We always said that the first day of rain would represent the first real test of our van-life. We couldn't have been more correct. Waking up in Onewhero to a flooding campsite - we made the immediate decision to get on the road and visit some museums and cultural sites on the way down to Hamilton. With the rain pouring and a storm on the horizon this was surely the best way to spend the day? Unfortunately, we were greeted by a number of "We are Open" signs, only to find the establishments closed down several years ago.
It hammered it down for a full 24 hours. The only brief respite from the rain came in the form of the Waikato Museum display (the first of three that was open) where we met Te Winika, a 200-year old Maori war canoe (Waka Taua) complete with intricate carvings and albatross feathers. The museum was a good distraction, but after a ridiculous effort to get our laundry done and find a camping spot with a toilet that wasn't miles away from the city centre, spirits were low. Soaked through and exhausted, we bedded down for the night at the local football stadium (still miles away...). Luckily, this can all be fixed with a little red wine and comfort food in your cosy mobile home.
The next day we were greeted by the sunshine and another surprise -our neighbours on the site came over to say that they knew the previous owners of our van. They say it's 2 degrees of separation here in NZ and that seems about right so far!
Following yesterdays antics, we decided to splash out and stay at a holiday park which gave us a chance to properly explore Hamilton in the sun and have HOT SHOWERS. The Waikato river is a beautiful slice of tranquility right in the hustle and bustle of the city centre, and much enjoyed with a tasty local beer in hand.
We were almost tempted to stay another day, however the road was calling and Raglan was next on the list.