This trip is about having ideas/dreams and making sure they come true. For 15 years i have wanted to travel around the North Island, and for 15 years i have had many excuses. Viva Expeditions have a motto that i want to adopt as my own “Don’t Dream It, Live It”
With Viva’s help we collaborated on this adventure.
Leaving Auckland. The feeling i get driving over the Bombay hills from Auckland is a sense of bliss. Looking out over the vast rolling hills of the Waikato. A calmness comes over me. I grew up frequently travelling the road through the Waikato to my place of birth Otorohanga. Years later as our family migrated to The Tron we would visit nearly every month. I know this road like the back of my hand.
Carry on through past Hamilton and you hit the outskirts of Cambridge. I love the Road between Cambridge and Taupo, it can have you transfixed. The hills come in different sizes, you can see vast farmland and it feels like you are part of a movie landscape. This time of year in summer the hills are all shades of green.
Our first stop is Tirau, which is a small village on the main road to anywhere. The town has a theme running through it so there are so many things to see and do.
Tirau is worth a good 45 minutes to explore the range of boutique shops.
We took a photo in front of the I-site. Next to the i site there is a church with a very impressive door. I just had to take a photo as the contrast from the green door with the red bricks tickled my fancy. ( Funny thing is it must’ve tickled my fancy last time i came through as I discovered i had taken the same photo on another trip)
The trip got quiet from this point as the Passengers ( My youngest Brother and my Teenager) plugged themselves into their phones. So it was me talking to myself (a lot). I had to put my foot down with the ‘No Laptop rule’ in the car when the teen attempted to watch movies before we left the North Shore. ( Kids these days)
Rolling hills started to turn to Pine Forest, this is when you know you are getting close to Taupo. The change in the scenery got the passengers attention so they stopped being plugged in and started to take photos.
This lasts 10 min and then i am back in the car alone. It’s hard to concentrate on the road with the beauty that is surrounded me. I get a little choked up thinking how important this trip is. It feels like this might be the only time we will do this little family trip. The passengers are growing up and not really wanting to spend holidays with boring old me. ( They remind me constantly how old i am)
I’m hoping this trip will give them fond memories. My greatest memories are the ones where we were camping somewhere. We spent nearly every February in Kai Iwi lakes when we were kids. We would swim, kayak and explore the pine forest. Head over to the other side of the lake and jump off the jetty. My parent love to camp so they would always organise trips. They still take long weekends over the year but instead of camping they have a lilliput caravan.
I am sure once the passengers get out of normal routine they will start to appreciate the little things that we are experience in. I hope we will have some of the same fun on this trip.
We reached Taupo and we head straight to our accommodation. I decided to do it rough and i booked a small cabin. When i say small it has enough room for a double bed bunk and enough space for the door to open. The look of shock on the passengers faces was priceless. My brother was lost for words and he roughs it tramping all the time. I think the thought of being stuck in a tiny room with me and the teen was not his idea of fun.
We fitted all our stuff in and with a bit of encouragement they settled into their new digs. The trip isn’t about hanging around in our accommodation. I want us exploring the area and only coming back to sleep at the end of a full on day.
Dinner time and we head to town and grab a bite to eat at Lone Star. A treat from our parents to celebrate our first night on our trip. One thing about Lone Star is to go there starving. The portions are incredibly big. None of us finished our plates and i nearly died when our waitress asked us if we wanted to see the desserts menu. The food and service was fantastic and i would highly recommend giving them a go.
The Teen was stuffed and wanted bed but on our way home we saw the moon. It was huge! Just coming up over the back hills, yellow in colour and full. We decided to chase the moon, so off we went out the back hills of Taupo looking for a spot to take some photos.
We stopped on a country road and had a bit of a play.
The thing about chasing the moon is you never actually get close enough to catch it. We had the wrong lenses on us so had to do with what we had but i think my brother did a good job capturing the moment.
I love taking photos at night. You never know just what you will get.
Off back to the cabin where we all crash!