After two and a half hours, we arrived in Auckland on the north island, where we picked up the campervan which was to be our home for the next ten days. Didn’t take us too long to get caught in a load of traffic around Auckland but once we were through this we made our way down through the rolling green hills arriving in Rotorua in the evening.
Rotorua is a geothermal site and has a number of geysers, hot springs and an active volcano in the area, you can tell as soon as you get close because of the smell of sulphur is overpowering. In Rotorua we went to the ‘Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland’ where we saw the daily eruption of the geyser, the underground thermal pools, hot springs and mud pools, we also bathed in a site for thermal pools, the hottest being 40 degrees. One day was spent doing a few of the more energetic activities including a cable car up to the top of the mountain, a sky swing, which was a capsule hauled up 40m then basically let go to fall over the side of the hill, once we got to the top, followed by the luge which is basically a go-kart back down the hill. In the afternoon of this day we did white-water rafting, freezing cold but bloody good. It has the biggest commercially rafted waterfall which stood at about 8 meters.
We passed through Taupo then onto Wellington soon after as the weather, since leaving Auckland had been raining constantly and freezing cold which kind of limited us with things to do, all we could do was sit in the back of the van and have a drink which is what we did the majority of our trip. We took the ferry the following day and the weather was as it has been but much windier, perfect weather for getting the ferry. People were throwing up left, right and centre, I don’t know how we managed to keep it down but we did and made it to Picton on the south island.
We passed through some pretty impressive scenery whilst driving with the mountains and winding rivers and all that, stopping at the ‘biggest suspension bridge in New Zealand’. The next place we stopped was the Franz Jorge and Fox Glaciers. Both small alpine style towns with towering mountains behind and the glaciers themselves are pretty striking. We were unable to do the glacier trek due to the weather so we had to console ourselves by walking to the base of both glaciers and doing a walk along Lake Matheson.
We finished our trip at Christchurch where we trawled the local bars and nightspots and spending the rest of the time in the hostel recovering.