Ali and Pete in New Zealand 2012 travel blog

Pete driving the van into the 'Hobbit Hole' tunnel

Ali - learning the hard way about big waves

A birthday morning dip

Tunnel entrance to our own private beach

Quite a gap since the last blog as we’ve been in the back country which is lacking in wi fi hotspots. We spent a fantastic day driving down the Forgotten World Highway to Stratford. This went over four mountain passes, along river valleys and through tunnels and we stopped to admire waterfalls on the way.

We then did a circumnavigation (by road) of Mount Taranaki, stopping at New Plymouth for a hair do on the way and also camping beside deserted, windswept beaches and beautiful lakes. The weather has improved and the mountain even showed itself against perfect blue skies from time to time.

Since leaving New Plymouth we’ve headed north along an even more deserted road running parallel to the coast. The highlight of this was last night’s freedom campsite. We were entirely on our own looking out over a lovely black sand estuary. A short tunnel cut through the cliffs took us through to the most perfect (deserted) beach yet. We swam in the surf both yesterday afternoon and this morning – what a way to start a 50th birthday!

Now on to the B+B for some proper birthday pampering.

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