After we had re-equipped our selves and somewhat recovered in Auckland, we went back on our big journey. Our first destination was the Coromandel Peninsula east of Auckland. There, we explored the dense rain forest, with some giant kauri trees, marveled at the amazing plants and left our souls dangling as we walk along the beautiful beaches of the area.
Actually, even a little surfing was planned, but unfortunately not a wave came in sight, and besides it was raining on the scheduled day of surfing. Also the targeted bath in some hot springs was cancelled when it turn out that there were fare too many folks in the sand holes to allow a romantic moment. And because of the cold water there was even no snorkeling for Steffen.
Next, we went on into the island’s interior, to Rotoura, one of the most active geothermal areas in New Zealand. There, we first visited a Maori village before we went to the main attraction of the area, the Pohuru Geysir. Surrounded by bubbling and belching mud pools, this water spitter is one of the largest in the world and in best weather we admired one of its massive eruptions.
Next, we went to the beautiful Lake Taupo, where we spent Christmas Eve with candlelight and champagne at an idyllic river. After we watched some Kiwis the next morning who let drift themselves in tire-tubes down the river, with beer in their hands, we jumped into the water as well before we drove on in direction of the mountains.
Our plan was to make our first alpine hike in New Zealand’s oldest National Park, the Tongariro NP. On the way to the park we drove by “Mount Doom” from Lord of the Rings, but it was unfortunately overcast with clouds. These clouds also cancelled our planned hiking trip and so we limited ourselves to a small waterfall exploration (with cache) and spent the rest of the day in a hotel lobby in the wing chairs.
On our last day on the North Island we looked into the amazing Te Papa museum in Wellington for a few hours and admired there giant squid, whale skeletons, dinosaurs, Maori culture, earthquake architecture, and, and, and. On the night of my birthday (Steffen) we went with our Elvis in the belly of the ferry and off we went to the South Island.