After leaving Santipada Buddhist Monastery we’re heading south visiting NZ’s biggest Kauri tree and passing the small town of Helensville. We’ve been attracted by the name and need to have a look. It’s maybe not that kind of a charming place but also part of the countries character.
Our next destination is Coromandel Peninsula around 100 km southeast of Auckland. The name already sounds like something jewel-like to us and it absolutely turns out to be like that. We follow the coastline street to the tip of the peninsula passing beautiful beaches with clear turquoise water and amazing rock formations offshore. We feel kind of overwhelmed by all that impressions and start getting somewhat dizzy. A Tibetan Buddhist monastery and a yoga retreat center called Mana Retreat offer possibility to calm down our minds. We just ran into that places by accident. Mana is a quite and lovely place located on a hill with stunning views and a special atmosphere and in the Tibetan Monastery we are lucky to join a course about the essence of Tibetan Buddhism.
We head on more south to the area of Rotorua, a part of NZ’s north island where impressive volcanic valleys are located. Unfortunately the entry fees are quite high so we just visit one of them. The most recommended one is Wai-o-Tapo and even as a really touristy place with lost of people it’s interesting to see what nature created. Beautiful colourful lakes and various volcanic features, like the Lady Knox Geyser on an area of 18 square kilometres. There is an eruption of the Geyser every day. It’s initiated artificially just for people’s attraction and therefore feels kind of strange for us. But still, it’s impressive.
The next place we want to visit is Lake Taupo, that has been created by an volcanic eruption 26,500 years ago. Unfortunately we are not lucky with the weather. It’s rainy, foggy and the area hides within the clouds. So we decided to move on to Mt. Tongariro National Park. The 8 hours alpine crossing we planned is not possible due to the weather conditions but the highway leads through the park with stunning views on the snow covered volcanos and the veld like surrounding. Maybe one of the most impressive landscapes we passed so far.
We are still camping on cheap campgrounds or quiet places. sometimes the nights are cold and we are freezing, but the next night can be quite warm. The weather seems kind of unpredictable and is changing a lot. Unfortunately most the time I feel quite cold and it seems I’m not getting used to the climate. The never ending wind is taking the last remaining warm air away. Sometimes it’s really exhausting and I feel tired of freezing all day long. But there are still NZ’s cozy libraries, where we spend the days when the weather gets to bad.
Six weeks in NZ have passed and it’s time to pick up Manu!