game. The Maui Motorhome people had their own app which was useful. There are many places to be found worth a go. Well we found one of many along this but if coast but mainly full. It’s all a bit fiddly really as they tend to allocate parking spots (outlined in yellow) where you can stop overnight for free. Trouble is you are then parked close together and believe me these Kiwis will squeeze into any space. (I am sure it is possible to step out of your door in the morning and find yourself in someone else’s lounge!). Anyway there were no clear marking and no signs in this one place so we parked in the far corner..away from everyone else. As it got dark more campers crammed into that one area making us feel a little concerned as we were now isolated. As true Brits we ignored it and slept, pretty well.
Next morning there is a notice on the window..oh bugga..$200 fine?
Nope. Just this nice letter Uh Oh. (See below)
Could you imagine that kind of generous approach in the UK. ? We were grateful and added to the Kiwi status in our minds.
After breakie of fruit, waffles and stuff I wandered into the South Pacific to take in the gigantic breakers for a swim. Colder than Fiji but ‘its ok once you are in!’
So..jump back aboard Maureen the Maui Mercedes Motorhome and head further south. Roads again were easy but interesting. We found a great site at Papamoa beach for $60 (£30) for the night. We needed good showers and facilities and I needed to change my pants so paid extra. For this massive $60 we were on the top of the dunes overlooking the sea and the Pacific Ocean (with electric hookup!)
What an amazing place to camp. Superb. Sit and watch the beach fill up and action across the miles and miles and miles and ….
We eventually appreciated that this was a public holiday (Waitangi) day so everywhere was packed. Except of course the great looking bar and restaurant on site…which was closed..! Doh.
Anyway it wasn’t long before we were in the sea, on the beach, sitting outside our camper ……and repeat..The sea is certainly surfer territory and impossible to swim in but very entertaining as you are bounced up and down.
Supper was not too exciting as we had to grab some snapper and chips from a nearby takeaway but was washed down with a small tipple. Trina has managed to contribute a ‘Eyewitnesses Travel’ book about NZ which helps our planning.
So today we are headed to the hot springs and geysers somewhere near here. Update to follow.
Did you know.. the town with the longest place name in the world is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu in Hawkes Bay New Zealand. Beat that LlanfairPG..!