Thursday, 20 February 2014

Auckland to Canberra

After breakfast at our favourite French restaurant (we've now eaten there 3 times) we checked out of our hotel and caught the inner city link  bus to the top of Queen Street.  We part followed a walking tour map back to the harbour, including spending some time at the Art Gallery.

We couldn't do anything too adventurous as that would have required changing more money and we didn't want to do that.   Then there was the trip to the airport, the flight home which means our great  adventures at NZ are now at an end.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


We caught the ferry to Devonport this morning and enjoyed wandering around the picturesque north Auckland harbourside suburb.  Alan and I walked to the top of North Head and got great views of the city while Penny visited the naval museum.  We wandered through the shopping precinct before catching the ferry back to the city.

We then walked through the Viaduct basin and wharf area to the fish market before heading back into the city.

We wondered if they would sail us back to Sydney!!
Our energy was ebbing by this point so we stopped for a drink (at a tea / coffee shop, and it was wonderful to have a huge range of teas to choose from).  We found a city link bus and for the massive outlay of $1.90 each we enjoyed a 45 minute bus ride around the inner city.

We found this lovely little French restaurant not far from our hotel where we had beakfast and dinner.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Paihia to Auckland

We started the day with a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

We headed south (including  by car ferry) and reached Auckland mid afternoon.

After we checked in to our hotel and returned the Prado we wandered down the harbour area for dinner.  Another very scenic day.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Bay of Islands

It was  beautiful sunny day today and  we enjoyed a cruise on the Bay of Islands this morning, including seeing dolphins and sailing through the Hole in the Rock on Piercy Island.

We disembarked at Russell and had lunch there and enjoyed wandering around the historic village.

We caught the ferry back to Paihia and had a lovely swim in our hotel pool while the washing was on.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Algies Bay to Paihia (Bay of Islands)

We started our day with an enjoyable breakfast with Anne and Bruce, sitting on the deck of their lovely home.

View at breakfast
We then hit the road and headed north.  We visited the very interesting Kauri Museum, where we saw a range of beautiful Kauri timber, as well as the sawmilling equipment, karui gum, as well as other artefacts.

We headed north along the west coast and drove through the Waipoua forest, stopping for a beautiful forest walk to see some very large kauri trees.

Te Matua Ngahere (Father of the Forest)
Girth 16.41 m
We then headed across country to Paihia on the Bay of Islands where we're spending 2 nights.

Hokianga Harbour (on west coast)
Its been varied and beautiful country we drove through today - and always mountains or hills somewhere.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Algies Bay

We spent a very interesting morning at Rotorua Museum, which was built as a bath house in the early 1900s.   We left for Auckland at noon and headed off to the airport where we sadly parted company with John.
Rotorua from roof of museum
Old bathing treatment room in museum
We continued north through Auckland, through some horrific traffic, to Algies Bay where we had a very enjoyable night with Anne and Bruce Turley, Peter's sister and brother in law.

Taupo to Rotorua

Another drizzly start today, with a sunny afternoon.  We visited Huka Falls on the outskirts of Taupo and were impressed at the volume of water thundering through the narrow channel.

It was a quick drive to Rotorua and on our way into the city we visited the Whakarewarewa Living Maori Village (they shorten it to Whaka) and spent a couple of hours on a guided tour learning about life there, watching a cultural performance and seeing all the thermal activity.

Cooking Hangi in a steam box

We checked into the motel late morning and then walked via a nearby park to the city centre for lunch - checking out the thermal activity on the way.

We went back to Whakarewarewa this afternoon and spent quite a bit of time waiting for the geysers, particularly Pohutu which is the largest of NZ's geysers, to do their thing.  We gave up and followed one of the walking tracks from the village and when we got to one of the lookouts we got a great view of Pohutu and the Prince of Wales Feathers geysers doing their thing.  And they were spectacular.
Waiting or geysers

We headed back into the city for a drive beside Lake Rotorua and found the Rotorua Museum, which is an impressive building.

Waitekui Sculpture, Rotarua Museum

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Wellington to Taupo

It was quite drizzly with very low cloud this morning when we walked down to Cuba Street for breakfast and we didn't really see sun until late morning.  It was a pleasant drive north and the countryside was lovely and green.  The hills were more gentle and rolling, though they became more rugged as we got closer to the volcanic area around Taupo.
Mt Ruapehu
Lake Taupo
We stopped at Tokaanu and did a short walk around a thermal area.

We checked in to our accommodation and got some washing done and enjoyed relaxing in a mineral pool.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Christchurch to Wellington

We flew from Christchurch to Wellington this morning, picked up our car and drove to the hotel, arriving around lunchtime.

We walked down Cuba Street, which is really funky with lots of eating places and shops, and found somewhere for lunch.

We walked down to the Civic Square area.

We then caught the Cable Car and had a bit of a stroll around the Botanic Gardens before heading back down the Cable Car.

A walk along the waterfront took us to the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa) where we spent an hour or so.
Loved this sign at the museum!!
Another stroll back up to our hotel before heading back to Cuba Street where we met up with John and Jenny Boshier for a fabulous dinner and a  lovely night.