new zealand: north island (part 2)

Hamilton was just supposed to be a place to lay our head for the night but became well worth mentioning due to the meth’d out motor park we stayed in, Narrows Park. this place had all the workings of a classic horror story. we pull in around 10p, which is way too late to show up to a middle-of-nowhere motor park without a reservation, and after waking the owners farm hand we drove thru a pitch dark plot of land to find our spot along next to a lit church/chapel and the mom from the ring begging for a ride into the nearest town. the next morning said ring mother and her friend provided free of charge our wake up call by opening our camper van door – Caroline’s scream would have led you to believe they were attacking us but realistically I think they were just confused. next you’re going to ask yourself, why was it unlocked? IT WASN’T!!! (it probably was) after the onsite rooster crowed i showered in what doubled as a bug aquarium with a sr citizen that decided this was the proper venue for introductions, it wasn’t. we filled up with water and bounced…

an impromptu stop in Rotorua for a traditional Maori cultural experience (sold out) turned into a quick luge session and a few pics. realistically this was when we were going to dive deep into the native culture of NZ, but luge was an adequate alternative.

on the way to luge, Rotorua, November 2014

down we go, Rotorua, November 2014

on the way to Tongariro National Park we made a quick stop at Lake Taupo for a photo opp (below) and some zen like admiration of NZ’s largest lake. basically Lake Michigan but perfectly blue. we arrive at the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and set-up shop at the closest motor park and outdoor group to complete the crossing. the hike is a 12 mile (19.4 km) walk over an active volcano that summits somewhere over 6K ft and takes roughly 6-7 hrs to complete. if you’re following caroline on Facebook you know that #werehikersnowduh and we didn’t bat an eye at this challenge. trekked thru 3 seasons; fall, winter and spring and took tons of videos and photos (some below, more to come). a pack of canadian 20yr olds, you guys get everywhere, made the trip in shorts and tennis shoes. we were pretty sure that a few of them were going to die…so, naturally, up to this point this is the coolest thing we’ve done.

lake taupo sexy selfie, november 2014


warning!, tongariro crossing, november 2014

before we leave here, a quick shot-out to all you older German travelers out there. you’re insanely rude and stand-offish behavior and your military like disgust for americans is only outdone by your finely made automobiles. guess what, i know you’re talking about me. it’s obvious. i don’t care what you think of my ponytail, it’s not for you.

next day we woke up early for the 4hr drive to the capital of New Zealand, but not before stopping in Hawke’s Bay so Caroline could get her buzz on. Hawkes Bay is one of a few big winery areas in NZ and we decided to stop at 3 wineries in no discernible order – Crossroads, Unison & TeAwa – and buzz accomplished. we ended up leaving with a sav blanc from Unison and a Cab Merlot mix from TeAwa – Caroline gives both wines a “loud talking and lots of giggles” out of her patented wine review ranking system of “eating cheese at home to girls night out”. fun fact, i may or may not have a man crush on the cellar door host at TeAwa. onto the capital…

teAwa wine tasting, hawkes bay 2014

teAwa wine tasting, hawkes bay 2014

Wellington is awesome and wish we would have spent more than one full day there but unfortunately we were set to board the ferry for the south island on the 7th. we stayed in an amazing motor park right on the ocean and point blank downtown. in our only full day we mostly wandered. first we hit the shopping district so we could load up on a few necessities, including some new Bulls wear because we left our gear at home (more to come on that in “what we’ve learned” post). we made our way up and down Cuba Street a few times eventually decided to raid a candy store and kill a few hours of rain playing pool at the only irish bar we could find – JJ Murphy & Co. i also managed to drag Caroline to Garage Project and if you don’t see anything in Wellington or NZ as a whole, go here. they are brewing the best and most innovative beers I’ve yet to see and taste and they promise to be in the states soon enough. i will be buying by the boat load. later in the evening we made like locals and inserted ourselves into a corporate happy hour and met some expats. we didn’t have time, but had we, we would have gone to the Wellington Zoo and pet a Cheetah – yeah, you read that right. ill finish with this; Wellington has more bars and restaurants per capita than NYC. nuff said.

garage project, wellington 2014

garage project, wellington 2014

selfie while boarding the ferry for the south island. half beard and pony in full effect. onto the next one…

pony & beard, interislander ferry, wellington november, 2014

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