Mel and Stu missing you
Our hostel in Auckland was very much like a university halls and came with "lav-ends" which were just as cold and un welcoming as at CH. We left early to get to the Bay of Islands. This area is beautiful. The bay is home to several pods of wild bottlenosed dolphins so we took advantage and went on a tour to see them. They were very exciting, would jump around, would ride the bow wave and would come up to the front of the boat so they are only 30cm away. Later we were able to get off the back of the boat and swim (in 15 degree water) and the dolphins would come and check us out and swim around us. If you dived under the water they would dive next to you and play. It was brilliant to swim with wild dolphins who were swimming with you because they wanted to. We had to do lots of singing into our snorkels to keep them interested though! We also saw seals and penguins! We also took a bus trip up to Cape Reinga (the most northern point) where Maoris believe the souls leave NZ. We heard lots of random stories about how these three rocky mountains were actually a god and his two wives who had been turned to stone and his ha\ead had been kicked on to another mountain (where there was also a rock!). We did some more sand boarding in which Stu managed to go all the way down the sand dune and then across the river at the bottom getting very wet. We drove back, in the big bus, along the quick sand river and then down 90 mile beach, which is a publis highway if you want to risk it. Despite the name it is actually 86km long and we drove down 60km. We also visited a factory where they make carvings and very nice furniture, which I know Dad would want, from ancient Kaori trees that have been preserved in swamp for 50,000 years. On the final day Stu took the Duck on the Excitor fast boat to the hole in the rock (including alton towers style photo with the duck! Today we have been in whangerei (although you say wh as f here -very confusing!). We went diving in the Poor Knights which is supposedly the best in NZ. Everyone else tought it was great - we thought it was freezing, with only a few sleepy eels! Excellent dive company tho who were very effecient and we didnt have to carry any equipment the whole time which Mel liked. Also someone proposed underwater while we were on our dive!