New Zealand

Hello from a rainy day in Rotorua, NZ, the geothermal capital of the North Island. We arrived on Wednesday morning after leaving Monday night from DC (we didn’t have a Tuesday). After popping a few Tylenol PM purchased from an obscenely overpriced airport vendor, the trip was over in a blink. We collected our campervan (suh-weet) and hit the road out of Auckland.

The Coromandel Peninsula was our first stop on the road trip. We found driving on the left not as bad as driving along the cliffs on State Highway 25 along the west coast of the peninsula…a bit of white-knuckle driving, though, did not keep us from enjoying the spectacular views! We stopped in Coromandel town for a light lunch of smoked mussels that were each as big as our heads.

Pressing on, we enjoyed scenic vistas in the unspoilt mountains and forests of the Peninsula. It truly is a different scene: mountainsides dotted with sheep and cattle, coastal towns next to streams with views to outlying rocky islands, with giant Phoenix palms dotting the landscape.

After a night in sleepy Whitianga – it’s much busier in the summertime – we trekked through the coastal forests to Cathedral Cove, a truly magnificent cove with crystal clear water, crisp waterfalls (great for a little shower), and a spectacular natural arch.

For today, we aren’t going to let the rainy day get in the way. We’re headed to the Rotorua Museum and then braving the elements to visit the Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park, followed by a traditional hangi meal (cooked in hot thermal spring) at a Maori village. More later….

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