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Easter Weekend Trip Route 12N

New Zealand takes Easter weekend seriously.  Shops can be fined for being open,  not because it’s bad to profit on a holiday, but everyone is supposed to be off having fun on this glorious weekend. Never being one to turn down a long weekend we planned a four day road trip of Northland.

My coworkers warned me about the horrendous traffic leaving Auckland, but I assumed correctly that they have a relative definition of traffic. Yeah, we spent an hour in traffic creeping out of Auckland, but it was nowhere near as bad as Texas I-35 gridlock traffic. When it came down to it the whole mess was because of one traffic light in a little town up north.  Several hundred cars stopped for one light.  I found the whole thing very amusing.

Twin Coast Discovery

The New Zealand country side is a curious phenomenon. Much of its beauty is owed to the fact that the island is relatively new and volcanic. So there are hills and valleys everywhere you look that won’t be eroded down to barren, boring Texas flat lands for several million more years. The only place in the world I could compare the New Zealand countryside to is Austria, the (now) second most beautiful country I’ve ever seen.

All along our drive were patches of farm land with sheep, horses and cows. Between the farms were stretches of forest made up of a contradictory combination of mountain evergreens and tropical palm trees. We met an American on our trip who commented that driving around New Zealand he kept expecting a dinosaur to jump out into the road because the forests look like the pictures from dinosaur books.

After surviving the hour of traffic, four more hours of driving, and a few short hikes to break up the day, we made camp at the Trounson Kauri Park Camp Ground.  It was the most beautiful setting for a camp ground I had ever seen.  The camp is situated around a winding stream with rope swings and tubes to play on. It also helped that the showers were free, and the kitchen had three refrigerators for everyone to use.  It was by far the nicest camp ground I have ever stayed at.

Trounson Holiday Park Camping Ground

That night we went on a guided tour given by the owner of the camp. The old guy took us and about a dozen other nature enthusiasts into the “brush” to explain to us all about the flora, fauna and history of the Kiwi forest. We were hoping to get to see an actual Kiwi bird (as they’re nocturnal animals) but we weren’t so lucky that night. It didn’t help that one of the participants on the hike was a mean old lady that shushed anyone that talked, but made a loud stink every time she heard ANYTHING.  It’s a forest lady, it makes noise! We did get to see a river eel eat a piece of Colby cheese though. I had no idea river eels existed much less liked Colby cheese. A fish that eats cheese can’t taste good.


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