Hello, Hello!!! Not that I’m counting, but we’ve officially spent the last 22 nights sleeping in our tent (who is tenderly known as Russell or Russ) and living out of Millie (that would be our car). And for those of you who have ever doubted my camping skills, you may like to know that it even rained on us the first 9 nights. Despite the muddy nights & mornings, the girls and Russell pulled through & we now consider ourselves campin’, trampin’ fools! Our lifestyle has been such that a 10 or $12/night tent site at a holiday park (they have kitchen, shower and toilet facilities) is a luxurious treat. Holiday Parks are fabulous but we try to stay at the cheap “basic” campgrounds—which range in price from free to $9/night. Our record so far? Nine days w/o a shower! Now, b/4 you go and get too disgusted, we were camping right on a beautiful river—which became our bath for several days. It’s amazing how clean you can feel after a dip in a chilly, freshwater river!
I can’t possibly give details about all that we’ve done but it’s all been amazing. We feel so free & most of the time, don’t even know what day it is. After all, everyday is a weekend in our world! Not sure how I’ll get a job after this! We’ve had some great scenic drives (just wait until our mothers see some of these excuses for roads!) & had our first NZ road block (picture seeing a sheet of white in front of you and then realizing you have to stop in the middle of the road to allow a herd of sheep rush past you) the 2nd day of the trip. We’ve done some serious tramping—hours at a time & sometimes multiple times a day—past beautiful waterfalls, streams, rivers and trees to some awesome views and lookouts. We spent a lot of time in Lake Taupo where we attempted to jump out of a plane for V-Day but the weather wasn’t cooperating & we decided to hold off for a while. The Lake itself was beautiful—nothing like the lakes I know at home. The water was crystal clear and the backdrop was amazing. Lake Placid crew---you guys would LOVE it! We even found an awesome hot spring that made for a nice treat after all the bathing in the freezing river! Did a white water rafting trip which was a good mix of peaceful, scenic, and adventurous! Mol might try to convince you that I fell out of the raft but there are no pics to prove it and we were assured before the trip that only 3% of the ppl fall out—so no need to listen to her ridiculous stories! Both Taupo and Rotorua (our stop after Taupo) are high geothermal areas so we saw (and smelt) our fair share of cool geothermal activity-- Boiling mud pools, hot streams, geysers, steaming craters, and colored lakes & waterfalls. We also went to “White Island” (off the coast of Whakatane) which is NZ’s only active marine volcano. Complete with hard hats, gas masks & instructions on what to do in case of an eruption, we got a tour of the island and all its active volcano components. We’ve seen some beautiful beaches, each one different from the last. We attempted to do a dive trip near Cathedral Cove but the visibility was crap and there was a pretty big swell so we have to hope to get at least one good diving opportunity before we leave. Our last road trip took us to the very tip of the Coramandel Peninsula to a campsite at Stony Bay. It was an hour drive on a narrow, windey (ya know, lots of curves! Have I gone my whole life thinking that was a word??!!), gravel road and was absolutely beautiful. It was so remote & untouched. The stars were unreal and the views from Russell were breathtaking. We cooked our dinner over the fire (no worries CP, we usually use our cooker!) and ate while we watched some dolphins playing and jumping out in the ocean.
As for now, we’ve made it to Auckland and have just about a month to do the rest of the North Island before we meet the Foos family back in Welly. We’ve put some pics on Yahoo---(http://photos.yahoo.com/mollyfoos) unfortunately, they don’t do anything justice (and they are not in order! No time for that, sorry!) but I guess that’s always the way it is. Hope all is well at home—you’re all in my thoughts and of course I miss you! Thanks for all the phone calls (ash-that was the best surprise!) I’ve been getting—keep them up!
Hugs and Kisses J Take care of you
(and Dawn, I’ll try and check out your old house and get a pic for you!!)