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' ( http://www.dunerider.co.nz/) - 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.
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??