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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Videos added

Please have a fresh look back at our adventures in TaupoPancake Rocks and White Island where we saw dolphins as I have added some videos (seen as I have a good internet connection!)

I do hope you are enjoying the blog ... feel free to leave comments.


Day 54 - Sunday 29th July - Trip to Cape Reinga

Today we took a coach trip to Cape Reinga the most northerly part of New Zealand.

The coach picked us up from our campsite and our first stop of the tour was just up the road in Awanui. It was Kauri Kingdom, Kauri being the native trees which have been growing for centuries until the European settlers came and starting clearing them for farmland!! Gum was also collected from these trees for varnish manufacture in the past. Kauri Kingdom is a shop full of items carved out of the wood from staircases and furniture to coasters and decorations.

Luke and I enjoying a Kauri chair, the darker wood behind us is the back of the next give you idea on size

Kauri tree stump staircase

A beautiful carved Kauri decoration

Once back on the coach we headed for 90 mile beach which is actually 90km not miles! There is a highway up the beach which is where we drove.

The beach highway

90 mile beach, 90km in length

Our coach

On the beach were hundreds of people collecting scallops and seaweed as well fishermen in the torrential rain. We had an opportunity to collect scallops too and Luke found our first one of the day.

Luke's first catch of the day, a fresh scallop

Very dedicated seaweed collectors in the pouring rain

At the top of the beach the coach has to drive up a stream (or river as it was today) back to the road. Once on the road we stopped for some sand tobogganing for the dedicated who did not mind getting pretty wet.

The stream we drove up

Sand tobogganing

The tour took us further north to the very end of state highway 1 at Cape Reinga where there is a lighthouse and is the joining of two seas, the Tasman and Pacific Ocean. Thankfully it had stopped raining, although it was blowing a gale but that did not stop us walking to the lighthouse.

View from Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga Lighthouse

The lighthouse but note the man to the left of the lighthouse, thats how strong the wind was there!!

View from lighthouse

Us at the lighthouse ... do you remember another photo of the two of us looking like this?
...our windy wedding day!!

From the most northerly point the tour took us south via the main highway and not the beach road (as the tide was now high). We stopped off at a few places but it was really blowing and pouring with rain, so not a lot more was seen.

A wet view on the return trip

Our coach took us back to our campsite via the Kauri Kingdom for another look at the huge tree stumps.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Day 53 - Saturday 28th July - Bay of Islands to Awanui

We woke feeling pretty stuff and sore this morning from our snorkelling adventures yesterday.

First we wandered around the township of Paihia finding beautiful homemade fudge!!

Across the river from Paihia is the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a very historic place for New Zealand. It is where the treaty was written, discussed and signed by British emigrants and Maori chiefs saying the Maori's remained owners of their land (unless sold) and the British crown would defend the country from invasion should it be needed.

In the Treaty Grounds we saw a huge, intricately carved Maori canoe, similar to what would have been used by the chiefs to arrive at the Treaty signing.

Intricate carving on the side of the Maori canoe

Carving on the boat house

Hobson's Bay where they boat house is

Maori boat house and canoes, they're really really long

Carvings on boat house

More carvings

We visited the Treaty House where it was written and a Maori Meeting House built on the site. The Meeting House is really beautifully decorated with wooden carvings.

Treaty House

Carvings inside the Maori Meeting House

More wall carvings

A carved pillar inside the Maori Meeting House

Luke behaving like a Maori outside the Meeting House

We drove on to a lookout point over the Bay of Islands and after onto the Haruru Falls. Both absolutely amazing!!

Views over Bay of Islands

Haruru Falls

After lunch we drove onto Kerikeri, also in the Bay of Islands area for a wander around the town and to visit the Rainbow Falls.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls looking down

Onward we travelled to Awanui via a scenic coastal route for a short time where we found a very friendly campsite and chippy, where we indulged in tea. :)

Views en route to Awanui

Coastal views

An interestingly shaped mountain we passed

The sunset en route to Awanui

We are now very nearly at the most northern part of North Island, the last of which we will do tomorrow!!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Day 52 - Friday 27th July - The Poor Knights Islands

Today we woke up very early as we had to be at the dive shop by 8am!!! You might think we were going diving but not quite ... Snorkelling :)

We had to be kitted out with masks, wetsuits, shoes, snorkels etc before boarding our boat.

Once on the boat off we sailed to the Poor Knights Islands on a very choppy sea. There were a few people being sick but Luke and I must have sea legs as we were fine.

The very rough seas coming out of Tutukaka

Rough seas

The islands were named by Captain Cook as they look quite like a poor knight's burial. When knight's died if they were poor they were not buried as such but laid out on their backs with their shields on their chests.

The Poor Knights Islands - his head is to the right, can you see Captain Cook's imagery of the island?

Near the islands we headed first for a rock covered in seals basking in the sun.


How many seals can you spot in this photo?

Once at the islands we anchored up and got all our gear on before jumping into the cool-cold sea waters for snorkelling. We saw lots of fishes of lots of different shapes, sizes and colours. Luke even thought he saw a shark, which is quite feasible in these waters.

After an hour or so we jumped back on board and warmed up with cuppa soups and hot drinks. Whilst having lunch we sailed around the islands a little and went into the World's largest Sea Cave. Amazing!! Especially the acoustics.

Looking out of the World's Largest Sea Cave

The Sea Cave

The sea cave from the outside looking in, once in there it looks 4 times the size!!

At our next anchorage site we jump off for more snorkelling around a hole in the rocks, there were loads of bright blue fishes interspersed with large pink fishes. We also saw an eel.

Our snorkelling bay with the small hole in the rock

Once throughly cold we jumped back onboard and got properly warmed up and dry before heading back to the mainland. On our way back we sailed through a hole in a rock!! I've always wanted to see a sea arch and now I've seen a few in NZ and I've sailed through one!!!!!

The sea arch we were about to sail through

The sea arch having sailed through and safely out the other side

Luke and I on the boat, The Calypso

Back on dry land we drove on for an hour to reach the Bay of Islands area and the township of Paihia for the night. On the drive we saw an incredible sunset.

Sunset seen from the campervan

Another amazing view of the sunset

The sunsetting behind a farm house

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