Europe, Asia, Australia and Oceania · 17 Days · 50 Moments · November 2017

Vicky and Pip's voyage in New Zealand

19 November 2017

Homeward bound 💕 the second picture is how Vicky would like to be able to sit on the plane!
Climbed our final steep hill - Mount Eden - to catch these beautiful views before our long flight.
Had a cheeky round of glow in the dark mini golf this afternoon - it's much trickier! Congrats to Nicky for beating both of us!

18 November 2017

Went to Muriwai beach to look at thousands of gannets and we're treated to a surf lesson! There is photo evidence of this, but it is in the hands of our hosts.

16 November 2017

We went on some walks around the Waipoua Forest, which houses several of the world's largest kauri trees. Here are the 4 sisters and the second and first largest. My favorite picture, however, is Pip squatting under a massive fern leaf.
Went to the Waipoua Forest Visitors Centre, had our picnic sitting in the middle of the river, and then Vicky SWAM IN THE RIVER! It was pretty 'refreshing' and Pip only went in half way (less stuff to have to dry).

14 November 2017

Cooking the most delicious homemade burgers ever at our little cabin in the bush. We only have WiFi because we have driven 40 minutes to the nearest town, so don't expect many updates for a few days.
View over Hokianga Harbour and a waterfall beside Labyrinth Woodworks. We also did a maze where we had to find 15 letters and unscramble them to make a 5-10 phrase. Can you work it out: MEERVEHICEAWGYR?
Ugh this place is so beautiful!

13 November 2017

We went on a driving tour around the east coast today, stopping off at the Kerikeri inlet, Rainbow Falls, Matauri Bay, Mahinepua Bay and Tauranga Bay. Our favorites were Rainbow Falls - a 27 metre waterfall - and Matauri Bay where we climbed a really steep hill to see the memorial for the Rainbow Warrior boat. Poopy weather but everything was still gorgeous!

12 November 2017

Lazier day wandering down Kerikeri river looking for fairy pools. Still not sure if we succeeded, but lovely walk nonetheless!

11 November 2017

The glow worms in Waipu Caves! Bit of a hairy road, but well worth it. Photo does not do it justice. A galaxy of glowing worm bottoms above our heads. Magical.

10 November 2017

Next stop was described in the guide book as "California but better because it has a volcano"... I paraphrased that, but that was the general idea. Mount Maunganui has a lovely golden beach, a looming mountain/volcano and some decent shops. Vicky bought a new hat and is now refusing to take it off.
Took the scenic route from Rotorua to Auckland and made some stops on the way. This was Tutea Falls and Okere Falls, it was real pretty.
And finally, our evening came to a romantic close as we sat on geothermally warmed rocks, drank hot chocolate and watched the largest geyser in the southern hemisphere erupt in the darkness. We had an absolutely amazing day and would thoroughly recommend Te Puia to anyone who shows even the faintest interest.
Waiting for Pohutu geyser sitting on hot rocks and sipping some hot chocs!
On to our evening experience! We had a tour around since of the site from a rather camp Maori guy called Cruz. Then we were passed on to our evening hosts, who showed us our hangi feast being cooked before taking us to a cultural performance. No, your eyes don't deceive you, that is young Pippy on stage, having been selected to try her hand at Poi. Don't worry, I have the full video! The feast was absolutely incredible, a buffet of traditionally cooked meats, seafood and salad with an amazing selection of desserts. Muv, if you weren't convinced already, there was panna cotta!
Te Puia ("the hot pools") is actually where the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute is situated, taking people of Maori descent into their carving and weaving schools. All of the tourist schtick is just to fund scholarships for the students and 90% of the staff are from the Maori tribe that lives right next to the park. Here are some of the carving students at work, a woven bouquet and Pip inside a traditional Maori hut.
The first of a few posts about Te Puia - Muv, Popsy, this place is an absolute must see. I have somehow managed to condense so many beautiful pictures into these few and they really don't do the place justice. We spent the first 4.5 hours of our 9.5 hour stay here wandering around the extensive geothermal park, marveling at hot pool upon mud pool upon geyser. Gorgeous views, delicious smells of eggy fart and lots of informative plaques dotted around made time go quickly.

8 November 2017

Before we went to Te Puia , we decided to check out a free thermal track at Wai O Tapu... Our guide book was out of date so we only got to check out the mud pools for free. We went up high to get a picture of what we could have seen, used their facilities and went on our merry way.
Selfie central for this batch, chronicling our chair lift rides and some strolls around the mountain paths once we'd finished luging. Luckily they had opened the scenic track by the time we'd finished at Rainbow Springs, so although we missed out on the intermediate and advanced tracks, we got really good at the scenic one because we ran it 4 times! Pip was super speedy and Vicky managed to go on two wheels going round a fast corner. So much fun!
We got up early today to make it to our luge appointment at 9am, only to be told that they weren't running due to the rain. No problem, we were also booked in next door at Rainbow Springs, which is a wildlife park. It was smaller than we expected but we did get two goes in a row on the water ride because it was so empty! There were trout galore in every fish pool, which made us hungry after that delicious trout we had at Pip's granny's house. The highlight was the bird show - Vicky made us go right to the back so that the birds didn't come near us, but the first bird flew out from a cage right by our heads!

8 November 2017

Dinner was a recommendation from Vicky's friend Joey - Pizzeria Imperfetto. Authentic Italian pizza, nom nom nom!
Earnt our dinner by trotting around Government Gardens, checking out the geothermal activity along the way.
Skyline Luge! (No actual action shots...going too fast!) Pics of the wonderful views to follow

7 November 2017

Once we settled into our hostel, we went for a stroll around Rotorua. The smell isn't as bad as everyone makes out - certainly not as bad as when Sisty's been on the wine! Found a nice park with some geothermal activity - the hot pool was too hot for our little sunburnt feet!
A beautifully clear river, a forest of tall redwoods and a bubbling spring that founded the river - Hamurana Springs, just outside of Rotorua, was our lunch spot.
A quick stop at Owharoa Falls to swap drivers
Road trip! Pip drove the first half and Vicky drove the second. It was a bit strange driving an automatic, particularly when the hand brake is actually a pedal where the clutch should be! We only pressed it once or twice...

6 November 2017

Had a beer with old twinny herself, Tina!
Popped by a big kauri tree on the way to pick up our new motor
A quick jaunt to Bethells beach
Bethells beach sand dune surfing. So much fun, worth the thigh burn climbing up those dunes!

5 November 2017

Karekare falls
Karekare black sand beach
Kitekite (kitty kitty) waterfall and the tramp to and from
Stopped the car to check out the view of Piha bay
Beautiful view from Nicky's garden
A casual paddle before breakfast

4 November 2017

Made it to Auckland! Waiting for baggage🤞
Here we go again...
One long and uncomfortable flight down, one to go! Had a little wander around the airport and now attempting to get some sleep.
What a pretty airport China has!

2 November 2017

Ate our mains too quickly to document them, but here's our tasty dessert. After this we'll have a trot around the shops and head to our gate at 9.30.
Fastest security check in ever! Pip did have her shoes checked for bombs, though. On to the pub for some nourishment...
Waiting at the check-in desk
Pip's ingenious method for stopping the suitcases rolling away every time the train started moving again!
Sitting on the train
Here we go! Bags packed, on the way to the train station! Thanks for seeing us off, Sally!