We came to Auckland in the afternoon. Our room at the central YHA left a lot to our imagination. It even had cameras over our bed! We went out to get something to eat and ended up at Burger King that was our closest choice. Johan was so tired that he forgot this ray-bans on the table there. The city felt very small despite 1.5 million inhabitants.
It was St Patrick’s day and you could really tell on the streets. We were not really in a party-mood after our long flight so we went to bed early.
The day after we adjusted to the time difference, so we had a pretty relaxed day. We went to the Sky Tower. It looked pretty cool when people made there 192 meters base-jump. Jenny was actually keen on it, until she realized that they let people hang a few seconds in the air before they let them fall into the ground. It’s really windy up there and the jumpers are tossed around like puppets. We took a coffee and went to the cinema instead.
Cookie picked us up in the early morning. Our first destination was Mt Eden to enjoy the view over Auckland. They had a lot of cows there to eat the grass. Johan tried to pet them like everybody else did, but they just ran away when he came. They obviously didn’t like him. 🙂
After having a second breakfast we went to the Waitomo Caves to see the glowworms. They were really cool. We went by boat and it felt like having a starry sky over your head.
When we got to Rotorua we just checked in and then went to a Maori-night where we got to see Maori-people perform, learn about their culture and having a proper hangi. We came back by midnight and went to bed.
Before leaving Rotorua we made a city-tour. Rotorua is an old health resort and had a lot of baths. It is a very beautiful town situated by a lake.
After that we went to Wai-O-Tapu thermal reserve. It’s famous for all it’s geysers, vivid hot pools and boiling mud. We went by a stunning track for a couple of hours. You could live without the smell of rotten eggs, but it was so beautiful it was worth it.
We stopped by Huka Falls along the way. It was a waterfall, but not very fascinating since we are used to our large waterfalls back home in Trollhättan.
We came to Taupo in the afternoon. We booked Tongariro Crossing, bought some hats and took a walk by the beautiful lake.
Taupo is a party town, and we can confirm that. We had to get out of bed at 5 in the morning to do the crossing. Our neighbors had a party until 3 in the morning, and then we couldn’t sleep anyway. So we didn’t sleep five minutes that night, and we could definitely have needed it.
We started of with a pretty easy walk from Mangatepopo to Soda Springs. It was still cold outside and we were really tired so it was nice to take it easy in the morning. After that we had to climb the Devils Staircase that was much worse. The view was stunning and the climb was really worth it. When we got up it was much easier and we stood by the foot of “Mt Doom” from the LOTR. A lot of Mordor is filmed in Tongariro National Park, so you felt like Frodo when you were walking along the track.
We got to a new climb before we reached the Red Crater. The nature is even more beautiful around the Red Crater. The main track continues around the Red Crater, where we had spectacular views over the Oturere Valley, Rangipo Desert, Kaimanawa Ranges and down to the Emerald Lakes. We had some lunch before we continued down the steep track to the Blue Lake. On the right we had the Emerald Lakes. The colour is caused by minerals leached from the surrounding rock and it´s really special.
The rest was pure joy and really easy. They say that Tongariro Crossing is the best one day track in NZ and we can’t say no to that. We were lucky to have really good weather and it was one of the best things we’ve ever done.
We left Taupo in the morning. We stayed in a small town and bought the best ice-cream we’ve ever had. When we came to Wellington we went to the Te Papa museum.
LOTR-day! We took a massive LOTR-tour that really payed of. Our guide was actually playing an elf in the movie, so he had a lot of funny stories to tell. We went to a lot of different places where they had filmed. For instance outskirts of the shire, Dunharrow, Rivendell, fords of Isen, gardens of Isengard, river Anduin and Helms Deep. We also went to a little piece of heaven called the Chocolate Fish Cafe. It was a cafe close to Peter Jackson’s house that was really charming. They even had their own beach. We had a beautiful weather so we stayed there for a while just enjoying the day.
As everybody knows Peter Jackson took his films very seriously. He even took it so serious that he didn’t want anyone to drink water when making bar scenes. But the actors couldn’t drink beer either since they would get very drunk. So he contacted a local brewery that made a special beer for the set with just 1% alcohol. The beer is called Sober Ring and we bought a bottle on our tour.
When we got back in the evening we packed our things and prepared ourselves for leaving the north island.
Photos from North Island