Across the North Island

Back to North Island and have two weeks to see the rest of it – looks like not too much of time.

We got up a bit late, which isn’t surprise as we went to bed around 3am, when we found place near some nice beach (as we found in the morning). The Sun was shining and it was the perfect opportunity to dry all our wet stuff and also perfect welcome back to this part of New Zealand. After breakfast was time to move – Egmond National ParkUkaž na mapě as our next destination.

During the trip there we also cared about our belly – kebab for a lunch and chocolate cake with coffee as a snack. Just perfect day, when you have your stomach full.

Egmond NP should be the most accessible national park in New Zealand (as I read somewhere), but it looked a bit the other way. When we arrived there it was really cold, strong wind and rain. Met some walkers there and asked them about their experience – the track is really hard, full of mud and the weather just awful – what should take about 2 hours took them 5 or more. From the south side is the track, we chose, harder and longer and the visitor centre will be closed tomorrow, so we wouldn’t get any updated informations about weather or conditions on track.

Leaving Egmond NP

Quickly decided to move to the north side, where is another visitor centre and the track is shorter and easier as well.. Weather here is about the same, pretty strong wind and really cold – didn’t expect it. The visitor centre here looks really big, but the car park is demolished and they just repair it at the moment. Never mind, we can sleep there, hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow.

But it isn’t the case in the morning. During the night we also put our Spaceship in extensive test as we left the back door opened, just covered with tilt. To our surprise it survived the night, despite we felt like the car would fly any time. The weather is still pretty bad, really cold and windy and every 5 minutes heavy rain. At least the visitor centre is opened and we can check the last weather forecast. And it should be a bit better in the afternoon, but not much. Anyway, the conditions on top should be the same like in Antarctica.

It took some time persuade Tomas not to go there, as we didn’t want to be wet during first 5 minutes. But finally we succeeded, jumped into the car and moved ahead – heading to Tongariro National Park with some stops on the way.

The first stop is at The Three Sisters, which are shown on some maps like really nice place with cave, where you can see footprint with 6 fingers. But we aren’t lucky again – they are accessible just in low tide.

Another stop is Mt Damper Fall, which is 74m high waterfall formed from small creek. The road there is gravel and we didn’t meet any other car – till the moment we came to really steep ascent with narrow road, and at this moment we met another 10 or so cars. From the „car park“ it was just short walk there and it is really nice, was worth the energy to get there 🙂

Mt Damper Fall

Also the Forgotten World Highway, which goes around all these attractions is really nice. A lot of nice empty land around at absolute piece all around you – this is one of the places I would go on bike.

At Taumurunui we asked for the weather forecast at Tongariro NP – should be bad another few days, first sunny day should be Saturday. OK, we have to change our plan a bit and return to this place later on – let’s go to White Island first.

Up to Taupo and there is Huka FallsUkaž na mapě, another fall Tomas and Vlada want to jump. It looks more like huge pipe splashing water ahead. It should be fine when there is up to 100cubics, at the moment there is about 160cubics. No way to do it – it is really strong (and beautiful at the same time). Just imagine river 100m wide and 6m deep which needs to fit into gap just 15m wide.

Huka Falls

Aratiatia rapidsUkaž na mapě is our next stop – narrow gorge where they release the water just 4 times a day for half an hour. It isn’t surprise that we aren’t there at the correct time, but it looks nice without water as well.

Aratiatia rapids - without water

Having dinner and sleep near the Huka Falls and looking forward to tomorrow. Because the weather is pretty bad (again) we sleep in car – all three of us. It is just second time we do it and Tomas sleep on front seats this time – said it was comfortable enough. After breakfast it is time to see Aratiatia rapids again, this time with water.

And it is really nice, strange how long does it take for the water to fill up the whole gorge and spooky to see the strength of water. When you see it from lookout it looks pretty easy and you almost want to jump into it. And it looks even easier at the end, when they close the floodgate and the water just slowly disappear.

Aratiatia rapids - this time full of water

Just short drive is Rapids Jet, which isn’t just another jet boat, but probably the only jet boat in New Zealand which doesn’t run on flat water but in rapids. It is incredible to see how they jump on waves or surfing in them. And it is completely different to all the others we have been to so far.

Rapids Jet

And it is time to move – Rotorua, where we did a small shopping and wanted to see some Maories culture performance, unfortunately they are full. At least we order tour to White Island and moving quickly to WhakataneUkaž na mapě, where we slept on our favorite beach, having a beer with Pete who came to chat with us and wanted to sell us some special cigars 🙂

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