Northland... going down As the weather had vastly improved we decided to go back to Kerikeri as we didn't get to see much of it last time. Turns out it was a good choice, Kerikeri is part of the Bay of Islands just minus a beach, what it does have however are some very nice walks with waterfalls, cafes, the oldest stone building in NZ aptly named The Stone House and best of all a parrot sanctuary! The guy who works there was happy to tell us his vast knowledge about all things bird related. We were given our own little friend to hold, no doubt to encourage a feathery purchase, and a handful of nuts for the birds in the aviaries. We also got to cuddle some fluffy baby bunnies and we came away missing all our pets and a list of new ones for when we get back! Eventually the decision was made to give Paihia one more chance. With kev on the mend and the sun shining we happened on a campervan park at the opposite end of town with much cheaper rates and lovely owners. After driving all day and skipping lunch we strongly felt a beer was in order. Last time we were here we walked past a bar called Mako. Definately a locals bar that the backpackers have adopted this ment cheap drinks and huge portions of yummy food for a fiver, having a beach front location sealed the deal and we spent the next couple of hours enjoying Mako's hospitality. Next day we hopped on the ferry to Russell, small and cute as all the guidebooks promised with very little to do other than have a nice bowl of coffee. Once back in Paihia we had a well deserved chillax finishing our books in the sun by the harbour and chanced on bumping into Ingrid someone we had been on our tour with. I've decided this is one of my favourate things about travelling meeting lovely people and then bumping into them somewhere and hearing what they have been doing in the mean time. Thankfully we did enjoy Paihia more this time, its amazing the difference a little sun and a change in expectations makes, but still don't feel feel it quite deserves the hype. Having only a couple of days left in NZ with a little orange camper we pressed on to visit some places we missed on the way up. After just visiting the basin before we stopped over in Whangerai town this time. Most notable thing about this place is its NZ's version of Doncaster, not an awful place but one night was enough. Our last stop in Northland took us to Waiwera, this is where a large portion of the bottled water comes from. There isn't really a lot to do here but to get wet. The Waiwera Thermal Resort and Spa unfortunaly falls pray to excess adverting saying they have 'natural thermal pools' which i'm sure there is somewhere under the chlorine, waterslides and millions of screaming kids. Thankfully we got a huge discount from the site we booked on so felt it was worth what we paid. Dispite the pools being a bit of a let down i would more than happily come back just for the beach, and maybe the most well stocked corner shop i've ever seen. Today we drive back to Auckland for the last time to drop the car off and make our way slowly to the airport, we had just enough time to make one last stop at Cornwall park. I had completely underestimated the size of this place. With its own exibihation centre, observatory, and herds of sheep and cows we happily filled the afternoon strolling in the sunshine. We have loved Northland not for the Bay of Islands that everyone goes for but for the deserted beaches, history, and as always for the lovely people. There were still things i would still like to see like the Rainbow Warrior and Goat Island but will save those for next time.