A family holiday in New Zealand - part II

After leaving Rotorua we made our way to the last part of our journey: Coromandel. I'd already been here in January and absolutely loved the peninsula! Once again we got to stay with the Couchsurfing couple in Thames that last time made our journey such a wonderful experience.

Before, however, entering into Coromandel there was yet one stop the two "bros" in our group had to make: The Giant Bottle of L&P - New Zealand's national drink. It is made of lemon juice and mineral water from Paeroa - and of course nowadays belongs to Coca-Cola... Anyway - my brother fell in love with that drink and thinks about introducing it to Germany. So watch out!

Once again Christiane and Patrick had a full house. Staying with them at the same time was Isabelle, a French girl. She wasn't couchsurfing but used HelpExchange where you work for someone approx 4 hours per day and get to stay with them for free in return. Anyway... since Isabelle didn't have a car we thought it'd be nice to take her along and the five of us went up Paaku Hill near Tairua. You can drive almost all the way up and then it's just a tenn minute climb to the top. The view is worth it!

Next stop on the itinerary: Cathedral Cove. Unfortunately one of the last cyclons had destroyed the last bit of the walk (or more the staircase was gone) so we had to abseil down with the help of a rope. What an adventure! It was quite slippery and muddy but we all made it.

Hot Water Beach wasn't as nice as last time, either. Mostly due to the rain and cold wind. But at least there were enough spots for everyone to dig up their own spa pool. Only this time the tide was still very low and the hot springs right under the surface. We burnt ourselves a few times and couldn't really relax that much. It was a constant "who's getting the next bucket with cold water to cool this down a bit?"

The last day we spent mostly in Coromandel Township. My mom wanted to go to the Driving Creek Railway. There is that old guy who spent 30 years of his life building train tracks into the Coromandel mountain range with tunnels and sculptures along the way. At the very top he built the Eyefull Tower from where you have really good views over Hauraki Gulf. The journey takes about an hour, is a nice experience - but costs 25 dollars! Not sure if that's worth it but the guide said they have replanted thousands of native trees and are still helping native forest to grow back. That's what most of the money is obviously for which is a good cause.

My highlight that day was this "little" thing that was hiding - of course - in the train compartment I had chosen to sit in. It's a weta, one of New Zealand's oldest native animals. The Department of Conservation calls it a "creepy-crawly" and that it is indeed! It took Daniel quite a while to get it out of the train but it was either the weta or me. I guess he loves me more ;-)

Three weeks seem like a long time but they went by quite fast. So all the sudden it was time to drop my folks off at their hotel from where they had to take the airport shuttle quite early in the morning. It took us only a couple of hours to exchange pictures and put them from one computer onto the other. I guess the guy at the reception downstairs thought we were never going to leave.

Daniel and I stayed the weekend in Auckland to relax a bit before going back home. Sunday we watched the Red Bull Trolley Race at the Domain - but I wasn't that impressed. Some of the guys did have some pretty good ideas for their trolleys and it was fun watching the first couple ones go down the hill. But it wasn't really a race since they were all going down one by one. There were barely any crashes, either, and therefore little excitement.


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