We awoke with little hangover from the wine tasting session, probably because we slept in. Our ferry to the North Island wasn’t until 12:30 and it was only half an hour away from where we were staying. Alex was unhappy to take his shower, not because he wanted to dodge it but because Claire had already identified that they were charging $1 for five minutes of hot water, the cheek of it! Then when his coin failed to activate the hot water flow he marched to reception scantily clad in his towel. Fortunately the man at reception was apologetic and fixed the matter and gave Alex an extra five minutes of water. Bonus!

Hug that sign post!

The drive to the ferry was not exciting to be honest and the wait at the port was even less exciting, except for the loud WWII sounding alarm that ran through the town. Nobody panicked so we remained calm and had our lunch. After a short delay of about 45 minutes we were allowed on board and quickly found the best seats in the house for movie watching and the next four hours whisked away.

Author Comment: This is a really exciting day! So move to the next post if you like!

Noisey river this one!

We exited the large boat with absolutely no idea what we were doing, we were a bit tired and sleepy from too much relaxing all day with mild signs of hangover, but we made it to a campsite that was about an hour’s drive from Wellington and made camp!

Our mission in the morning consisted of driving to ‘Mount Doom’ from Lord of the Rings and having a peak (No pun intended!), but the weather had not been favourable so far. Actually, so far it had been the worst weather imaginable without ice and snow. The heavens had opened and there was no stopping the rain from thundering down! The wind had also decided to join the party and with our vehicle the shape of a sail, it made driving more like a computer game. At least that’s what Alex told himself as he battled to destination Doom! Along the way we had a break for lunch and ventured into McDonalds for the free Wi-Fi, it was playing up and not working properly and we decided to carry on with our journey. It had stopped raining for a bit so Claire decided to give Alex a break from driving. Although it had stopped raining the wind was still very strong, and we had to take it easy with our speed to stay safe. Unfortunately not everyone was happy with the safety measure we took and we were soon pulled over by the police. The officer in question asked us why we were doing 60kmh in a 100kmh area, we hastily explained that the van couldn’t cope in the severe weather conditions and was swaying from side to side; he said ‘I don’t personally have a problem with you driving slowly’; he suddenly cheered up and suggested we pull over when cars were queuing behind us, so they could overtake us without as much risk. Lame! Alex took the helm as the weather had worsened and Claire was now angry with the ‘old bill’!

Mt. doom in the background, honest!

Eventually we arrived in the town of Ohakune, just on the outskirts of the Tongariro National Park. We found an i-site for information on the area and national park, they were great, or at least as good as they could have been; they went on to explain how the weather was shite and there was nothing to see for the next millennia. We found refuge for the night and made camp.

At the i-site they did divulge some information that we were about to take advantage of; they informed us that the local library had free internet, so in the morning we pitched up in the library car park ready for opening time at 8am. The weather was still appalling and so we made the most of the free internet and updated the blog for all the stuff we had done in New Zealand so far. It was a good mission indeed; from here we ventured up to the National park to hopefully catch a glimpse, of Mt Ngauruhoe AKA Mt doom in Lord of the Rings and the surrounding mountains and areas which also featured in the film. Unfortunately we were unable to see anything, the cloud cover was so thick and some roads were even closed because of the weather. There was no chance of seeing anything, we thought we would give it one chance in the morning to clear and headed to the campsite for the night.

Proof we were there!

The next morning we woke to a disappointing sight, shitty weather again, and no view at all. We couldn’t even go out and walk one of the trails due to the pouring rain. We gave up hope and headed to our next destination of Rotorua.