2 Plates 2 Glasses 2 Bowls 1 Bowl 1 Stove 1 Pan 2 Forks... finally the minimum because the kitchen space is reduced and the place to put the clothes( hot in case 🙁 ) Also! Finally everything finds its place and the experience of living on a boat learns to "eliminate" the non-indispensable. It must also be said that the layout of the van was very well 😉 😉 designed and designed!
Before leaving we download "Camper Mate" and "Rankers Camping NZ". These are the maps of the north and south island where the CAMP sites are listed ( Department of Conservation, which manages nature reserves) less than 10NZD per person and campsites with infrastructure (Kiwi Holiday Park and Top 10 35NZD per person). It's a wealth of information to visit the NZ.
08 January 2020
We are on our way ... towards the centre of the North Island. We pass Auckland after a few hours and we meet south of Cambridge at the end of the day.
It's on the shores of Lake Karapiro (Waikato River) in the Moanaroa reserve we stop for the night . Like any good camper we set up table, chairs and celebrate our first camp in the middle of
nature facing the lake!
The next day it is the birdsong that wakes us up... to say that the bed is rather comfortable. We even manage to get out of the van dressed up!
We drive to the beautiful lake of Taupo to meet our Polynesian friends Matthew and Agnes who spend a holiday there. But the place is far too touristy for us and after a night at the campsite..... we're continuing south.
In the middle of the afternoon we arrive at the Mangahui campsite which is part of Tongariro National Park. We take advantage of the few hours still warm to walk through the forest at the foot of the volcanoes.
Mt Ruapehu, whose snow-capped peak reaches 2291m, is on the horizon. Many hikes are possible from the village of Whakapapa in 6 kms from the campsite. The one 19,4 miles to Mt Tongariro is considered one of the most beautiful in the country, but we won't do it this time , it's too late and we're not really equipped!
So from the next day we opt for a 2-hour walk to Taranaki Falls. The well-maintained path is an alternation of small bridges and footbridges,
that takes us to the brink of lava flow( below the Wairere River)
where the waterfall falls. That day the light is intense , the sky is pure blue
then some photos are necessary,
and another photo taken by a tourist on the way home where we see Mt Tongariro (1967m).
We continue the winding road to the whakapapa ski resort for a quick lunch as it is not very hot at altitude.
We continue our expedition to Taumarunui and take the mythical "Forgotten World Highway". This 150km road is a succession of green hills , sheep, lush forest, Waterfalls, Rivers, century-old tunnels... No gas station until Stratford not even to the town of Whangamomona which 1989 proclaimed its independence as a republic to show the government its refusal to change the district's border. In Tangarakau township village (hundreds of workers and families with the construction of the railway )has now become a ghost village). The "Bushlands Campground" is accessible by a stony and dusty track a few kms.
The welcome of the owners is warm. The living space is comfortable, The equipped kitchen and terrace with comfortable sofas are available to guests. We sympathize with Carole and Brian of the Kiwis who invite us aboard their spacious van! They live in New Plymouth and we'll see them there soon..
Despite the drealair weather the following days we follow the river that leads us to a semi circular circus with steep walls,
where some wild horses live quietly in this remote corner.
On an upcoming trip we will return to explore the Forgotten Highway.
We go back to Paihia where other activities await us... Drying of the boat and "walking" order of the house of our friends Vaughan and Leslie!