Sunday 16 Dec
We were waiting for the clouds to clear around the volcanoes, so went for a wander in Taupo Botanical Reserve. I had forgotten how much New Zealanders like their Rhododenrons but there was also one of the largest collections of Camellias in NZ – it was just a pity they were all pretty much at the end of their flowering.
Eventually we gave up, as even though the cloud had lifted, it was extremely hazy, so we headed for Napier. Along the road were the pretty 40m Waipunga Falls.
Napier is a busy port, but really offered nothing of interest to us. Just north of Napier Darryl bought some fresh asparagus and apricots..they were the best apricots I have ever eaten! Really sweet and soft. As we drove further north there was another walk to two waterfalls – Te Ana Falls, and Tangoio Falls.
We ended the day at Three Oaks Motel in Wairoa, very quiet, clean and cheap.
Monday 17 Dec
Our first rainy day, although it lightened as we drove north to Mahia Peninsula.
We had a look at the surfing beaches, but it was too wet (the notes said dangerous when wet) to do the walks, and then headed to Morere Hot Springs. We didn't go into the baths, but drove up a road, which was quite dodgy. Our wheels skidded on the vegetation and there were deep ruts, but when I got out, Darryl was able to get up! At the top was their cemetery!
There was a track from here into the reserve, and we quite enjoyed the track which skirted the Hot Springs, enjoyed seeing lots of Nikau Palms, and incuded pig ruts.
Back in Wiaroa we took a walk along the riverbank before dinner, starting at their light-house. We spent the night at the Three Oaks Motel again and enjoyed baked Salmon with fresh fennel (picked at the cemetery) and farm fresh asparagus.