Sunday, January 31, 2010

Auckland to Mt Manganui to Rotorua to Te Urewera to Napier!

Wasting no time, we picked up our hot rod, a 1996 Volvo 440 (of course) - named her Shelley, and got on the road to head to Rotorua for the Raggamuffin Reggae Music Festival!  We decided to camp on the beach the night before, and Mt. Manganui was an easy stop off for us.

Naturally we gravitated towards the beach, but as the tide was seemingly unpredictable, we headed for higher ground, and found a nice grassy nook!

We brought along our new friend, Allie from Cali, whom we met at our IEP orientation! The three of us ladies enjoyed a lovely meal of brie, bread, cambozola and a bottle of wine while the waves crashed below us and the sun set behind us.

PS - Thanks Larry and Anna for the tripod! Def comes in handy for family photos :)

The next morning we rose with the sun and got an early start. Like 5:30am start. Knowing we had a big day of driving and music ahead of us, we loaded up on coffee and made our way to Rotorua!

 The lineup for the Raggamuffin Music Festival was packed with really great artists and bands, we heard about it through Kate's kiwi friend, Kylie before we left - we met up with her at the show which was really awesome! They reunited after 4 years. pretty incredible....
                                                                                                                                    We were lucky with the weather, except for the missing o-zone, and the sun was quite strong to say the least. Don't worry Kathy and Gail, we were putting on sunscreen all day, and no sunburns!  We really enjoyed the kiwi bands like Katchafire and Sola Rosa, Lauryn Hill was ah-mazing, and Shaggy sucked.  Big Time.

So after a long, hot, FUN day, we retired to a local Holiday park for the night. The next morning, we parted ways with Miss Allie from Cali, who had to head back up to Auckland...hopefully not for long! 

We looked at a map for the best route to Napier, and decided to drive through Te Urewera National Park! The pictures pretty much speak for themselves.
It was a beautiful day, and our car Shelley did an excellent job on the rocky roads....Especially when we were had an accidental detour...We passed by a sign that said "KEEP LEFT" Pam took this a bit too literally, and turned off to a side road that followed shortly thereafter.

It didn't matter though. Aside from the brambles sideswiping Kate through the window, the giant rocks we had to drive over, and the creepy strange signs entirely in Maori, it was the prettiest detour either of us had ever taken.
This is when we decided to turn around. (1.5 hrs later)                                             
While driving through the park, we made friends with lots of bunnies and horsies! Pam even got one to come over to the car! Exciting! Hello, Friend!

Once we made our way back to the main road......a little while later....we finally came upon Lake Waikaremoana! PRETTY! 

We also saw a pretty waterfall on the side of the road, just exiting the park!  Another photo-op :)
And onwards to Napier! We were planning on spending the night in Wairoa, but after reading the Lonely Planet guide's description, we decided to push on through to Napier, watching the beautiful sunset along the way...

We picked a random backpackers on the water just for the night....and haven't left yet...that was one week ago, so stay tuned for pictures of our new home!

love love love, us

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