‘The world is my backyard.’
[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination. The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]
This week we went off on adventures outside Auckland, as John’s brother lent us his Ute (4-wheel drive truck.)
Our first stop was National Park and hiking Tongariro – an active volcano. It’s a 19km (11.8 miles) hike with some difficult bits, but beautiful. Well worth the effort to see. (Some extra photos of the walk are at the bottom of the blog!)
After that, we deserved sometime in the thermal pools in Tokaamu – a very nice soak in our own private pool,
then, a lovely drive through the countryside to see Huka Falls
before arriving in Rotorua
for 2 nights camping by Blue Lake. Rotorua is known for its hot sulfur baths and Maori culture evenings. The later I’d done on a previous trip and the former found us trying out the Art Deco ‘Blue Baths’, where we had the pools to ourselves.
We did some shorter hikes in this area around Blue Lake,
and, the #1 attraction there, the Redwoods. They planted this forest in the mid-1800’s as an experiment, but found the trees grow too slowly, so these are the only ones you’ll find here.
Then, our week ended, at a friend’s in Tauranga where we celebrated Julia’s 21st/30th/? Birthday and saw a stingray by the restaurant,
we swam in their beautiful pool,
loved their cats – Cocoa and Leila
and walked the Mount.
Then, it was a drive back to Auckland with a quick stop at Karangahake Gorge
and Miranda hot pools.
More photos of our Tongariro crossing hike: