Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Floating Rocks and Desert Roads

You hear a lot about Freedom camping in New Zealand. We have several friends who have camper-vanned around New Zealand and they all tell of just parking anywhere, anytime, and having a wonderful place. We've come to learn that they were either here many years ago, or they were here in off season. There are lots of rules surrounding freedom camping now and you better get there early in the day to claim your spot. Most nights, we ended up in commercial campgrounds after finding the designated freedom campsites to be full. They charge by the person here ($15-30), rather than by the site. Since we are traveling with 3 people, it's been $45-90/night. Luckily that's in New Zealand dollars and the exchange rate is well in our favor, making that $30-62/night.

So, we were thrilled when we came across a freedom camping spot that had enough room for lots of RVs. And it was gorgeous, right on the shores of lake Taupo.

There are volcanoes around here, made obvious by the pumice-stone rocks laying all about the beach. They are very light - throw it into the water and these rocks float!

We just stayed there one night, then headed south toward Wellington. Melinda's friends asked if we would be taking the "Desert Road" - highway 1. Huh? Desert is about the only environment we don't see in New Zealand, but, yes - we were taking Highway 1. Lo and Behold, a while after leaving Lake Taupo, we found ourselves in what loooked like eastern Oregon - the high desert. Straight road! So straight that it put Melinda to sleep. In this video - you'll see the view out the side window.


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