So reluctant were we to leave The Coromandel, we only made it as far as Tauranga the next day.
The campsite was overlooking a beautiful beach, which we were not allowed on due to the Rena oil spill.
Already the landscape was changing. Cooks Beach and Hotwater beach had been wide and calm, here the coast seemed more rugged.
We got ourselves a take out meal.
And watched the sun go down.
This campsite had some interesting vans on it.
One had been converted from a bus and it looked as if the family lived in it permanently. We were seeing more campervans now we we heading south. I got a bit obsessed with them, comparing them to ours, which was pretty basic, although I wasn’t hating it yet.
And road signs are different in New Zealand. Some more can be found here.
We were leaving the coast behind to explore the hot springs inland. This area is much more of the backpacker route, indeed Rotorua seems more geared up for the younger traveller, a lot of hostels and pubs.
Although the architecture was interesting and there was a good library.
Obviously there is an upmarket side to tourism here, with seaplane and helicopter trips on offer (out of our budget) yet Rotorua didn’t do it for me. A quick walk around the town, lunch and a look at the lake and I was ready to leave.
On the way to Taupo we stopped by at some hot springs.
And visited the disappointing Volcano Activity Centre.
Cheap and tacky.
I much preferred Taupo to Rotorua. The campsite was very good and it was bliss to sink into the thermally heated pool, while waiting for our washing. The Top 10 group of campsites were the ones we used the most in New Zealand. We bought a loyalty card and got a discount on the fees. As well as pitches for tents and campervans, most sites also offered other accommodation from basic chalets to motel like facilities. Communal areas were clean and kitchens well equipped.
Unfortunately we couldn’t linger here as we had to be in Wellington in three days time to get our ferry across to the South Island. We were realising that what we thought was and what started as a leisurely driving holiday in New Zealand was becoming a whistle stop tour.
As it was for most of the campervan tourists. When I revisit New Zealand I would probably hire a car and stay in motels and campsites in chalets. Many of the roads are challenging drives and the non campervan drivers hate the campervans. When we stopped in a town after a particularly long and winding drive, a coach driver approached us and verbally attacked us for holding him up. My response? The speed limit isn’t a target number. He didn’t like that much.