On Thursday morning, we picked up the campervan from Mighty, near Auckland airport and set off in our home for the next 5 weeks. With a short drive planned for today, we headed for Thames at the bottom of the Coromandel Peninsula and checked into Dickson's holiday park.
After making our introduction to the campervan video we got ourselves settled into our home and got used to the practicalities of the finite space we will need to grow accustomed to living in. After using the kitchen facilities at the holiday park so we didn't need to use our own gas we watched a movie on the laptop and then crashed out in bed.
Near expiring, we stopped at The Old Mill Cafe for lunch where both of us enjoyed some fresh fish. Having recovered we made our way north to Hahei Holiday Resort and pitched up at our plot for the evening. Both of us agreed this was a lovely holiday park and definitely our favourite from this leg of the trip.
A touch weary from our double trek day we once again used the kitchen facilities on offer to us (save the gas) from the holiday park and after some relaxation in front of a film (Harry Potter for approximately the 20th time this trip!) we headed off to sleep.
The next morning we headed South again to the city of Hamilton and parked ourselves up at the Hamilton City Holiday Park and after some lunch, headed to the bright city lights. A busy, bustling city centre on a Saturday afternoon however, was not what we encountered. Instead a solitary shopping street with units seemingly recently closed and devoid of any sizeable human activity. We wandered some of the shops with nothing catching our eye apart from the statue of Riff Raff (Richard O'Brien) author (among other achievements) of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. For those that are interested, the dance moves to the Time Warp are on a nearby wall in Hamilton and a camera records those dancing along, the live footage can be found here (Katy did briefly feature).
With a drought of people we decided that they must be in the pubs and bars! However that didn't appear to be the case either. The first (Keystone), turned us away and said to come back in 45 minutes due to a private event that took up less than half the tables, the next (Local Taphouse) (where we stopped for a couple) had 1 waiter to every 2 people. We moved on. The next, (Biddy Mulligans) was taken up by a hen party that were in full flow and the final bar (Craft) lured us in with a busy beer garden however there was nobody inside and so after a drink in the beer garden we headed for dinner. The Lone Star, a western themed chain restaurant, was definitely busier than our previous stops and after some no thrills food we headed back to the van.
Sunday morning, and after going for the messages we walked south to Hamilton Gardens where we spent hours wandering around the maze of gardens and exhibits. They were all fantastic, although some were closed (under construction for summer). Katy's favourite was the Mansfield Garden (based on Katherine Mansfield's short story, "The Garden Party") and Craig's was the Herb Garden with its cooking smells and medicinal plants side by side.
After a sugary treat for some extra fuel we followed the Waikato River back to the city centre and had a late lunch in Mr. Pickle's Bar and Eatery which served up tapas style charcuterie boards and comfort food. We went for the gnocchi and it was delicious, with mustard seeds adding an amazing unexpected flavouring. A lazy evening followed and next day we were back on the road again, heading to the Shire.
We have to attach an apology note to this post, as it is much later than intended, however wi-fi has not been as readily available as expected however we hope to resume normal service with the next post!