After arriving in Auckland and spending the first day there, we started our New Zealand road trip in the morning on the next day. I hadn’t surfed since we were in Peru, so I was totally eager to pass by a surfer beach on the way from Auckland to Waitomo, our first official stop. The straight route to Waitomo takes around 2.5h. So a few hours of surfing on the way sounded awesome. We decided to pass by Raglan, a small beachside town, for that. And it would have worked out perfectly fine, had we left Auckland earlier and/or if we hadn’t been totally side tracked by the nature beauty just next to the road. Because of the latter we took lots of little stops at random beautiful spots. All amazing and lots of fun. The only catch was the time by which we finally arrived in Raglan. Around 4.30pm. Much later than we planned! So the long surfing session did not take place anymore, unfortunately. Instead, given we already were off the quickest route to Waitomo anyway, we decided to take the slow but pretty route by the coast just south of Raglan. And this is the picture story :)

Raglan, North Island, New Zealand

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Also Cat Monkey, our pink little travel mascot, enjoyed the beach view a lot :)

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‘Off the beaten track’… south of Raglan, along the coast

Raglan New Zealand Road Trip

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We took so many breaks along the way as there were countless breath taking landscapes. We even spent the entire sunset on this route on the coast, taking in the beautiful change of colours and the even more beautiful scenery. In the end we arrived in Waitomo only in the evening. But it was totally worth it and we still had two full days to explore the Waitomo Glowworm caves :)

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As you know, New Zealand’s nature is one of the most diverse and beautiful in the world. But did you also know that even by simply driving from one amazing place to another, there is so much beauty just next to the road? Driving straight from Waitomo to Whanganui takes around 4 hours and even then you would see lots of beautiful scenery. But it wouldn’t be New Zealand if you couldn’t just slightly divert from the straight route to add even more epic nature to your road trip. When we drove from Waitomo to Whanganui we left around 11 am in the morning (just after check out from the hotel) and took the route to Whanganui via the Whanganui National Park. An incredibly beautiful 6 hour road trip :)

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Meet our new friends, the little sheep.. The below photo reminds me a lot on Scotland :)

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On day 17, 23 August, we left Pagosa Springs to continue the road trip towards Austin, Texas. Before going back on the road east though we took a little detour through the Mesa Verde National Park.

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Around AD 550, long before the Europeans arrived at the American continent, some people living in the Four Corners region decided to move onto the Mesa Verde. These people and their descendants lived and flourished there over the next 700 years.  In the late 1200, over a period of one or two generations, they left the area and moved away.

The Mesa Verde National Park was created at the start of the 20th century to preserve the archeological heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people. The park includes over 4,500 archeological sites of which 600 are cliff dwellings.  The cliff dwellings were built towards the very late stage of their time on Mesa Verde.

 

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We did the Mesa Top Loop Drive that passes by a variety of great viewpoints as well as artefacts of old ‘houses’ of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Whilst the early stages were characterised by essentially ‘holes’ in the ground where whole families lived together, their homes became more and more sophisticated over time.

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The below photos show cliff dwellings that were built towards the end of the period that the Ancestral Pueblo people lived on Mesa Verde.

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The entire Mesa Verde National Park is beautiful, not only the archeological heritage of the people that lived there. The viewpoints present an amazing view over the countryside enabling you to look very very far.

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Am 17. Tag, bevor wir unseren Road Trip fortsetzten, machten wir einen Abstecher zum Mesa Verde National Park. Der Park wurde Anfang des 20. Jahrhundert geschaffen um das archaeologische Erbe der Ancestral Pueblo Menschen zu schuetzen. Das Volk bewohnte circa von 500 bis circa 1200/1300 den Mesa Verde.

Es gibt eine Route im Park, die Mesa Top Loop Route, die wunderbar an verschiedenen archaeologischen Staetten und Aussichtspunkten vorbeifuehrt. Hier kann man genau die Entwicklung der Ancestral Pueblo Menschen erkennen. Dienten anfaenglich ‘Loecher’ im Boden als Unterkuenfte, so entwickelten sich ueber die Jahrhunderte beindruckende Bauten an den Klippen der Berge.

Der Mesa Verde National Park ist richtig schoen – auch in Bezug auf die Natur. Es gibt zahlreiche Aussichtspunkte, von denen man richtig weit sehen kann!