New Zealand · 28 Days · 146 Moments · March 2016

Belinda Donnelly

Belinda's adventure in New Zealand

30 March 2016

Simple to get around in Auckland airport took little time to board plane left 9:45 first to have first class business and economy nice big seats. Since I didn't eat breakfast on the flight from Christchurch to Auckland I was starving so instead of breakfast I had lunch ate the whole meal felt human again. 3 1/2 hr flight to nadi Fiji, arrived 11:30 30 degrees out enough to knock your socks off and humid.
Taking off from gate 2 sky sunny 3 hr flight to Fiji
Auckland airport
Auckland airport
Woke up to 3 alarms going off a bit of overkill by dad at 4:45 7 degrees cool dark drove to the airport gps gave the right directions parked the car walked to the terminal checking in was simple great luggage goes direct to Fiji. Arrived in Auckland at 7:00 am sun coming up. Served white choc muffin/ white choc hokey pokey cookie dad ate both I had coffee. Got off the plane through the rear dr walked on the Tarmac following the green line to the international terminal. Waiting to see our departure gate come up on the departure screen.
Arriving Auckland sunrise our last day in nz

29 March 2016

Our last day in nz the coldest day 7 degrees. Had scrambled eggs toast coffee oj. Went to the Westfield riccarton mall shopping centre on riccarton st biggest shopping area in Christchurch 145 stores on 2 levels looked around tried on a few dresses. Then went to df souvenirs on cashel st in the container mall bought some gifts. Packed getting ready to leave. Few more observations of nz guys working wear rain boots. In the South Island it's dry a lot of field irrigation. Not as many vineyards. Property to buy is expensive. Most homes are bungalows with no basements. Some have garages on the first flr with the house on the second. Small casement windows some have windows in the patio doors. Most houses are small seen some big farm houses. Not as many people in the south one can drive for miles without seeing anyone.

28 March 2016

Arrived at 4:00 in Christchurch checked into hotel rm no. 12. Compact huge bathtub jacuzzi kitchenette washer dryer. Had left overs from yesterday for lunch. Went downtown to look around at cathedral square a lot if construction going on since the earthquake. Walked around container shopping mall so cool they took containers and made them into a shopping area with food court bank kiosks for art jewellery clothing. Drove down ferry road to check out the ocean side homes and views. They use containers also as barricades for falling rocks. Stopped at grocery for veggies juice milk beer and found coconut ice fudge. Dad made steak rice tomatoes peppers for supper delicious. Catching up with news watching tv.
Container shopping mall Christchurch
Hotel Christchurch
1:55 passed the longest bridge on our trip near the town of rakakia and then over another bridge over the railway tracks. Passed maize fields big plants for processing crops. 17 now cloudy. Passing small towns.
1200 noon passed cornfields wheat fields dairy plants grain storage plants farm irrigators fields being irrigated. Sheep cattle even a kangaroo farm. A lot more traffic on highway 1.
10:45 while driving saw the puketapu memorial cairn named after sir John Mckenzie who worked as a shepherd in otago 1861. Each yr in October athletes compete in the annual Kelly's canter from the railway station to the summit. 333 m to the top fastest runners can make the run in 25 mins, named after Bert Kelly a policeman who ran up 3 times a wk during ww 2 to look for enemy ships. 1055 passed shags point ocean on the right calm.
8 degrees turned heat on quite damp. Checked out on the road 10:00 sunny blue sky roads wet. This is our last road trip in nz driving to Christchurch about 4 1/2 hr drive or more so will have to take in as much as we can. Last night we went to see batman v superman all action in the Rialto theatre. They charge 1:00 for 3d glasses and you cannot get extra butter on popcorn. While walking back stopped at Great Wall takeaway and got 1/2 chicken rice veggies for dad. I got cashew chicken. They give you so much food we have leftovers and the food is steaming hot. 10:10 saw a glimpse of the ocean not a ripple just like mirror. Dunedin very quiet hardly any backpackers very quaint small pubs restaurants. All the roads join into an octagon in the middle of the city. Passed a cheese factory,

27 March 2016

Yesterday we walked up Baldwin street supposed to be the worlds steepest street. Our hotel is the oldest hotel in the city. Saw the Cadbury factory from the outside as they only allow 15 mins to look at the factory.
8 degrees when we woke up dad turned the electric heat on as it was damp. Had breakfast went to see the or ago museum all about the history of Dunedin people culture transport art fashion. Then walked to the train station built in 1900s material brought from England architecture in the bldg amazing walked through an art gallery. Found a cool movie theatre used to be theatre now being used to see movies. We are going there for 5:30 to see batman v superman yeah get to eat popcorn. We were going to buy Easter treats but our hotel was giving out treats. Having lunch reading up on news. 18 now raining.
Dad tried on jacket & top hat I tried on a hoop pics of railway station & movie theatre

26 March 2016

Arrived in Dunedin 1:30 stopped at the wrong hotel found the right one connected to the casino. Had lunch and went down to see the Chinese gardens built 8 yrs ago. It was prefabricated and assembled in Shanghai and then dismantled and transported to Dunedin and reconstructed using artisans and supervisors from Shanghai. It's so tranquil you can view it from a different angle and see another part. We sat outside the tea house and enjoyed a pot of lychee tea. Then we walked around downtown being Easter Saturday most stores closed. Decided to have Chinese food I had combination fried rice dad had combination chow mein. Food was nice and tasty and hot. Watching tv reading up on mail.
Chinese garden Dunedin
1200 noon GPS taken us on smiths track back gravel road sun trying to shine through clouds.
GPS took us on a scenic route for 20 mins through the back roads nice farmyards seen Ipacas grazing driving to gore sheep in between railway lines and road.
1051 dad using cruise control for the first time road looks straight. Passed huge field irrigators. Farmers mark their fields & land with trees or bales. Seen lots of deer farming high fences.
15 mins into driving turns 13 sunny out. Cars pulling boats imagine spending Easter boating! Sun on my side had to put sunglasses & hat on. 1041 turned cloudy again.
8 degrees supposed to go to 17 checked out driving 9:45 cloudy hasn't rained. Sheep sheep and more sheep. Observations most folk simply dressed all have quite an accent hard to understand sometimes. Most are nice and friendly. Lots of young people back packing everywhere. they have great bike trails everywhere. Roads in good shape. Lots of rest stops on the way some with amazing views. There is Macdonalds KFC subway Burger King dominos pizza and everywhere you go fish & chips. You can drink out of the lakes & stream as the water is so pure. More sheep than people in the South Island. Young guys with long dreadlocks one gal in pancake rocks with hot pink hair cool. Most roads have turn arounds like Europe some stop signs. Lots of Asians here in nz. Shopping carts are called trundles! South Island have long grass looks like spears. Tried to find seasoning salt for our steaks couldn't until yesterday they call it barbecue spice. They use honey for everything honey in soaps creams lotions

25 March 2016

Had lunch then decided to go on a cruise on a luxury catamaran. On arrival we viewed displays got a guided tour of the forest canopy and info on the unique flora. The caves are and still being carved by the force of the river that flows through them. The limestone passages are filled with sculpted rock whirlpools and a roaring underwater waterfall. The water is so clean you can drink it. When going into the caves you have to bend as the rock entrance is low. Once inside you follow dim lit pathways with railings so you can walk. It's wet with water dripping from the caverns. Deep inside the cave away from the noise we were taken by boat into a hidden grotto where you see hundreds of glow worms they glow in the dark. You are not allowed to take pictures and make noise so no talking. It was so cool. We got back after 2 1/2 hrs around 7 pm and went to get fish and chips. Busy take away or eat place we waited 45 mins to get our order. Dad went to get a cone.
Cruise on lake Te anua to see glow worms
Arrived Te Anau 1238 still cloudy. We are downtown staying for one night. Driving here roads were not as windy easy drive. Driving in grocery store open even though on the net said it was closed. Will check in and then go discovering.
1210 23 km from Te Anau landscape looks like tufts of sea grass yellow brown on colour growing all over the hills. Now 12 degrees cloudy,
Instead of wheat fields there are sheep fields first you think there are rocks on the field look closer they are sheep. Something growing in the fields green. Bales of hay in a line marking the fields. Driving windy roads traffic going the other way, huge field irrigation. Some places cloudy land now flat 11:47 am. Left hotel at 10:00,
Upto 11 degrees stopped for gas and groceries being Good Friday a lot of stores closed. Lake walkatipu huge. Leaving seen cattle sheep and deer in pastures.
7 degrees yikes sun out some clouds had breakfast getting ready to checkout now 4. Boats are out. Heading to Te Anau 3 hr drive.
Last view of the lake from our amazing suite at heritage in Queenstown

24 March 2016

Got to the hotel 7:00 pm happy hr on dad got a lager I got a cocktail with vodka amaretto it was so refreshing. Went and enjoyed sitting in the hottub sauna dad swam pool was cool. Made burgers potatoes broccoli and had a beer for supper. Watching news relaxing.
11 degrees at. 9:00 mechanic came to check dishwasher couldn't fix it dad banged on it started to work. Had a lovely breakfast sausage potatoes oj eggs toast even had 2 cups of coffee so good no rushing today. Planned to go on a cruise so texted read ft Jordan Vanessa. When we decided to leave started to get windy cloudy lake white caps on surface left as we started to walk down hill to downtown. I hurt my knee 2 days ago so it was slow walking. By the time we found the right departure gate boat had left. So soaked we went exploring downtown tourists everywhere. Streets go up hill and down parking difficult to find. Roads all join at one intersection then the names are different so it's hard getting ones bearing. Walked to the gardens on a peninsula where you can play frisbee golf or tennis. Stopped at KFC and shared lunch. Juggler performing at the town centre. Lots to see shop eat downtown. Walking home sun came out walked up the steep hill.
Pool hottub downtown Queenstown gardens boats harbour
Harbour queenstown

23 March 2016

Arrived in queens town around 4:30 found hertz got the GPS checked out had to be reset. Found the heritage hotel checked in. Parking underground took elevator up opened the dr to our suite 1200 sq ft amazing living rm dining table 6 chairs complete kitchen big fridge cook top 2 burner dishwasher garburator specialty coffee machine milk frother dishes cutlery. Smaller bedroom with 2 beds. Bathroom with towel heater sink shower and bathtub potty. Master bedrm king size bed. Master bedroom and kitchen & living rm open up to balconies overlooking the lake. The view is to die for. Settled in went and got groceries had sausages potatoes beans beer for supper. Watched a movie dad went to sit in the hot tub.
Queenstown amazing suite
2:15 passing orchards vineyards on both sides of the highway still raining
2:09 pm landscape changing before lake hawea more low bushes hardly any trees land looks dry. Next to luggate town using irrigation for the land. Shrubs turning colour. Looking for a rest spot to have lunch still raining.
1:34 cloudy still raining passed huge lakes no boats on them 15 now passed beautiful scenic reserves.
Queens town out amazing suite
Route 6 on the way to queens town fog in the mountains trees so big like a canopy over the highway
We seem to have picked a good day yesterday to see franz Josef glacier as today while we are driving in the rain mountains foggy all the way down the hills sky dark 16 degrees. Nz is a land of creeks bridges streams everywhere lush and green trees so tall ferns palm like trees growing everywhere. There is a name for every creek bridge river stream and road. Waterfalls cascading down the mountains.
1209 noon 17 degrees raining for the past hr filled up with gas payed 2.00 a litre back to windy roads.
11 degrees very damp had breakfast checked out on the road by 10:00 am. Back to driving on windy curvy roads crossing over streams creeks bridges some so narrow only meant for one car at a time. 18 now passed fox glacier road straight.

22 March 2016

At franz Josef there are a lot of guided walks helihikes air safaris kayaking glacier hot pools skydiving Eco rafting quad biking. Depending on how much you want to spend and the weather you can spend a lot of time and money here. Lots of motels hotels hostels for backpackers and eating places.
Had lunch went to check out the downtown lots of tourist buses camper vans looked at tourist gift shops read more info about franz Josef glacier and the town
Another funky van rowi kiwi rarest kiwi in the wirld
Continuing just finished viewing the glacier started to rain by the time we walked back to the car it stopped. Saw more camper vans one is called juicy sending more pics
17 degrees not raining had breakfast got ready to go upto franz Josef glacier. We drove 10 mins had to slow down one way bridges and one way roads went over rumble strips at least 4 or 5 times. A lot of tourist parked parking lot full parked. Started at 1127 walked for 2 hrs. Beautiful view of the glacier from a lot of lookout spots. Dad went further than me and got nice pics of the glacier. In one pic there is a rock big as a car jammed in a waterfall. We had to cross a stream and quite large strides to get over so I didn't want to get my supports wet. Came back to have lunch will go and check out the town.
Pics of vans for rent and our motel punga grove
Franz Josef glacier

21 March 2016

Arrived at franz Josef a 2:49 pm still raining will stay indoors for now as there's a lot of fog in the hills and may not be able to see much today.
2:34 next to okarito saw a deer farm. Crossed a bridge had by cars semis and trains the first one we've seen. Raining since we left on and off can't stop off lunch, passed a huge lake mapourika. Seen white bales of hay. Sheep cattle horses small farms.
Driving on no 6 what a view of the coastline imagine having your farm right next to the ocean. Lots of rock formations rising out of the ocean. Back to windy roads again. Got bitten by black sand flies yesterday itchy used a cortisone cream. Sprayed myself with big spray. 21 degrees at 1136
11:03 leaving punakaki 17 degrees may go to 23 today heading to frank Josef glacier about 4 hrs or more. Dad made awesome scrambled eggs with cheese juicy plums. Ft Jordan caught up on the news. Did my exercises with a view of the ocean!!! Checked out 1019 went to see the pancake rocks not much wind so no water coming out of the blow holes
2nd day at pancake rocks not much wind

20 March 2016

Continuing 5:30-6:30 is happy hr so it cost us $15.00 at first they wanted to charge 15.00 for a cocktail so decided to just have a rum and coke. So great sitting down and having a drink watching the ocean with my Davey.
Got to punakaki at 4:00 checked in the view is breath taking you should see the coast waves crashing surf high from our room you can see the ocean and hear the waves breaking. Dad said he is going to open the patio doors and hear the ocean. Had lunch read a bit and went to see the pancake rocks. It was amazing to see this in person after all the reading we did. Breath taking how nature can sculpt something so amazing. You can hear the waves crashing like pounding. The walkway is set up so well that at one spot you can see the formation up and close. A lot of lookout spots to see and hear the waves. It's best to see blow holes at high tide so we were at low tide and got to see the rocks. We are going back tomorrow at high tide to seen the water spout out of the blow holes. The ocean is calm but huge waves crashing. Hardly any wind. Walked down to the beach sand is grey black went looking for shells found a few. Stopped at the lounge dad had a craft beer and I had rum & coke.
Pancake rocks and our hotel
Pankakia resort pancake rocks
At 1238 passed newton bridge some cattle sunny out upto 21 degrees now passing over a lot of creeks and bridges. Dad says it's like they cut a path through the trees bush on both sides. Seen those vans again called juicy camper vans for rent. Back to unwinds roads temperature going down to 19 traffic low.
Sheep sheep everywhere you look there is sheep grazing. Dad was like Tom Cruz passing a milk piggy back semi on the hills first time seen a passing lane going up a hill. Passed a lot of national parks, creeks, bridges and small towns. Raining a bit temperature going up and down 18 to 17 cloudy and blue skies peeking through.
GPS acting up filled up on gas 1.86 a litre passing vineyards apple orchards now 22 degrees dad says look at the vineyard omg. On no 6 south looks like it rained earlier. Saturday night could hear loud music people racing their cars from our room
19 degrees cloudy forecast says showers had breakfast checked out of hotel stopped at countdown grocery store no grocery or gas stations at punakaki.

19 March 2016

Also saw fairies made out of wool so whimsical, drank apple/gooseberry freshly squeezed juice. Planes, trains, motorcycles all miniatures made out of pop cans. Gf desserts, bread, East Indian food, candles, soaps, lots of fresh produce, herbs, fruit trees, perennial plants. Walked to the Anglican Christ church cathedral. Beautiful stained glass work windows. Walked around queens gardens. Has beautiful flowers half horse shoe pound with ducks swimming in it, a water wheel. Walked to the centre of nz park it's the centre of nz at the top of the park. While walking around met a guy with a metal detector who found coins one dating back to 1800 something. Found a small fish and chips place called fish stop reasonable prices. After reading for a bit we drove back and ordered fish & chips & crab sticks the food was so yummy.
Christ church cathedral queens garden
Got up had breakfast went to the farmers market so much to see and taste even gluten free yeah. Bought red lettuce 2 corn on the cob plums pears peanut butter slugs peanut butter in pouches great for travelling Paleo coconut mix so I can eat for breakfast looked at art jewellery wood carving wool hats scarves mittens a perennial plant amazing colours looks like a big bulb baking breads even gf all kinds of foods chocolate tasted dark chocolate got so hot took our jackets off of course talked to a lot of people
Farmers market

18 March 2016

We were so tired from being up at 6:00 am so after reading had a nap. Went looking for the grocery store and of course couldn't find it so settled with another. Couldn't decide what to eat for supper so had Macdonalds.
Room 713 nice view of the hills the town and the ocean.
View from our rm
4:11 pm arrived at Rutherford hotel much easier to find raining still.
Temperature dropped to 16 driving through the high hills foggy .
Sun trying to come out took 15 mins to get off the ferry 1/2 hr to get luggage and pick up rental car the same Toyota hatchback silver in colour. Stopped for lunch at rest stop. 3:09 raining. Cattle going home walking one behind the other. Road so windy lots of villages in coves sheltered harbours. Crossed a lot of bridges over streams and rivers. Flag person not communicating so we were the only car going into ongoing traffic thank goodness dad was watching.
Arrived in picton 1230 noon nice ride not choppy read a lot dad had a nap
On board the ferry
Left the dock at 9:10 ferry turns around heads out checked out the decks 10 in all went to the top to see the view of Wellington. Not too windy a bit of a breeze not too much wake. Came indoors sitting in a lounge one has to be careful how you walk like having a flr moving.
View of Wellington harbour on route to South Island
2 pics boarding the ferry
We are at the interisland terminal dad says fairly easy to return rental car parked car on secure parking drop keys off in box in terminal after driving around looking to see where to drop off car funny. Checked in luggage where they print off boarding passes and give you tags for the luggage. A lot of people here to board the ferry.
Got up at 6:00 had breakfast ready to checkout to go to the South Island drop off car and be there an hr early. Ferry ride 3 hrs long dad says fairly interesting trip ferry is large.

17 March 2016

11degrees now did our exercises scrambled eggs with ham toast bananas coffee checking emails cloudy day. Going to check out botanical gardens ride up a cable car and go to mount Victoria it's a great viewing site we are going to walk everywhere. We left at 10:00 walked down and found the entrance to the cable car costs 7.50 each to go up and come back down you can also walk this route. It has 19 different paths it has a herb, rose, begonias, fragrant, succulent, hydrangeas and water lilies, orchids, waterfall. Everything here is like jolly green giant size. The roses so beautiful. Walking there it was cool but looking around I got hot. A lot of info on how the cable car was made. Great lookouts stunning views over Wellington. Built on 1898 dad said it was amazing how it was built. Didn't have time to see the observatory. On the way back stopped at Macdonalds got pineapple slushies and fries it's a good thing we did as we got lost eventually got our bearings.
Cable car and Wellington botanic gardens

16 March 2016

Back from the museum went grocery shopping it's 7:43 so we will have pork chops potatoes carrots wine and citrus fudge for dessert yummy. Very cool out its 13 feels like 10 degrees. Dad cooking supper. Short walk to all the tourist spots. Grocery store new world a 10 min walk. It's getting dark out now.
More pics of Te papa museum our new digs at distinction hotel
We are at the Te Papa museum 6 flrs of exhibits all about arts social history Maori pacific peoples impact on land natural environment Gallipoli the scale of war never heard of this war so much to see only seen the 1st flr.
Te Papa museum
Went down to 9 up in the hills then 11 now at 14. Driving through upper & Lower Hutt looks like a city. Hutt river dry birds on the river. Train tracks off the main Hutt rd.
Martinborough has a huge square in the middle of the town, only vineyards every where small wine producers they grow different kinds of grapes this generates different tasting wine depending on the weather. Cloudy 16 degrees had breakfast checked out on the road at 10:15 raining wearing capris and long sleeves heat on in the car. We are driving one hr to Wellington. Climbing through the hills foggy up here slow driving 40/50 km windy roads some corners slow to 15 km.

15 March 2016

So we went looking for wineries for wine tasting closed on all the ones we saw at last found one open yeah! So we tasted 5 different kinds and they were so good. Landed up buying a Pinot Shiraz a lovely red colour and tastes so good. We then went and bought lamb chops potatoes salad to go with the wine and dad barbecued same super was amazing.
Wine and winery
Checked into the Claremont apt nice and roomy bathrm in left strange when one showers it will get the whole flr wet hmm!!! On left side kitchen with microwave fridge stove top with dishes utensils. Dining table 4 chairs on right even has a bed you can watch tv plus a couch in the living rm. access to small patio through the living rm. bedroom upstairs has 2 sky lights.
Claremont apt martinborough
Arrived at the apt at 2:10 pm we are out in the countryside. Still nice and warm out yeah!!!
27 now getting warm. Just like driving through Qappelle valley wineries everywhere. Sheep all over the hills. Stopped for lunch at a rest spot. Sky blue few clouds.
1200 noon raining just went through dannervirke. Had a Viking figure greeting us on the way in and when we exited, stopped for gas. Seen horses, Shetland ponies. Construction on highway 2. Sunny now. Cattle sheep everywhere on the hills.
Continuing about one lane crossing on a bridge signs indicate who goes first. Boarding kennels and Cattery hmm that must mean cats funny!!! Lots of corn grown for cattle. Flat land driving today so far. Gas is called petrol and expensive all the way from 1.60-1.80 a litre.
21 degrees sunny skies lots of cattle on the hills back to windy roads. Dad driving like a kiwi even has signalling down to a science. Observations in nz takeout is take away, yield is give way, icy roads are frosty, steaks are porterhouse, casserole, schnitzel so we didn't know what to buy. Chicken is expensive. Railway tracks everywhere haven't seen a train yet. Lots of sheep on the hills. Road signs indicating speed of 100 and we can barely drive 35 in some places. We drive through towns at 100 no slowing down. The same goes for school zones unless the lights come on indicating speed. You can buy beer and wine in grocery stores. Not as much road kill as we are driving. In the country side bales are wrapped in pink, beige, green, blue wrapping looks so pretty. Everything so green, flowers like giant flowers. In the town centres they have basket of flowers hanging everywhere so picturesque. Crossed so many bridges and streams. When crossing some bridges it's only one lane.
Scrambled eggs toast hot cross bun grapes coffee for breakfast at Bella Tuscany motel rm 1 very 70s decorated butterflies on the coffee cups and on the headboard. Left at 1015 for martinborough. Napier has orchards, vineyards very artsy seaside town.

14 March 2016

Walked around Napier it's known for being the arts deco capital. Very artsy and quaint right along the ocean. Saw vintage cars you can tour the downtown in them for a fee. Drove along the shore the sand is black. Checked into our motel Bella Tuscany it's like something from the 70s.
Couldn't check in till another hr stopped at a park ate lunch dad had so much fun feeding the ducks, geese & seagulls choc hot cross buns
Dad feeding the birds at the park in Napier
Dad feeding the birds vintage cars
Countryside dry not as green arrived in Napier at 1230
Left Taupo at 10:30 foggy rainy roads reasonably straight not much traffic. Driving up and down hilly roads. It's the coolest day 13/14 degrees. We even have the heat on in the car.

13 March 2016

Another beautiful morning ate breakfast late ft Candace. Relaxing day checked out the resort 2 hot tubs nz people call them spa pools. 2 big pools now warmer than the other fed by geothermal water. We swam sat in the sun read my new book yeah at last got a bit browner dad got red. Came back had lunch checking out our drive for tomorrow.
Spa pools 2 big

12 March 2016

Went out and got fish & chips and corn fritter yummy ate at the hotel. Picked up some groceries. Driving to taupo was a very easy drive not too much traffic nice straight roads.
Stopped at a honey stop and tasted different kinds of honey, wine made with honey. Dad had a cone made with honey. I had fudge & nougat made with honey. When we were driving into Taupo we drove right past our hotel. GPS couldn't figure out the name so we stopped at an info site and as usual drove past it again. At last found it. Checked in and ft and talked with Ray, Aliyah & Jaden, Jordan & coralee. Connections not so good.
It's a beautiful Saturday morning had breakfast and checked out of the hotel. Went to the Polynesian Spa for 3 hrs where we soaked in 7 different hot thermal mineral pools overlooking a lake. The water is therapeutic. Apparently one of the pools rejuvenates skin and has anti aging minerals so I must be looking at least 45 now. We then drove about an hr to Taupo. Stopped for lunch at a nice rest stop. Went to the Huka falls quite a sight beautiful coral green waters and water crashing over the falls.
Papa & mama bee
Huka falls

11 March 2016

Do did you see dad's tongue sticking out just like a Maori warrior funny!!!
We tried their corn on the cob delicious. Lots of lookout points to see the geysers spouting. Pohutu is the most famous and largest of nz geysers and can spout 10-40 metres. The prince if William feathers geyser is the most active. Went and had lunch at the hotel went to see if we could get a SIM card no luck ph locked. Checked out the Polynesian spa will go there tomorrow. Walked around the government gardens saw the gardens huge for the size of the city. Saw the museum, blue baths another place to soak. Dad picked up KFC and had supper at the hotel.
Didn't get up early had breakfast. As we don't have a kitchenette dad made soft boiled eggs with the kettle ingenious. We decided to go to the Whakarewarea the living Maoiri village. We watched the cultural performance where they did the Haka ferocious war dance, Poi dancing, waita a ringa action song where they move their fingers all the time and used long and short sticks and balls on a string so cool and took the guided tour. As we enter there is a bridge where children dive if you throw coins in. There were many hot springs and the local residents of the village are descendants of the Maori. They cook food by trapping heat from the ground in a steam box. They have communal baths for the community and the water is very hot. They have a mud pool and is used for arthritis, rheumatism and gives skin a younger appearance. We were too late to try their hangi a feast made in the steam box. There were walking tracks so we took the short one as we were hungry.
At the Maori village

10 March 2016

At the market we bought coconut ice a sweet, salted caramel fudge made it with lots of butter yummy and licorice ate some when we got back dad said the licorice is great.
Staying at Copthorne hotel rm 114 no kitchenette not as nice as our last apt. As we don't have wireless in our room we have to sit in the lobby so we thought we would do this later and when we arrived back from the market the whole lobby was filled with Asian folk so it's a bit noisy.
After checking out info brochures we drove down to the outdoor market lots of people vendors selling different foods, music, jewellery, clothing. We had fresh rolls, paella and pork kebabs. Dad had an ice cream cone. Walked through eating street lots of craft draft beer and different restaurants. Stopped at Pac & save picked up groceries.
Outdoor market
Left whitianga and arrived rotorua around 2:30 gps gave correct directions until we arrived. Nice drive about 2.5 hrs through beautiful countryside and of course windy roads up and down hills. Staying at copthorne hotel. No kitchenette so will improvise. Dad napping tired after driving. Blue sky 21 degrees.

9 March 2016

Continuing our notes drove back by 7 pm stopped at the grocery store bought potatoes green beans lemon popcorn granola bars. Had gf fish for supper the fish cooking in the oven got the smoke alarm going so there we were trying to stop the alarm so loud went off 3 times every time we opened the oven. Supper great now trying to watch tv and relax.
Dad said this was the best breakfast we've had with fresh local peaches fried eggs local ham steak toast coffee for me. Went for a walk we are right next to the marina. A ferry goes across to the peninsula. I picked shells walked by local shops. Stopped at the local museum all about captain cook who used mercury to calculate latitude of his location and called mercury bay. Then came back and had lunch. Went to hot water beach where when the tide goes out people dig into the sand and one can sit in a hot pool. People every where you only. Get 2 or 3 hrs before the tide comes back in. So fun dad digging a hole for us to sit in at last we became like the test of the crowd sitting in a pool of hot water. One area was so hot you couldn't walk in it. We then went to haihei beach a wide beach. Then went to cathedral cove where we walked for 1 1/2 hrs to and back down the beach saw this huge cove a lot of people going up and down to se this cave.
Having breakfast on the deck

8 March 2016

Tuesday March 8 left at 9 am for whitianga. Unbelievably the gps worked we didn't get lost. Perfect roads traffic only backed up when semi trucks couldn't make it up the hill and there was a lot of construction. Beautiful scenery a lot of cattle ranches. Stopped for lunch at mcdonalds. It was sob slide over baby as dad would say as we went around a lot of hairpin turns some very tight ones. Made it through Auckland even though there was a lot of traffic didn't get lost. It was 27 degrees. Country side flat after we left Auckland. Got to Marina Park apts amazing has everything. Walk in nice sectional tv flat screen table to dine at, full kitchen stove fridge oven range dishwasher even garburator dishes toaster salt pepper. Washer dryer even has a towel bar heater to warm towels. Nice bedroom. Dad sat in the hot tub long drive. Went shopping got lamb romaine lettuce peaches tomatoes red pepper milk eggs buns even found gf fish. Made lamb burgers with broccoli for supper yummy.

7 March 2016

Went to see the Hararu falls by car 6 mins away fro Paihai. Small falls muddy. Saw a beautiful golf course next to the ocean. Took the ferry to Russell 15 min ferry ride. Walked around a beautiful beach community. Dad says it's quaint a lot of yachts saw a huge catamaran called the bucket list. Jordan here's your boat a beauty. Candace saw the flower you like so sending pictures. Found a nice spot to watch the ocean. I picked shells on the beach. Lots of seagulls. Picked up Chinese food for supper.
As we don't have a kitchenette we improvised we made soft boil eggs in the coffee press by boiling water in the kettle and adding the hot water to the eggs worked well. So no toaster so had plain bread dad had cereal and fruit. Went to the library as they have free internet texted Candace. Walked around as cruise ship in so they have a craft market on. Saw local crafts and met nice nz folk. Stopped at the $ store where they charge 3.00 for disposal bowls. Picked up grapes, cut up salad, mustard for lunch. Of course dad visited with anybody who would talk to him yak yak!

6 March 2016

Walked around downtown Paihia we are right across the ocean close to the wharf lots of boats & ferries a lot of tourists. Since we don't have a kitchenette went looking for fish & chips found a place with take away not take out this is what they say in nz. Got 2 pcs of fish 2 sausages and lots of chips for 18.00 a lot to eat. Watched tv & the news caught up on emails and journal entry. 26 degrees hot in the sun. Lots of people on the beach.
Arrived in Paihai 4:00 pm should have taken us 3 hrs but as usual we took a more scenic route so beautiful the country side is nice and green a lot of different trees some look like big ferns. Very hilly a lot of turns . Saw cows, horses, sheep, lpacas. Stopped on the roadside for lunch. Our room does not have a kitchenette so will check out the restaurants for supper. Saw a bad accident thank goodness we weren't ahead. Tasted a local orange very sweet. Dad says more fun to drive in the country side than the city less traffic. Having coffee dad resting before we go discovering.
Country side driving to Paihai
Sunday mar 6 checking out at 11 heading north to Paihai. Slept well had breakfast packed and cleaned up.

5 March 2016

Went grocery shopping one store didn't sell fresh meat then went to daiso 3 Japanese $ store so we bought a water bottle and 2 collapsible coolers to keep our stuff cold while travelling. Then went to find 2 degrees to check out a sim card closed so will try tomorrow at another store. Then found new world grocery and bought pork chops rice salad ham for supper/lunch. Enjoying the lovely weather stopped for a cone they ran out of ice cream so we got pineapple slushies for a $ wha big spenders we are !
Has lunch at 3 pm oh what a life it's sunny and 23 degrees everyone wearing shorts summer dresses now we are deciding to drive or not want to get to a grocery store and a dollar store and pick up a SIM card for phone. Did we have fun this morning with that gps we got took us again for a drive to the other end of the city. Anyhow we back tracked and found the aquarium it was hilarious. Thank goodness we have a whole month to explore.
Went to Kelly Tarltons sea aquarium alot to see you go underneath a tunnel and see all the sea life cool
Pictures from the aquarium
Saturday morning dad woke up early as usual blue sky no clouds 17 degrees. Dad tired sleeping by 7 last night. I started my journal on journi and that took some time learning the program it couldn't recognize nz at last it did. Eating breakfast at 9 am. Nice accommodations we had a good sleep even have a mini dishwasher. So nice to shower and brush ones teeth after being on the plane for 14 hrs. Dad got some leg cramps after sitting for so long on the plane. Got a lot of tourist info. We went to the marine museum yesterday a lot to see. The nz people love to sail so there was a lot of history about sailing. Dad had cereal then we are having eggs, toast, oranges and coffee. We are going to visit the aquarium this morning going to drive there.

4 March 2016

Drove downtown and found our hotel by luck Scenic hotel on 380 queen st dropped off luggage went walking from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm exploring the harbour, marine museum picked up groceries met very helpful people. Had supper on room. Tired today.
Left Regina on Mar 2 @ 4:45 pm Air Canada to Vancouver left on time even got better seats with more leg room and didn't have to pay for it. No meals served on the flight bought some Pringles. Landed in Vancouver on time walked a short distance to international terminal. Didn't have to go through customs or load baggage. Couldn't get seats with extra leg room so we were in the 2 middle seats of the middle row. A bumpy flight as we were in the tail section of the plane. A lot of movies to watch better screens than air canada flight the head phones not the best hard to hear. My gf meals ok not as good as my last trip. Arrived Auckland earlier 5:60 am it was dark out. Going through customs was good using the automatic kiosk system. Waited a while to pick up car from hertz. Driving on the left side is different. Windshield wipers on the left side dad constantly turning them on as he was trying to signal left hand turn. So after driving around in circles 4 times we decided to ignore gps and

3 March 2016

At Vancouver airport
Selfie on the plane to Vancouver