A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand February 23 2013

Day 4 Cape Reinaga

semi-overcast 23 °C

Te Rerenga Waiwura - Cape Reinaga - Atua Peruperu -Maria van Dieman Cove

Full day trip to the northernmost tip of NZ. The meeting of the Tasman and Pacific. Place of great spiritual significance to the Maori as the point at which the spirits of the dead wave goodbye to NZ and begin their journey back to Hawiiki. (Somewhere near theTahitians Islands from where it is believed the Maori came).

Picnic lunch on an isolated beach and then down through the reserve into Te Paki stream, past the massive sand dunes and out onto ninety mile beach. Beach is actually only 90 kilometre long but at low tide makes a pretty good highway. Steady 85 kph except at creek crossings we started directly offshore from Sydney and worked our way south much more comfortably than through the inland hills and valleys. A surprise at the exit at Waipapakauri Ramp where one of the tourist buses was sand bogged to the gunnels - a bit of excitement and the saviour was a Massey Ferguson tractor. Interesting being in a 52 seater bus (not 4 wheel drive) and driving down a sand based waterway and then onto the beach. People on sleds sliding down the huge sand dunes. A 10 hour adventure and while the other Marshalls dine out we have had a spa and are having a snack and beer at the bar.

Posted by suengarry 23:23 Archived in New Zealand Tagged cape reinaga Comments (0)

New Zealand - Feb 22 2013

Omapere to Bay of Islands

semi-overcast 23 °C

After another full breakfast we trailed the coach on another 1 1/2 hour run across to the eastern coast on highway 12. Topography etc. much as previously described. Destination Paihia ( good here - statement by Captain Cook) - reminds us of Byron Bay. Two main coves sitting like Wategoes but with more land to build on looking out to the East into the Bay of Islands.

Tour of the town and Waitangi Treaty grounds brought us up to speed with the historical significance of this part of NZ. Area of many firsts. First landing of the Maori, first missionaries, first of Maori Wars etc.

Lunch in town and then onto the twin- hulled jet cruiser for a four hour return trip to the Hole in the Rock and Cape Brett. Pleasant enough but nothing special. Just a boat ride out to the hole in the rock which is just a big hole through a rocky island. Wave action made it too risky for us to go through. A bit like the Bay in Thailand with all the limestone islands but without the contrast of the limestone. Called into an island for afternoon tea and then Russell Island once known as the Hellhole of the Pacific ( sailors, prostitutes, grog)

Spa and a swim before dinner at the resort - another smorgasbord but only cold seafood salads so had to get by with lamb chops, sausages and beef ribs. The lemon tart and ice cream almost made up for it. Gin and tonics under the stars.

Posted by suengarry 23:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged islands of bay Comments (0)

New Zealand - Feb 21 2013

Auckland to Omapere

semi-overcast 22 °C

Coach left without us this morning as Sue was feeling quite unwell. Considered staying in Auckland another day and then catching a Gray Line up to the Bay of Islands to rejoin our group. After a visit from the doctor, a little jab and some rest time, decided we would hire a car and follow on to Omipiere today. We were going to have to change hotels anyway. Hired a Nissan Sunny from 'Affordable Car Hire' and set off in pursuit. Missed out on the stops along the way including the Maori welcome and giant Kauri tree but had a pretty good run without any issues. Took about 4 hours on the Great Northern motorway, highway 1 and highway 12 to cover the 260 odd kilometres. Country and road a bit like Ebor to Dorrigo over and over again with a bit of Clarence Big River Country in the middle. Agriculture and homes much the same as well. Fairly dry at the moment as they are in drought not having had any decent rain since Christmas. Locals happy about the dry (but not the farmers). Vegetation, apart from the Kauri and a stronger representation of coastal species such as cabbage trees, also much the same. Kikuyu grass, eucalypts, pine trees and fern trees. Place names are very difficult to pronounce as the Maori language is strongly represented. Colourful and melodic but difficult to remember.
The coach beat us to Omapere so we arrived to find our mob out on the back deck taking in the vista of the bay with drinks in hand after a dip in the pool. Copthorne Resort not much better than an upper price motel but with a wonderful location. Spectacular harbour with headland on one side and a massive sand mountain on the other - sea fishing competition season so we were treated to the boats coming in and weighing their marlin. Bit sad really! Good old boys are the same wherever in the world and there was some drinking and skiting into the early hours of the morning.

Dinner again included seafood - guess who went back for seconds!!
Background music - Kiwi songs/guitar by a Maori girl - Garry still trying to work out the chord transitions.

Posted by suengarry 22:54 Archived in New Zealand Tagged fish new zealand Comments (0)

New Zealand February 20 2013

Day 2: Auckland Scenic

semi-overcast 25 °C

Good night's sleep followed by a sumptuous breakfast. We were very controlled but had one desired we could have put on 15 kilos in one sitting..... How about a hot chocolate fountain to dip your breakfast fruit pieces!! Plus the usual array of US, Asian and European alternatives to choose from. Spent the morning on the Inner Circuit bus system which runs around central Auckland. $1.90 for as long as you like but you have to pay again each time you hop off. We went right around the loop to get our bearings. Great bus system with digital timetables at all bus stops. Metro Circuit is free hop-on-hop-off we were told. Buses modern and clean. Drivers that we encountered very polite.

Auckland is not unlike Sydney but probably a bit closer to the older parts of SanFrancisco or LA. Built on an old volcanic field area so there are lots of
Peaks with some very steep climbs on narrow roads. Colonial past redolent in street names with some wide boulevards such as Great North Rd, Khyber Pass and Dominion Rd along which one can almost see the troops marching to and from the harbour. Queen St is the George St of Auckland. Older buildings of timber construction (weatherboard) or other flexible materials - even though there has not been a quake in this part of NZ for some time. Most residential places only two floors. Commercial buildings now with a different building code but there is still very little hi-rise. Tallest building is the Skycity Tower which dominates the skyline wherever you are in the city. It has a harbour bridge similar to but smaller than Sydney. Of course, being NZ, you can bungy jump from both.

Visited the Art Gallery which recently had a substantially expensive upgrade to check out some historical art depicting early European/Maori interaction. There was also some interesting modern art including dynamic/interactive pieces.

Back to the hotel to catch up on some business and a swim.

Meeting the rest of our Scenic Tour group at dinner tonight.
Only 27 people on the tour so plenty of room on the bus. Heading North tomorrow.

Posted by suengarry 11:42 Archived in New Zealand Tagged tours scenic Comments (0)

New Zealand - 2013

Auckland

sunny 24 °C

Delayed flight out of Sydney. Arrived Auckland three hours later (15:15) after a straightforward but slightly bumpy ride on Air NZ. Thirty minute ride in taxi bus to The Langham Hotel in the middle of the city. Informative driver made some good suggestions for self touring before we join our Scenic Tour group tomorrow evening. Fought with the hotel wifi connection for about thirty minutes before winning. Typical room for a 4/5 star international hotel - roomy but not extravagant. Gymnasium and outdoor heated 15m pool and spa pool.
Walked down to the harbour for dinner. Everything/one pretty laid back and casual. Quite a bit of youngish and more mature eye candy on parade but nothing over the top. Cunard liner Queen Victoria was in port - some ship.

Ate outdoors at a bar/restaurant called Degree. It was about 5 degrees too cool in the draft blowing off the harbour for my liking. An enjoyable and not overly expensive experience for everyone. Garry's seafood platter which consisted of raw tuna, green prawns, mussels, pippies (cooking on a hot rock plate) at the table was the talk of the night. Alongside us (outside the World Champions maritime museum) on a steel stand was the massive and ugly hull of the Kiwi challenger that was beaten by Connors' trimaran in the Americas Cup. About twice the size of other challengers. All a bit sad looking really. We have been told the museum is worth a look and may do so later.

Home on the courtesy bus and into bed quite early considering the time difference.

Posted by suengarry 20:10 Archived in New Zealand Tagged auckland Comments (1)

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