3 Week road trip Auckland to Christchurch. Part 1

Jan 9th, 2019, 12:42 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 43
3 Week road trip Auckland to Christchurch. Part 1

My husband and I, ages 63 and 59 respectively, arrived in Auckland at 6 am after a 14 hour flight from Vancouver, Canada
Upon landing and passing quickly through customs we were directed to an inspection line to inspect our hiking boots and poles. They checked the soles of our boots but not our other footwear?
We picked up our rental car from Apex rentals. They allow the one way rental and include the interisland ferry reservation.
Day 1: After a 2.5 hour drive we reache Waitomo Glowworm caves. We hadnít booked ahead because we were not sure of our timing. Luckily they had 2 tickets left for the 9:45 tour. It was January 1, so it was very busy with the holiday crowd. We have been to many caves around the world but never to one with Glowworms. We found it very interesting and worth the time.
We then drove 2 hours to Rotorua where we stopped to have lunch at The Fat Dog cafe. Huge portions and food very good. Then we carried on to check into our B and B for the next 2 nights, Doolans Country retreat. I canít say enough about Doolans. Louise and Mark the hosts were very helpful with helping us plan our next day around Rotorua. They were able to answer our questions about all the road kill we had seen on the way there. From Auckland to Waitomo we saw many hedgehogs dead on the road and several possums.
Doolans is located on a hill overlooking Rotorua. The view and serenity of the property was incredible, as was the rooms, breakfast and company.
Louise called to make reservations for our dinner that night at the Terrace Kitchen. The food was very good. My husband had the lamb while I had an amazing salad.
Day 2: We started the day with a walk through a Redwood Forrest to some natural springs. It was a short walk. 20 minutes to the springs and 20 minutes back to car. Then we continued around Lake Rotorua to Okere falls. We hiked up about 15-20 minutes to a lookout over the river where we watched the river rafters come over a waterfall. 2 out of 5 rafts flipped going over the falls but everyone appeared OK. It looked like a blast. If we were staying one more night I would have definitely tried this.
we continued on our way to the Redwood tree walk near Whakarewarewa. It was interesting but I think I would come back after dark to see it lit up by the lanterns at night. Wouldnít need to do the tree walk as you can walk underneath for the same affect.
We then visited Te Puia, a Maori village and geothermal ares. We bought tickets for the 3:15 Cultural show. The show was great. It was informative and interesting to see the similarities to Hawaii, French Polynesia, Palau and the Maori. It also gave as a reprieve from the sun as it was 31 degrees this afternoon. After the cultural show we walked around Te Puia to see the geysers, mud pools and geothermal cooking areas.
After Te Puia we decided to head back to Doolans to enjoy a cold drink on the patio in the shade. Went to Atticus Finch restaurant in Rotorua that night. Great food. We ordered 3 small plates and 1 large but would have been better with 4 small. I would definitely recommend it.
Day 3. Off to Tongariro today with stops Waimangu and Waiotapu geothermal areas. We started at Waiotapu because the Lady Knox geyser erupts at 10:15 daily and they recommended getting there before 9:30 to get tickets. It was crazy busy and they were obviously not prepared for large crowds. We got to see the geyser erupt. They seed it to make it go off. It was a bit anticlimactic after seeing Old faithful in Yellowstone and the geysers in Iceland. We walked around the 3 loops of the park. It says it will take you 90 minutes but it only took us 40 minutes to do all 3 loops. We then drove back to Waimangu 10 minutes up the road. At Waimangu we walked for 1 hour through a forrest past hot springs of varying colour. Then took the bus back to the parking lot. You can also do a boat tour on the lake but we opted not to. I preferred Waimangu because it was less crowded and the lake colours were prettier IMO.
Drove to Tongariro N.P. And checked into the Chatteau Tongariro. The weather forecast looked pretty good for the next day so we decided to hike the Tongariro Alpine crossing. We booked a 7 am shuttle to the trailhead at the reception desk and ordered some packed lunches.
Day 4: The Crossing.. We arrived at the trailhead at 7:35. The trail was 19.6 km long. We hiked 4000 feet up to the Red Crater and then descended 5000 ft to the parking lot bus pick up point.
on the hike up we passed by Mt Doom from the lord of the rings then passed by the emerald lakes only to climb again to the green crater and up again to the red crater. At the top the wind was fierce but we were blessed with pure blue skies so the views were incredible. My husband has bad knee and I tore the meniscus in my right knee 6 weeks ago so we were concerned about being able to do the hike. We finished in 7.5 hours but we went very slow coming down. We had some Voltaren cream for our knees which helped a lot. We have hiked Machu Pichu and the W trail in Patagonia but those were 10 years ago when we were in better shape. That being said the hike was hard but worth doing. Next time I would train a bit but with the torn meniscus I thought it better to let it heal.
Day5: Drive to Wellington. Stayed at the U hotel, formerly at home Wellington. Fantastic location across the street from the Te Papa museum. Walking distance to shopping and restaurants. We took the cable car up to the top from cable car lane off Lambdon Quay street. Nice views of the harbour. Then went to the Te Papa museum and walked along harbour. It was a beautiful sunny day but really windy. Went to dinner at Ortegaís fish shack. The fish was excellent, service great and best of all a ten minute walk from our hotel.
day 6: Up early to catch the 8:30 InterIsland ferry to Picton
to be continued
barbloves2travel is offline  
Jan 9th, 2019, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,392
They checked the soles of our boots but not our other footwear?

I think the key here is that hiking boots and equipment are frequently used outside of urban areas. The issue is transfer of soil and plant material from other countries, which can be left in treads. Once, a NZ bio security officer removed a rock from the tread of the hiking boots I wore on the plane.

Enjoying your report barb, but might I suggest you insert paragraph breaks to make it easier to read?
Melnq8 is online now  
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