Although we were very sad to leave Australia we were also very excited about the prospect of visiting New Zealand for the first time. Flight from Sydney was 3.5 hrs late and we eventually arrived in a damp Auckland. Easy journey to hotel on shuttle bus and found Rydges hotel to be very comfortable. Next day weather had only improved slightly so we visited the excellent museum and cinema. Having been spoilt by Sydney we found Auckland less impressive. Mainly for yachties. Visited Devenport and marina before heading north in Juicy hire car to Paihia via Whangerei which was very pleasant. Bay of Islands did not disappoint and we did a half day cruise in the bay and called at Russell on our way back. This small town was previously the capital of New Zealand in the whaling days and apparently a place of ill repute. Not now. We moved on further north to the start of 90 mile beach road before heading into the Waikopu forest where we saw a giant kauri tree of 14 metres girth. Rains then started and did not stop for a day although we escaped any flooding. On the very wet sunday we made our way up the Coromandel Peninsula to Coromandel town and to stay at Harbour View Motel which is run by Iain and Angela Cree. I was at school with Angela over 40 years ago and it was great to catch up with them. Thanks for the hospitality and for sharing the views (and plums). Made our way to Rotorura the geothermal part of the north island and took the waters in the hotel mineral spa and visited the surrounding Green and Blue Lakes. Also did a 8k walk along Lake Rotorua. Weather much improved and journeying via Lake Taupo we took a cabin at Skotel in Tongariro National Park and both Indra and myself did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing Walk of 19.4 ks and traversing between two active volcanoes. This walk is regarded as the best one day walk in New Zealand.Absolutely brilliant and well done to Indra. Fabulous sunset seen from cabin verandah. Made our way to Wellington where we have seen all the local sights and are booked on a ferry to South Island tomorrow.