So we left you in suspense after we had picked up our hire car, which we named Norris!!! At the car place Fi and Sam both refused to drive, which meant it was down to Lau to start the driving on our road trip. Although it was very scary it wasn't too bad once you got used to the automatic driving!! We had to first drive out of Auckland, over the harbour bridge, onto the motorway. We we're on our way up to the Bay of Islands to Paihia. We took the main road north, but unlike in England the motorways are mostly one and sometimes two lanes so driving was quite a bit different! Obviously NZ is hilly so we had to go up and down lots of mountain ranges - which was an experience!!!
We reached our motel after a 4 hour drive to find that we were overlooking the beach, the view was incredible. We investigated Paihia and found a supermarket where we got some food for our time there. The next day we set off to Waitanga where the Mauri treaty was signed, we wandered around the treaty grounds and saw the canoes, which are made from the Kauri trees, which are used each year on the anniversary of the signing. The main canoe can hold up to 200 people. They were very impressive. We spent the rest of the day relaxing by the beachfront, with the biggest decision being about which ice cream flavour to have. In the end we decided on Jaffa (Sam), Caramel Mud Cake (Lau) and Tiramusu (Fi).
After we went back to the motel where we sat in the pool for the rest of the afternoon, before heading down to walk on the other beach where the tide was out, however we got half-way towards the sea with Sam lagging behind, wise move, before we realised that the sand was in fact more like mud and the water was a toxic green!!! Needless to say that had been signs on the beach about not eating the fish caught here due to toxins, you would have thought we'd have realised that this wasn't the best place to be paddling!!!! Our walk along the beach ended quite swiftly after that!!!!
We are going back to Howick to spent another night with Doreen and David before making our way South to Rotorua.
Update soon, Love and hugs xxxxxxxxxx