Thursday 26th September

A sad day. We have to hand Lucy back. We have loved camper van life and touring New Zealand. It’s a truly beautiful magical place. It’s landscape and coast has something for everyone. So many trees I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many trees. And living in a camper for the last month has inspired us for future road trips.

Bye bye juicy Lucy going to miss you. We have tomorrow off to get ourselves sorted and will be flying to Sydney early Saturday morning. Time to get back on the bikes and continue our cycle tour. A new chapter bring it on.

Wednesday 25th September

The wind and rain finally stopped, so armed with our shovel of we walk to the beach.

We dug around until we found a hot spring, and boy it’s hot it must come out of the ground at about 70-75c enough to scold you! Anyway spring located mike dug away. And dug and dug, sand flying everywhere.

When the hole was big enough for us both to lay in we then spent a while relaxing in it. Well I did mike was like a child digging in the sand. He kept digging and digging every so often stating that he was going to dig his way to England, bless his having fun.

Trying not to get my ass scolded on hot water and with sand going in places that I can’t mention I decided that I’ve had my fun for the day I needed a shower and breakfast.

After breakfast it’s time to hit the road. We are following the coastal highway around the coromandel. We stop to look around Thames a former gold mining town. It’s now a arty,crafty place

And home to three old post boxes

I don’t know why but I love old post boxes and have taken photos of many!

This one is a rare cast pillar box circa 1870. The origins are obscure but are similar to an 1866 British design.its believed to be modelled on a earlier French design that has three apertures placed at a height to enable a person on horseback to post a letter with out dismounting. The three may have been made in this town as there’s nothing like it else where. the night was spent at a campsite in orere point next to a beach.

Tuesday 24th September

Alarm set for 5am,spade hired for a mere $5 just under £2.50, weather forecast and sunrise checked. We asked the receptionist whether the sand fly was a problem in the area she assured us that they weren’t so no repellent needed we settled down for the night.

We got rudely awakened at 4:30 am by heavy rainfall. We lay there listening to the sound of rain on our metal roof. The wind joined in for good measure making poor Lucy rock. The alarm goes off. We both looked at each other and say no chance! I don’t think it’s going to get light let alone have that wonderful sunrise I was dreaming of,darn. I pulled the cover up and around me and went back to sleep.

What to do on a wet windy day on the coast. We were both disappointed as you can’t come to hot water beach and not dig yourself a hot pool.

We went to reception and checked the tide times. So tonight at 8:30 is low tide it gets dark at 6pm a moon light hot pool star spotting sounds good. Or in the morning at 7:30am. We decided to stay another day.

So rain coats on we set off for a walk.A one hour walk to Cathedral cove.

Named for its majestic arched cavern that passes through a white rock headland to join two secluded coves. The sandy beach is lined with pohutukawa tree otherwise known as New Zealand Christmas tree. Photo taking from instagram as weather so bad to get a good one!

On the walk down we passed some grazing goats.

A little way of the shore is a large pumice rock known as Te Ho Ho. Over time it’s been sculpted by the wind and rain and it’s said that it looks like a pros of a large ship heading into shore.

Cold wet and sand blasted we then turn around and walk the hour walk back. Along the cliff path it’s a steep climb back I’m going to feel that later.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing on the campsite. The weather didn’t improve all day so no hot pool tonight. We have one more chance in the morning.

Monday 23rd September

More twisty roads took us to the coromandel peninsula. We are staying at a 10 ten campground tonight. New Zealand’s biggest holiday park camping chain. They are all very well equipped and clean to a high standard. And all the staff are friendly and helpful. We would stay on more of these but we both love finding little gems of spots to wilderness camp. In campsites your always surrounded by people, it’s good to get away and enjoy nature. Last night we stayed at a deserted beach.

We are now at hot water beach no wilderness camping allowed anywhere near here.

Hot water beach is truly magical, for two hours either side of low tide you can bathe in a hot pool that you dig yourself. All you have to do is dig around the edge of the tide line until you find a hot water spring. When you’ve found one dig yourself a hole and lay back and relax. It was named one of the top 10 beaches to visit in the world by lonely planet.

Low tide today was at 7:20pm and lots of people were giving it a go. We are planning to come back for the tide in the morning as it’s the same time as sunrise and fancy watching the sun come up whilst laying in our very own hot pool. We can hire a spade from reception.

Sunday 22nd September

We looked around the town of Rotorua known as New Zealand’s heartland of Maori culture.

The afternoon was spent walking around tuapiro reserve a beautiful peninsula with soft sand and warm water.and daisy filled fields.we ate our dinner here and spent the evening reading in the warm sun and , When the sun had set we moved on to a place that we were allowed to wild camp.

no camping was allowed within the reserve

Saturday 21st September

More driving, more twisty roads I don’t think there’s a straight road in New Zealand. We want to explore the thermal pools and springs in waikite valley. Where boiling hot water bubbles up out of the ground in natural hot springs forming warm waterfalls and rivers.

We spent the night in a campsite that used the hot water to fill up hot tubs to various heat levels. We made the most of it and stayed in the pools until kick out at 9pm just a bit crinkled

The water is run over a series of cascades until it has cooled to a comfortable 35 degrees Celsius. Each pool was a different temperature we found our favourite one and relaxed. bliss.

Friday 20th September

A 3.5 hour choppy ferry ride took us back to the north island. Landing in Wellington just gone midday. We followed a really twisty road up the coast through tight mountain passes with lots of switch backs that did nothing to Seattle our already upset tummies 🤢. The views made it worth it.

As always in New Zealand it’s stunning. We pushed on today as we have to be in Auckland by Thursday and we’d already spent time in Wellington and would like to explore somewhere different before we run out of time.

We spent the night at hawks Bay full of vineyards it’s one of the major grape producing area. Manly for wine not fruit bowls.

Thursday 19th September

We drove from Nelson to Picton today. there’s a short direct route, but we’ve got all day . A pass through Nelson lakes national park, much nicer.

We stopped at Nelson lake to take a photo of the most photographed pontoon in the world. Our photography on a phone camera can’t compete with the big boys. We had to wait for a couple who obviously thought they were professional taking 1001 selfie’s. I’m one of the worlds most patient people but seriously! So in the end we just moved in front of them and took a quick snap

After our photo they carried on, copying our pose and a million more even though other people were waiting. Bloody tourist.

We had lunch in the park by a shallow Pebble river so peaceful the only thing to spoil it was flies, yuk. Sand flies are a real problem it stings when they bite you and afterwards they leave a really itchy spot.

When we got to Picton we had a look around town a small port where we need to catch the ferry tomorrow back to the north island. The car ferry began operating in 1962. Before that it was a small inter-Island ferry from 1899.

Tuesday 17th September

Our wedding anniversary, it rained heavily all night but it turned out to be a lovely morning. It’s starting to warm up over here so time to get our summer clothes on!

After making mike his treat breakfast of bacon and eggs bap (me eggs) it was business as usual and back on the road. This time we’re headed to a city. Nelson established by English settlers in 1841. The 9nth most populated city in nz with 61 thousand residents. Named in honour of admiral horatio nelson. It’s sunny climates at the top of the south gives it the highest amount of sunshine in New Zealand.

So back over the pass, juicy did well no over heating today, we make our way passing vine yards and fields full of grids ready for growing hops, nelson is also known for its craft beer.

Tonight we are staying at a proper campsite right on the beach as I wanted to use a kitchen instead of our small single ring stove. Spoilt right. Mike is addicted to pies and it’s easier to make pie, mash and mushy peas in a kitchen!

All washed down with a bottle of local red. And jam roly poly for pudding. Loving life.

We then enjoyed another stunning sunset over the sea and distant mountains ended a perfect day. Tomorrow we are staying in nelson a day off sitting in juicy.