Ash Pit Road camp site, Lake Rerewhakaaitu

Wild camping is a big thing in New Zealand. Essentially, the law states that you can camp pretty much anywhere on public land, unless there is a sign that says you can’t, and provided that you have a self contained unit that meets certain criteria.

On our trip we had just such a thing in the form of Bruce our motorhome, so we opted to have a night getting away from it all, camping on the banks of Lake Rerewhakaaitu (try saying that after a couple of New Zealand IPAs).

Whist we have been to some fantastic camp sites on this little tour, it was great to try out something a bit different. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing (it’s hard work getting level if someone hasn’t been round flattening your pitch in advance) we were set up and ready to enjoy some tea and cake. But first, we had a wild visitor:-

The cheeky little thing just hopped around and sat with us for a bit. But it was soon time for tea and cake and a lovely view.

Before a night of sitting out looking up at the staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrsssss (copyright Brian Cox), it was time for a bit of dinner, the campervan staple of pasta and bolognese. It was easy as (as they say around these parts), as I’d made the bolognese last week and it has been in our freezer travelling around with us ever since. There was time for a few more local brews too, like this Garagista IPA, which had good bitterness, but was lacking in a certain hop character.

You always hope that you have saved the best for last, but that’s not the case when your last is Monteith’s. A fake craft ale, that was in no way double hopped. An interesting malt character, but no hop character really. Nothing like a double hopped IPA.

The Coffee Club, Taupo

A return visit to Taupo. Our fluid plans changed a few times during the course of our trip, and we stopped off back in Taupo today, on our way back from Hastings to Lake Rerewhakaaitu.

We parked up along the lake front (lots of large parking spaces for motorhomes) and had a little wander around before popping in to The Coffee Club for lunch. There are 57 of them throughout New Zealand, so this is very much a chain establishment. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

My lunch was an obvious choice for me, the chicken and bacon club sandwich, with egg, lettuce, tomato, mayo and BBQ sauce, with some tasty chips on the side.

Mrs MOFAD had ham, cheese and pineapple on ciabatta, which was also a tasty sandwich.

The Coffee Club is certainly a handy lunch stop if you find yourself down by the lake in Taupo. A few doors down there is another, much more famous chain, in the form of McDonald’s (you can’t escape them). This one does have one redeeming feature though, a Douglas DC3 aeroplane, which was bought by the mayor in 1985. He was going to use it as an office, but Maccy D’s asked if they could have it instead. It now tops the list of the coolest McDonald’s in the world, if that’s your kind of thing.

Anyway, The Coffee Club is worth a visit.