I am back in the US now, but I spent so much of my time in NZ hiking that these pictures are about 3 weeks old - but I assure you they were worth the wait. Above is the view from the Pinnacles hike in Coromandel park about 2 hours from Aukland.
After finishing the 20km pinnacles hike by 3pm, I decided to drive 5 hours south so I could start the 24km Tongariro crossing the next morning. This was some of the most beautiful driving I have ever enjoyed. No cars. Just me, the car, the road and beautiful landscapes.
I arrived in the town that I planned to stay in to find that all the reception desks seemed to be closed for the night. In the spirit of independence and ruggedness I decided to put on all the clothes I had (Frankki had not yet arrived with my camping gear) and spend the night in the car....lets just say that I had to run the car every 90min throughout the night to bring my body temperature up....BUT, the reception desk opened in the morning and the hot breakfast above was incredible!
After the breakfast I was blessed with clearing skies and some of the most beautiful weather for the Tongariro crossing that could possibly be hoped for.
I don't know..it was just so beautiful
After the second day hike I drove back north to pick up Frankki from Aukland and we traveled north to the Bay of Islands and then all the way to the tip of the northern island where the Maori spirits are believed to depart the human world.
On the way back, we took a bus along the 90 mile beach and stopped for some tobogganing on giant sand dunes.
Ahhh....seeing this after being home for over a week melts my heart