A Three Week Roundup of our North Island Circumnavigation.
It’s already been three weeks in New Zealand and we have been driving all over the North Island.
After we grabbed Lucy from Auckland, and bought all of the camping stuff, we loaded up the car and headed to our first spot, the Coromandel Peninsula. Our first hour of driving was pretty funny as I just kept repeating “keep left” every time Tyler went to go make a turn. We stopped for groceries and some more camping stuff at Countdown and Warehouse on the way out of Auckland then started our route to our first camping spot at Wentworth Falls.
Unfortunately the surf and the weather did not cooperate the second half of our trip, cutting into a lot of surfing time and ocean activities. But we kept ourselves busy with a lot of rainy hikes.
The last three weeks have been pretty crazy, with a ton of driving, a lot of pulling over to see some pretty cool views, and a lot of unpacking the car and repacking the car. Here is my roundup of everything we did the first three weeks
Number of Towns/Cities we stayed in: 9
Average length of stay in each destination: 2 Days
Number of waterfalls we Saw: 5. This includes a amazing waterfall we saw on the side of the road while driving to Gisborne.
Number of Campfires: 0…. so we bought a bundle of kindle in Auckland super stoked to have campfires… only to find out that no where in New Zealand permits them due to fire risk. The kindle is still in the back of van just taking up space =(
Number of Cows Seen: One million +
Number of Sheep Seen: Two million +
Number of wine bottles drank: 5
Number of beers drank: Tyler declines to comment
Weirdest animal we saw: Some sort of deer, to Kiwis I am sure it’s normal but it looked pretty funny to me. We also braked to watch this funny brown animal eat something on the side of the road… I thought it was the coolest thing and started taking pictures.. a Kiwi friend we met looked at me funny when I told her.. turns out it was a possum…
Number of hikes we did: 5
Coolest hike we did: The Wentworth Falls hike was cool because we were by ourselves and the waterfall was gorgeous. Bridal Falls was also amazing.
Number of wineries we visited: 3. Same for the number of bottles I bought from said wineries.
Town that was the most surprising in a good way: Raglan. I was totally prepared for this built up surf town since Raglan is pretty famous for its wave. I was pleasantly surprised when we drove in and saw how small it still is. We surfed Manu Bay and the views and landscapes were amazing. Stoked it hasn’t lost its small town feel.
Town that was not what I expected: Gisborne. We had heard so much about surfing in Gisborn that we expected it to be a bit more travel friendly, but when we were there it had a neglected sort of feel to it? Really hoping we just caught it on a bad day or because it is still winter season. Unfortunately they just had some really bad floods as well.
Best coffee: Flight Coffee in Wellington was seriously amazing.
Number of times we woke up to a chicken pecking at our tent: 2
Best tourist thing we have done: Black Water Rafting in Waitomo.
Number of times I got us lost by being a shitty navigator: 3. I got us seriously lost in Wellington, New Plymouth, and slightly in Napier.
Number of Bags Stolen: 1 =( Unfortunately our backpack with my camera, Tyler’s speaker, and all of our paperwork went mysteriously missing in Napier. It was pouring rain when we loaded and unloaded the car to a hostel. We put all of our bags in a hallway while Tyler got the Van. In the span of me running up the stairs to check out we think it got taken. Unfortunately it was all such blur that we didn’t notice until we emptied the car later on.
Number of Kiwi pies eaten: 6 yuuuuuuum
Number of Days it Rained: At least 5 in a row. Unfortunately that was a bummer (but welcome to New Zealand) as we barely got to see Wellington because it was literally pouring the entire time we were there.
Camping at the DOC campsite Wentworth Falls
Camping at Mount Maunganui Holiday Park
Huka Falls and Huka Trail Day Trip
Rotorua Day Trip
Hanging out at BBH Juno Hall Waitomo
So there is our three week roundup of the North Island. We still have yet to visit Northland, but we are going to save that for upcoming months. We also decided mid route not to continue on to the South Island until Summer. We were talking to another couple who had just come from there and it sounds like it is still pretty damn cold. Lucy is great but I think I would like to experience the South Island from a complete camper van or RV with power. We have also grown tired of lugging all of our belongings to each destination.. especially after we got our backpack taken. It’s too overwhelming worrying about that much luggage, so we are working on finding a place to live before going down south. I want to appreciate all the south island beauty when we are recharged and ready to road trip again.