North Island Adventure with Wilderness Motorhomes

I started my last Wilderness trip report by saying I’ve lived in the South Island for most of my life.  To expand, the only other place I’ve settled down for any period of time is Auckland, in the North Island, where I spent a couple of years after university.  Regretfully I didn’t make good use of that time to explore the north, having hardly left the city limits!  And so it’s fair to say when I recently had the opportunity to spend 8 days exploring the Coromandel, Taupo and Rotorua areas it was almost like visiting a new country.  For my eight year old daughter Olivia, who accompanied me on this trip, this was also completely new territory.  Although to be fair she wasn’t so much interested in the scenery but was mostly excited to be spending some quality time with Dad.

We were picked up at Auckland Airport and taken to the Wilderness base by their super-friendly crew, and before we knew it we were on the road in an Outlander 4 with only 72 km on the clock (ah, love that smell of newness!).  Our first destination was the remote Fletcher Bay at the northern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula.

After a beautiful sunrise, followed by brief walk along the first part of the Coromandel Coastal Walk, we headed back out the way we came and made our way across to the eastern side of the peninsula.  Pockets of rain didn’t deter us from walking to the magnificent Cathedral Cove near Hahei, but by the time we parked up at Hot Water Beach in the early evening the rain had well and truly set in.  Thanks goodness for the luxury and comfort of our home on wheels!

The morning dawned and we headed south and explore some of the historic mining tunnels in the Karangahake Gorge, which Olivia loved (apart from her fear of Gollum jumping out of the shadows). We then explored the beautiful Opoutere Beach before parking up at Waihi Beach for the night.

Next it was off to Rotorua for a couple of days exploring its geothermal wonders and redwood forests.  Olivia was adamant she saw Elliot from the movie Pete’s Dragon, several scenes of which were filmed here.

Heading further south to Lake Taupo we passed by the mighty Huka Falls and then went for a drive down the western shoreline towards Ohakune.

After six days on the road it was time to turn around and head back north to Auckland.  On the way we passed through Matamata and Olivia and I got to fulfil a long held dream of visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set.  We then stayed the night in Thames before making our way back to drop off the camper in Auckland early the next morning.

In spite of the occasional spot of rain, Olivia and I had an amazing time exploring new places.  Using the Wilderness motorhome was a fantastic opportunity to spend a lot of quality time together, the memories of which will stay with us both forever.  Can’t wait to do it all again!