New Zealand · 21 Days · 27 Moments · January 2017

Gwynne and Pats trip to New Zealand

7 February 2017

Today we came back to Auckland. Tomorrow we are going to hike to a volcano on Rangitoto Island. This island is the youngest, made from a volcano about six hundred years ago. We will be hiking up another hill. Pat really loves those hikes. Lol. Thursday we are off to a surfing beach with Pats cousin and husband.
Monday we went to Waitangi to watch the celebrations. The Maori came in their waka (water craft) canoe to shore and did a haka dance with all ages. They estimate there were 20000 people there watching. We really enjoyed this. Then we took the ferry to Russell the first capital of New Zealand. We hike to a look out and then walked around the town. Very small. After that we went to Kerikeri to see the Stone store( built when the British missionaries came to help and convert the Maori. Another busy day.
Sunday we went Parasailing at Paihai and for a jet boat ride to the hole in the rock. In between we went for a long walk on the beach. Water is warm and beautiful. It was the long weekend here celebrating Waitangi Days. This is the day the treaty was signed with the Maori native people and the British. And this is where the treaty was signed in 1840. Very busy area this weekend.
Saturday we back tracked a little to Opononi to see Bouldees beach. We did a hike along here and the boulders are something to see. We also went to a lookout site with a beautiful view. Then we headed to Kerikeri at the Bay of Islands. Another nice B and B and we made our bookings for parasailing and a speed. Pat ride to the hole in the rock. The days always seem to fill up and go by quickly.

3 February 2017

Friday we moved on our way to the Bay of Islands stopping along the way to see Tane Mahuta one of the most ancient kauri trees in New Zealand. We also stopped to visit the kauri museum in Matakohe. This was very interesting and the size of those trees are unimaginable. We stayed over night in Ahipara. Very nice B and B.

2 February 2017

Today we left Hamilton and headed up the west coast to Matakohe. Very nice little town and an amazing bed and breakfast in the country. It is an avocado orchard We took the Mangawhai Cliffs Walk. It was a 3.5 hour walk high up on the cliffs returning along the beach. So beautiful. Learning to drink a little beer and New Zealand wine at the end of the day😀🍷 Tomorrow we will move up the coast a little further making our way to the Bay of Islands. Pat made a friend with a potter today??? And the gentleman at the bed and breakfast is my new best friend. Lol. All is going well. Stayed on the right side of the road all day today!!

1 February 2017

We did the glow worm caves this morning. Three caves in all. Hard to believe these caves go so deep in the ground and the public can access them. I hadn't really heard of the glow worms prior to planning this trip. They are so amazing. We left there and traveled towards Hamilton our next stop on the way to the Bay of Island at the north of the North Island. Stopped at another tea house on the way which had a beautiful little store as well. Had to do a little shopping. Staying at another bed and breakfast tonite. We really like them and each one has its own identity for sure. Tomorrow we will travel north through Auckland.

31 January 2017

We are at a beautiful bed and breakfast tonight and then to the glow worm caves tomorrow and whatever other adventures we can find.
Today was a day of the unexpected and one you feel so grateful for. We started out the morning with rain and a little shopping then once we were shopped out we decided to head down the road to our next stop Otorohanga. We took a turn to Mt Damper Falls. What a trip this turned out to be. We weren't sure how far the falls were and we have learnt New Zealand is not known for its signage. We drove a long time on twisty roads through a beautiful tunnel and then finally met a farmer who advised falls were only five minutes down the road. They were well worth the trip. Not huge falls but the ferns and foliage around is breathtaking. Then we carried on and saw, just like in the picture books, sheep coming down the road . I was so excited. We carried on from there and it was tea time , as there is no Timmies, LOL and we happened to find a lavender garden tea shop. This was such a beautiful stop. Lavender and flowers everywhere and a river right close. The setting was so amazing.

30 January 2017

Today we drove from Wellington to New Plymouth along surf highway. It rained all day but we made the best of it and stopped at little towns along the way. We stopped at an old light house, some old farm sites, a black beach, a stone arch in the ocean that had crumbled just two years ago and at a surfing beach. It was a full day. We are staying at New Plymouth tonight. It is an amazing little town that we are going to explore tomorrow and I think can be a good little shopping spot. In the afternoon we will move to our next spot to get ready for the glow worm caves. I am really excited about those. Things are going good and the driving has been an adventure for sure.
A stone fence with flowers gone and overgrown by an old farm site. I loved this place.
Old light house
Rock arch which had caved in.
Black beach

29 January 2017

Yesterday we visited the museum in Wellington. What a great place. They have 6 floors and it is filled with New Zealand history of their particular in the wars and of the first settlers. We also did some shopping and booked rooms for the rest of the holiday. Pat is getting to be quite the little booker. It was crazy windy here. Wellington is supposedly the windiest city in the world. I believe it.

28 January 2017

Yesterday we drove to Wellington,south point of north island, and we met a lady I worked with at the county who moved back to New Zealand. We had a great visit. Today we went and watched the Rugby 7 tournament. It was fun and Canada did us proud winning both their games. We spent the while day there as each game only has two 7 minute halves. So it keeps it exciting. I am having troubles loading pictures. This may not be the best program but I will keep trying. Tomorrow we are going to the museum that everyone says is amazing and hopefully get in some shopping. Monday we are starting our drive to the very North of the island. No South Island this trip. They ran out of rental cars but there is plenty to keep us busy here.

27 January 2017

We did not have great Wifi service for the last three days but now in Wellington and we have good service. It is Friday here. Tuesday we drove from Whitianga to Coromandel town wherever we took a ride on the Driving Creek Railway. This was built by one man who was a potter and needed to transport clay on his property for his work. Very amazing. We left there and drove down the coast (so beautiful) and through the central farming area to a Town called Rotorua. What a beautiful drive through the countryside past many farms. Holly windy roads. Wednesday we hiked through the Redwood Forest. So amazing, the wood from one tree would be enough to build 3.5 houses. Pat and his woodworking friends would love to get their hands on one of these trees. In the afternoon we went up the gondola to ride down the luge. We did three runs. Lots of fun. We also saw the famous geothermal geysers all over the town bubbling up everywhere.

26 January 2017

Yesterday we went zip lining through the forest. Amazing trees and ferns. A small group and lots of fun. Pat even went upside down. In the evening we went to a traditional Maori feast where Pat was able to see a haka dance and we also saw some glow worms.

22 January 2017

Today we went to Hot Water Beach where when the tide is out you can dig a little tub and sit in warm water. In some spot the water is too hot to even step in. Later we went kayaking to Cathedrals Cove. Such a beautiful beach and setting. Our first try at kayaking together. This the area where Captain Cook first came. Tomorrow we are heading to Rotoria about the middle of the north Island. Sad to leave this bed and breakfast. An amazing place to stay.
Hot Water Beach
Yesterday was very windy and rainy and all boats were shut down so we went to the Thermal pools and for a massage. Also stopped At the local laundromat. Met a couple from Australia and a native New Zealander.

21 January 2017

We have had a couple busy days for sure. Yesterday Pats cousin Candice toured us. We went to Devonport, a community built on a dormant volcano and was the site where New Zealand defended itself in the wars. Lots of history and a beautiful site. We road the ferry (driven by Candice's husband miles to Rangitoto and Waiheke Island. I got to drive the ferry part way back. Sooo exciting. We went to the Sky Tour 64 floors up and had an amazing view of the harbour and the city. We walked about 22 km throughout Auckland and Devonport. Today we got up and had our first adventure driving. We (and I say we because one has to navigate and the other drive) drove from Auckland to Whitianga, north of Auckland on the South Pacific Ocean. We walked to Shakespear Cliff. This is where Captain Cook the explorer came. What an amazing view. About 14 of hiking today. Lots to do here and will be here until the 23rd.

19 January 2017

Although it rained most of the day we kept busy and had a great day. We did lots of walking around Auckland, picked up the rental car (an adventure driving on the other side of the road) and spent the evening with Pats cousin Candice and her husband Miles. Candice toured us down the shore. She works for the Harbour Master and is an amazing tour guide. Miles drives ferries and gave us a private tour of the harbour tonight. Tomorrow we are off to some adventures with Candice.

18 January 2017

We arrived this morning at 5:30 in Auckland after a very long 14 hour flight from Vancouver. We found our hotel which was in a perfect location, not far from the car rental location, close to the harbour and we were able to do a lot of walking today. All is going great so far. Tomorrow we have our first driving adventure, also going on a hike to a volcano and meeting Pats cousin for supper. Should be a great day.