After their heavy night, Guido and Liam were having second thoughts about our arranged climb up Mount Manganui in the Bay of Plenty the following morning, but me, Suzie and the kids were all up for it having had a good night's sleep, so dragged their pasty butts up the mountain in the red-hot morning sun. It was hard not to be a bit smug as we rambled up with ease carrying 2 kids whilst the men staggered up behind us, dehydrated and suffering with the mother of all hangovers.
The views from the top of the mountain made it all worthwhile - bright turquoise sea and clear blue skies contrasted with the brilliant golden sands. In the afternoon we went for a drive, had fish and chips and Guido took Liam and I to the local hot pools, where we soaked in the hot water under the stars and palm trees.
We said our goodbyes to the kiwis and the next morning set off for Waitomo Caves,which are full of stalactites and stalagmites.The tour of the caves culminates with a boat trip deep into the darkness of the caves where there are thousands of glowworms hanging from the ceiling. Although it's not actually the glowworms hanging from the ceiling but their waste product, a goo which dangles down and attracts insects which are drawn to the light. The glowworms stay in this larvae state for 9 months catching their prey, and I was just pondering how clever Mother Nature is to create such clever creatures when the guide went on to explain that they then evolve into flying bugs, but that they then only live for 3 days because...wait for it...they have no mouth so they cannot eat. What a ridiculous design fault.
We then went for a hike around the Waitomo area before getting back into the van to head for Taupo. Unfortunately my navigation skills aren't that great and despite there only being about 4 main roads in the whole country I managed to take us about an hour in the wrong direction around weaving roads on the hillside.Oops.
Finally arriving at Taupo we cooked our dinner (there's something quite cosy about cooking on a little hob in the back of the campervan) and had a glass of vino, along with several other identikit couples in their campervans all in a row doing the same. It seems we weren't the only ones with the roadtrip idea, as every day we pass countless other travellers in their campervans clutching their lonely planet guides and maps in hand.
It's not original, but it is fun, and we're really enjoying the ease of being able to jump in the van and go wherever our hearts desire, then park up for snacks or a cuppa or to have a little kip in the back.