Saturday, July 28, 2007

90 miles and the Bay of Islands

So far....

Been here a week - well six days, we 'lost ' last Sunday!!! Flight was ok, tried reading Harry Potter, but couldn't get into it at all, so drank the Kiwi wine on offer - think thay'll be quite some of that going on over the next few weeks!! Saw the ice bergs off Greenland, USA was cloudy and LA ...well it makes Victoria Coach Station look good. We arrived to a Beautiful crisp morning, clear skies and frost, Spring was in the air, (I say WAS because right now in Tauranga it's throwing it down).

Monday afternoon we had a quite tour of Auckland, dropped at Deveonport (complete with the Navy) and coaught ferry over harbour to the city centre. Lots of souvenier shops, Asian food outlets (very Chinese - noodle bars etc.) but town is really in it's winter sleep.

Tuesday 24th July Pahia, The Achorage Hotel.

What a lovely spot - room overlooked the bay. Cook was here in 1769. Wandered around, had a pizza and some more ofthat lovely Kiwi wine, early night as up early in the morning.

Wednesday 25th July - BIRTHDAY BOY!!!

Went to Cape Rienga and 90 Mile Beach today on 'The Dunerider' ( - excellent day. Only 10 of us and the driver, Bruce, made it seem like a personalised tour. To paraphrase that ad on tv, "If Carlsburg made a coach tour, this was it"!! First stop was to see the Kauri trees in Puketi Forest, then breakfast. A chase up 90 Mile Beach (which is actually only 64 miles, BUT the Ozzies have one that goes for 80, so hey ho...) Halfway down we stopped to make way for a Blue Penguin tottereing up the beach. All go AH!!

Then we surfed down 100 foot dunes and ended the day with fish 'n chips (fish was bluefin). Knacked - in bed for 8!!

Thursday 26th July. Day 5 – Pahia

Woke up to ANOTHER wonderful morning. We had brekkies in a café called ‘Hansen’s’ – a small piece of the history of the place, their family had come over (sound like a séance!!) with first active settlers 192 years ago as missionaries. Also found out that the road we’d been staying on, “Marsden”, was named after the first vicar – Reverend Marsden.

Caught boat on our trip round the Bay of Islands (as named by James Cook – incidentally the Maori captain of the boat (a lady as Suzie has been pointing out…) called him by his naval rank (Lieutenant) and not as he is more commonly referred to as ‘Captain’, mmmnnn a slight reelection on the fact he NOT commonly liked by our antipodean friends)

Had a text from Stephen – “Glos declared Island Principality and Oxford sailing off towards France…” glad we’re here then!!

At noon (it should be High Noon) we stopped for a break on what has become known as Zane Grey Island as he set up fishing camps after Marlin in the 1920-30’s and began the tourist industry – real name Urupakapuka Island.

Two highlights
Met a pod of bottle nose dolphins - complete with mother and toddler – Suzie EXTREMELEY happy.
Stopped on the spot Cook anchored and named the Bay.

Made our way back to Auckland across the West Coast – we are learning VERY quickly that distances are very deceptive, thought it would take a couple of hours – it took SIX!! (Ok , we stopped at the oldest/widest tree in the world (allegedly) Tanu Mahato, stopped in sub tropical forest and saw a rare Red Topped Parakeet and broke down (AA man appeared, got out tool of trade, hammer and chisel, wellied the engine and off we went again!!).

First two full days of our adventure have been outstanding (and we get the feeling that this is going to be a constant thread.) We’ve seen dolphins, a penguin and a Parakeet all in their NATURAL habitat. We’ve seen The Pacific Ocean at it’s clearest and calmest best (ok, a bit chilly, but glorious..). We’ve seen where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean and seen the curvature of the earth – at least it seemed like that when looking towards the South Pole3389 km away!! I’ve sat in a boat in the place where Cook arrived in the Endeavour and named the place, traded and generally had a good time! We went through a hole in the rock he named after his mate Percy (First Sea Lord)…what’s next??

Friday, July 27, 2007

Good Morning New Zealand...A quick update on our adventure.

It's been a glorious few days here - seems as if we have been around these parts for more than just the 4 nights.

Flight was uneventful - well for those that have flown more than once in the last 25 years that is. We were in the middle of the middle aisle - so a view wasn't a problem. Saw the ice bergs over Greenland ans the cloud over America. Hint - DON'T do the LA option.

Spent first day at Mariangi Bay - fell asleep on bus and woke up in Torbay WHAT.... made it to aunt's in one piece.

Tuesday we picked up hire car and mosied on up to Pahia in the Northlands - OUTSTANDING. Will write more about the scenery and wildlife later, on a dial up here and we NEED to share our pics to do the trip justice. Suffice to say we've had fun - seen dolphins, a blue penguin AND the rare Red Topped Parakeet.

We're at Suzie's friend's house right now - Carol. Tonight it's out for a meal and another COLD beer- now why do they have to have it SO cold? Lager possibly, but IPA? Now I'm not a CAMRA member, but the flavour disappears, talking of which - Lion Red is the distant cousin of Cameron's Ruby Red Strongarm - coincidence?

That's it till Saturday - enjoy.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

And we're off...

Well it's finally arrived after months of planning(and replanning!!) - we're off to Kiwi Land. Everything is nearly tickity boo - just need to tidy up our nest and pack the last few items then it's off to Heathrow and the waiting....

Friday, July 20, 2007

It;s wet everywhere....and we;re nearly off on our hols.

Good morning,

Sat here in wet Whipsnade on the last day of school residential trip. (want to know more - go to )

Keep getting phone call and e-mails from rellies in NZ telling us all about snow and wind and floods and rough crossing of Cook Straight - what's new!! Feels like we've had all that this week!! Weather forecast for today in Southern England is for TWO MONTHS rain in next 24 hours, and the first month is dropping down now.

Bought a couple of books to keep me company on our adventure (well I know it's not a REAL adventure holiday, no parabungyjumpraftriding thingymejigstuff happening, but it's OUR adventure), The Journal of James Cook and a The Explorations of James Cook. Hope to pick up the new/last Harry Potter at the airport as well.

Suzies very calm about all this, but she has been before - it's all new to me. Everything at home is packed, all we have to do is finsh work today, go out for a beer with Denice and John then it's up tomorrow an at 'em. The next time I get to write in here, we will be in New Zealand!!

Meanwhile, we're off for our "50 Dell Farm Miles" walk with the kids - well it's really about 5 miles through Ashridge Forest and a run up Ivinghoe Beacon - they enjoy it!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Been a long time....

As it says on the tin, it's been a long time since we lit up the world with our thoughts on here - so for all of you out there who are waiting with baited breath - BOO!!