Stu & Amy See The World!
After a long drive north from Auckland we finally make it to Pahia, meaning "it's nice here" - and it was. We meet up with mum & dad again and head over to Russell on the local ferry. We walk up the hill to a famous flagpole and see a great sunset before heading back into town for another great meal. The next day we take a boat trip around the Bay of Islands to see the Hole in the Rock, which we were able to go through in our boat (very exciting!). We also saw loads of dolphins on the way who seemed to enjoy swimming along with the boat which was fab for us. Introduce NZ pies to mum & dad for lunch which we eat on the beach. Spend the afternoon in Waitangi learning about New Zealands bicultural roots which was incredibly interesting. Enjoy our last meal with mum & dad before we head our separate ways - we will be meeting up again in Christchurch in a few weeks. The next day we head north to the Karikari peninsular and stop at Whangaroa Harbour where we do a short walk up to St Paul's Rock for views over the village. The last part of the walk involved pulling ourselves up over the rocks using a wire cable which was good fun, if a little nerve-wracking! We then headed to Doubtless bay for another walk to the Rangikapiti Pa Historic Reserve. Back in the village we have the biggest ever ice-cream! Up nice and early to do a tour of Cape Reinga (the most northerly part of NZ) and around. First stop is the Ancient Kauri Kingdom - basically just a big souvenir shop, but with lots of impressive kauri wood furniture to look at. We then drive in our coach up the Ninety Mile Beach with great views of the menacing Tasman Sea. We have a stop to do some tobogoning on the sand which was great fun. We get to Cape Reinga where we can walk to the lighthouse and look over the point where the Tasman Sea meets the South Pacific Ocean. Pretty impressive. We then head to Spirits Bay for a picnic lunch. Finally we head back to Kaitaia via Gumdiggers Park - a major kauri gum diggers site with a maze of ancient buried swamp kauri forests and shaft holes from where kauri resin or gum was extracted. Very interesting. We head to Ahipara for the night and take a stroll along the beach before the sun goes down. In the morning we drive down the Kauri coast via a local ferry, stopping to look at the giant Kauri trees and the Kai Iwi lakes. Experience our first bit of bad weather so head to our campsite for the night in Matakohe. After a windy night we get up to more rain and decide to visit the Kauri museum just up the road. Again very interesting with loads of Kauri trees/furniture/gum on display. Weather still not improved so carry on our journey south to Hamilton where we avoided being blown over in the strong winds.