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4,510 miles later.. goodbye New Zealand

We finally arrived back on the North island, 2.5 hours later than expected! We drove straight to the nearest campsite and went to bed.

The following day we went into Wellington so Sam could get a haircut. It took us ages to find a parking space and then once we parked up we walked around for about 20 minutes looking for a barbers. Finally we came across one so Sam went in there. After this we went to the Ta Papa museum which had lots of different exhibitions on about Maori culture and NZ war. We then left the museum and headed back to the car. As we walked back Hannah pointed out a barbers shop on the other side of the road to where we were parked that we hadn't seen. We then realised the shop we'd parked outside of was also a barbers which we'd completely missed!! Still we got a tour of the city whilst searching.

We then drove half an hour out of Wellington and stopped off for lunch by the river before driving 3 hours up the west coast to Mount Taranaki. We arrived at the campsite and stayed there for the rest of the evening.

The next morning we drove to Mount Taranaki to do one of the hikes.

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The main one we were looking at was half closed because of a landslide so we went on a slightly different route which we were told would be 3.5 hours. When we set off it was lovely and sunny and about 5 minutes into the walk it all clouded over! Still we carried on, climbing a lot of stairs and then making it to the first lookout where we couldn't see much. We continued the walk which then became really rocky and the bushes were all overgrown...

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We also had some interesting stairs to climb...
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We then reached the summit and had an amazing view of cloud...

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It had only taken us just over an hour to reach the top so we knew it wouldn't take 3.5 hours altogether. After a little break we started to make our way down the steep path, Hannah nearly slipping over exactly where a lady in front of us had just fallen! It was a lot clearer and sunnier at the bottom but it was still really cloudy at the top so we were glad we didn't hang around to try and see the view.

We made it back to the car and had some lunch before driving back to the campsite for the afternoon.

The following day we went to another point at Mount Taranaki, this time to see Dawson Falls and Wilkie's pools. We started walking through the rainforest and then came to Wilkie's pools.

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We then carried on and the path got a lot muddier and quite slippy. Sam hadn't worn his walking shoes so he tripped over a few times! Hannah was leading the way and thought she was following the orange arrows when we ended up deep in the bushes. We turned back around and realised we'd missed a really obvious path and instead Hannah had just led us into a load of bushes! Back on track we carried on and then came to Dawson Falls...

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We had then reached the end of the track so we went back to the car and headed for a free campsite. The campsite was set on a lake and home to lots of endangered birds. We had lunch and then walked around the lake as it was really sunny. When we got back we were being attacked by flies so decided to leave for another campsite to save the pain of getting bitten again!

After a peaceful nights sleep with no flies we set off to drive the Forgotten World Highway (NZ's oldest heritage trail). We set off through the twisty and windy roads where there were just a few random houses dotted along the way. After an hour of driving we arrived at The Republic of Whangamomona. This town declared themselves a republic in 1989 as the local council wanted to split them into 2 regions which they weren't happy about so they made themselves a republic instead! They even have presidents, although they have only had 1 human president and the rest have been animals!!! We stopped off at the only pub in the republic, had a drink and got our passports stamped...

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Our journey then continued along the Forgotten Highway for another 2 hours where we drove past lots of beautiful scenery and also through a tiny tunnel/Hobbit Hole as the sign called it!

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Once we reached the end of the highway we headed to Waitomo, stopping off at the impressive Marokopa falls along the way...

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After a busy day we arrived at our campsite and went to sleep. The following day we drove further North of the island, first stopping off at Bridal Veil Falls...
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We then drove to the town of Raglan and our maps decided to take us the scenic way along very twisty and gravelly roads. After a bumpy journey we arrived and had lunch by the black sand beach where everyone goes to surf (we didn't have a go!). That afternoon we went to Hamilton where we visited the gardens there which were really pretty...

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After our stop off in Hamilton we drove 30 minutes down the road to a tiny little town as there was a free camping site there! However when we arrived there was some event going on and people weren't able to camp that night so we had to go elsewhere. Free camping obviously isn't meant to be for us!!

The following day was our final full day in New Zealand! We spent the day at the campsite packing up our bags and cleaning the car out. After one final sleep in the car we drove back to the depot and dropped off Cannonball :(

6 weeks, 4,510 miles driven & 2 dead batteries later we survived campervanning!
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We are now at Auckland airport waiting for our flight to Fiji!!

Posted by SamHannah 06:41

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What lovely scenery and spectacular views you’ve experienced while in NZ , such a beautiful country😀 on to your next adventure make the most of your last two weeks take care see you soon😀xx

by Mum q

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