After leaving Hobbiton our next stop was Rotorua. After the first days of driving around New Zealand you get a grasp of the difference between distance on paper and actually driven. End the end I would like to see a statistic of my driving and if I actually drove more straight or turning left and right on the (kurvige) roads. No idea. But every drive takes longer than expected. We arrived at Rotorua in the evening and we stayed at a wonderful DoC campsite next to Lake Okareka. The stars at night were just stunning and I enjoyed sitting outside of the campervan and taking pictures from the lake and the stars while Annika was working inside and the kids were asleep.

Rotorua itselfs offers a lot around the thermal area it’s placed on. We decided to visit the Maori museum, where you can see a spectacular geyser as proof of it. Biiiig BLOBS coming up out of the mud. All pretty impressive. And we got to see a Kiwi, too. Then our journey took us passing Lake Taupo to the Tongariro National Park. Getting closer to it, it’s impressive how the three volcanoes stand out from the rest. We arrived there in the evening sun and reached the camp site in the park when the sun was setting. There was the only time that we didn’t find a place on a campsite, so we had to go to the next one, which was just about 10 km away, but luckily next to the national parks’ information center.

The next day we wanted to go for our first “real” hike on the trip. First of all it took ages until we got ready. First Linnéa was hungry, when she was dressed Niklas got hungry and needed a diaper change. All of it took so long, that Linnéa was almost hungry again, but we decided we were ready to go. We took a ski-lift up there, which was pretty cold, but Linnéa actually loved it. She got disappointed when it ended. Once up there we wanted to start our hike. The first sign wasn’t that clear for us, so that we went wrong a little having Linnéa at my hand, constantly asking WHY we were doing it and not going with the ski lift instead. Explaining to her that we went wrong and missed the right track wasn’t the easiest one. Finally we found it, but the start was pretty rough terrain, which was hard on Annika, as she couldn’t see properly where she was stepping with Niklas on her chest. Then Linnéa wanted to get on my back and it started raining in the middle of climbing over rocks. That was enough, especially for Annika and we stopped our adventure there, as we didn’t feel comfortable anymore going further. We went into the cafe instead and enjoyed a bit of food, coffee and the view from there. Later on the South Island we hiked again and it worked really well. But this was not the day for it. We finished the day going to a waterfall, which according to our host at the campsite was really “lord-of-the-ringsy”. That one we enjoyed and continued our journey to the south of the north island.

Wonderful to see so many stars so far away from every city light One of endless selfies of me and Linnéa :) It’s alive Amazing geyser!

Lake Taupo

The National Park and its’ volcanoes

Ski lift takes you further up. Pretty windy! Pretty cold! :) Stunning view close to the clouds

Even though it didn’t work out so well… …the gear is good :) New Zealands highest cafe (they claimed so at least)

But at the end we had a pretty good time

Quote: This place is really ‘lord-of-the-ringsy’ :)