We got back from our week long camping trip to Rotorua and the Coromandel on Saturday. It was awesome. Long hot days doing not much, in a part of the country I hadn't been to yet at an age I could remember it. Having knocked the Coromandel off means there are only two bits of the country left I haven't been to at some point (they would be Nelson / Abel Tasman and Stewart Island).
Packing the wagon for three adults and a toddler plus camping gear was a bit tetris like:
But was managed in the end, even if the car was filled to the gunwales. I know cars don't have gunwales, not being ships, but if they did have gunwales they would be somewhere near the roof line.
Leaving before dawn meant we could stop somewhere pretty way up the road and feed Charlotte her breakfast. Rest stop on the Desert Road looking toard Ruapehu, around 8:00am 9th Jan 2010.
I like seeing the mountains in summer. They feel a bit more inviting when not covered in snow (to see what they look like in winter, look here) .
Mt Doom / Ngaruahoe.
Our first destination was a campground on the shore of Lake Tikitapu (linky), a collapsed volcanic caldera near Rotorua. I liked the idea that where I was swimming was once inside a mountain.
Nearby is Lake Tarawera, the site of much more recent fireworks. The valley floor in the foreground was lake until Mt Tarawera (background) filled it up with ejecta in 1886.
The hulking brooding sleeping creature that is Mount Tarawera. The 1886 eruption (linky here and here) devastated the surrounding area, and remains NZ's deadliest known eruption. A distant relative of mine was in the first rescue party to go in to the area afterwards, my one claim to historical fame.
A much closer relative on the other hand proved quite adept at escaping from the tent...
And going wandering and exploring as far as her wobbly little legs could take her. She has only been walking since September, the novelty probably hasn't worn off yet.
Part of the reason for the gunwaling was that essential supplies could be brought along:
We hit out for the Coromandel on Monday, and a much-longer-than-we-thought-it-would-take drive later (east Coromandel roads are windy and wiggly as) we arrived at Hot Water beach. There are hot springs under the sand, and at low tide you can wield a shovel and dig your own hot pool. In theory anyway. The crowds of other people with the same idea and the odd rogue wave make this trickier than it sounds.
While there we visited nearby Cathedral Cove (linky) as seen in Prince Caspian. Sadly no Narnian talking animals were apparent, nor ruined palaces on the cliff top.
On the way back home we decided to forgo the windy roads on the east of the peninsula, and cross over to the nicer road on the western side. Ironically this involved a twisty turny dusty 30 kilometres of gravel road to cross the mountain range in the middle. This is taken from somewhere near the top of the road looking west to the sea. Not quite the middle of nowhere but in the vicinity. 15th Jan 2010: