Saturday 17th February - Taupo
A leisurely start to the morning before setting off to Huka Falls, which are just outside of Taupo. The falls are a phenomenon of natural hydro power with more than 220,000 litres of water per second barrelling over an 11 metre waterfall. It is pretty spectacular and the water is a beautiful colour.
We were booked on a river cruise in the afternoon so went off in search of somewhere to park up for lunch and wait. We found the most amazing spot beside the river and sat out for a couple of hours, it was really lovely.
After lunch we set off for the Aratiatia Rapids which is one of the most popular natural attractions in New Zealand’s North Island. At three times during the day thousands of litres of water rush from the dam gates to transform the peaceful gully into raging rapids. It was amazing. The skipper of our boat trip said that the water is only let through for the tourists!
It was then onto our trip boat where we cruised up the river to the base of the Huka Falls. Sadly it was a bit of a scramble to try and get photos from the front of the boat
Back to the site for a quiet evening.
Sunday 18th February - Hastings
One of the places I have wanted to visit was Napier - the Art Deco capital of the world. On February 3rd 1931 the town was razed to the ground by a huge earthquake. A fascinating fact is that some 4000 hectares of today’s Napier were under the sea before the earthquake raised it above sea level. Napier was rebuilt in the Art Deco style of the 1930s. In 2007 Napier was nominated as a World Heritage Site with UNESCO. As we drove into Napier we began to realise that something was going on as parking was backed up a long way from the centre. Marine Parade, the main street, was blocked off and there were people everywhere. We gave up at that stage and took a turning to Bluff Look Out. We climbed up then saw a sign which said no campervans beyond this point, so parked up and started to walk. It was at this point that I realised that I really wasn’t very well as the walking was making my chest hurt. We eventually made it to the top but sadly it wasn’t a particularly good view - just one of the docks. I completely forgot to take any photos. Back at Kiwi we headed off to Hastings where we were staying. The lady at the campsite said that today was the culmination of Art Deco week in Napier. What a shame.
Monday 19th February - Wellington
After yesterday I knew that I had to do something about my cough. The lady in the campsite office sent us off to the local health centre which was more like a small walk in hospital. I checked in, paid $150 (£75) and was directed to the red seats. I waited and waited and waited until I realised that people who had arrived after me were going to see the triage nurse. I was just about to ask if I had dropped off the radar when I was called in to see an English guy. I asked him where he was from and he said Keighley in Yorkshire. I said I had gone to school in Skipton and it turns out he went to the boys grammar school where I went to the girls high school!! Anyway he did all the obs plus a Covid test. I then had to wait on the blue chairs. I soon got called to see a clinician but got turfed out of his room as he had to see someone else! My old school friend saw me sitting there and said that he would see me as he was, in fact, a clinician. He checked my chest but it is clear but said I had obviously got a chest infection and went off to get some amoxicillin and paracetamol - for which I didn’t have to pay! Poor Richard had been sitting in the van all that time.
Wind back to before we left the campsite when I noticed that we had no water - the pump had given up. I phoned the rescue service and the lady said she would phone me back. While I was waiting in the health centre she called me to say that she had found somewhere in Wellington that would try and help us tomorrow.
The day got worse as the sky clouded over and the wind got up. It was a 4 hour drive down to Wellington and it was a tough one for Richard with the wind getting stronger. I kept nodding off and would be woken up by Kiwi being buffeted about.
When we arrived at the site the wind was really strong and we were rocked to sleep!