Caught the bus from our hotel to the terminal at 5:45am, it was a wee bit overcrowded so when the bus driver announced that we'd arrived at the domestic terminal and someone from within the depths of the crowd cried "I need to get off" it resulted in half the bus having to alight and then re-board.
We woke up to clear skies so we checked out of the motel and went straight across the road to have a last look at the lake in all its splendour. In the distance we could even see the mountains peeking through a cloudy veil. We stood up on the lookout at the lakes edge and spied a trout swimming around in the crystal-clear water. We also watched a shag diving and swimming under water. We went down to the shore for a look too and saw some pumice which we just had to throw in the water to make sure it floated (it did).
On the road by 8am this morning and headed south around Lake Taupo. We left the lake behind at Turangi and continued south skirting around Tongariro National Park with views of Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu. There was patchy cloud cover but we got pretty good views. Ruapehu even had a little bit of snow on it.
We were up early and checked out of our motel as we had to be at our Zipline Canopy Tour at 8am. We arrived a little early, got checked in and geared up and jumped in a bus with eight others and two guides. We drove out of Rotorua for about 10 minutes to Dansey Road Scenic Reserve.
First thing this morning we drove down to Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland. We popped in to check out the mud pools on our way which due to all the rain were under a little more water than usual but still looked great, bubbling away constantly.
We entered the park a bit after 9am and decided not to bother going to see the geyser as I had seen it before and it's not that great. This meant that we missed a lot of the crowds too which was even better. It was a bit chilly in the morning but warmed up throughout the day.
Today started with a drive south to the Kauri Museum at Matakohe. We got there just after opening and planned for a quick visit but the museum was so extensive and interesting we stayed for nearly three hours! It has artefacts relating to just about every aspect of the kauri industry.
We were up and on the road at 7:30am this morning. It wasn't raining and we spied a few bits of blue sky so were hopeful the day wouldn't be as bad as predicted. We headed north with the goal of reaching Cape Reinga. It's 120km from Kaitaia with a travel time of 1.5 hours. The road was winding in patches but overall not too bad. Along the way we saw just about every animal: cows, sheep, pigs, horses, a rabbit, turkeys wandering along (and crossing) the road, geese, kingfishers and even two emus!
So apparently Cyclone Debbie, or at least what's left of her, has arrived in New Zealand which is bad for us but could be worse as Northland is one of the least effected areas (guess that's the silver lining...).
We were up and out of our hotel by 8am and first up we crossed the Auckland Harbour Bridge. We continued north taking the scenic route winding around hills through farmland and small towns, stopping at Lang's Beach to stretch our legs and have a look at the ocean.
We started the day at...some time but between time zones, daylight savings, automatic updates, aeroplane mode, analogue watches and block out blinds we don't really know what time exactly.
Anyway, by the time we walked to Sky Tower it was open so we jumped in the lift and went to level 51 again. It was overcast but we still got great views of the city and even spied our hotel room (we think). We then took another lift to the 60th floor which is the highest you can go. This observation deck was nice and quiet with even better views although a much narrower walkway.
Early start waking up at 5am for a 5:30am departure from home. Pretty good run to Sydney with a couple of short pit stops. Arrived at the airport at 9:30am and the traffic was mayhem. Eventually found a spare drop off space and after a hasty farewell to Mum and Big Sis entered the international departures terminal. There were people absolutely everywhere, it's the busiest I have ever seen an airport! After a little confusion, we checked in at the Air NZ self-serve kiosks and got rid of our suitcase at the bag drop.