On Saturday, after the shopping day, we packed up to drive 3 hours to Kerikeri to stay at a friends house and take care of her daughter while she was traveling a couple of nights. We went to see the “Hunger Games”, walked to the Sunday market past a Maori village, picked figs and apples from the orchard (the house we stayed at is on an organic farm), played ukuleles and sang late into the night.
Our next journey was to the northern tip of the island. We stopped in KeriKeri at the butchers and got the best lamp chops I’ve had. New Zealand is sheep country!
On the way to Mangonui we passed Doubtless Bay, named so because Captain Cook wrote in his log, “Doubtless a Bay” in 1769.
We stopped at the Carrington Resort Winery for lunch.
We spent an afternoon at the beautiful Puheke beach. There was not another soul around. Of course I collected some shells that littered the beach and walked forever.
After a few days we traveled back to Auckland and met the guys who had just gotten off the boat. We had a big fish dinner of red snapper they caught, New Zealand sauvignon blanc, played ukes and sang all kinds of songs, told stories, and laughed.
Here’s Michael with the crayfish (lobster) he caught and ate.
Michael and I took of to visit the Rotorua/Taupo area. We went to the thermals and did a walking tour. Very interesting that most of New Zealand gets power from these thermals. Huge pipelines make their way up to the power plant. All natural clean energy.
We stayed in Rotorua a couple of nights. This is when I “lost” my camera. So no pictures after this until the last day when Michael brought his IPhone out and snapped a few pictures but he has yet to send them to me so perhaps in the next few days I’ll get him to do that and I’ll post them. We did get a few of the fabulous waterfalls we visited and the natural bridges cavern.
We saw the glow worm caves, took a tree walk and saw the largest Totara tree said to be 1750 – 1850 ears old. Incredible walking on these paths under tree ferns with tuis and pukekos flying around. There was no one else on the path with us and it felt quiet and ancient as if we were in another world.
We went to Lake Taupo the next day, took a sailboat ride across the lake, spent the night and then headed to the west coast.
Roads in New Zealand are not marked or named like in the USA where we have state and county roads. Only the freeways are marked so when you look at a map you can see the road but how do you know if you’re on the right one? So we got a little lost.
We missed a turn off and kept going straight through a little village then onto a gravel road and eventually we came upon the sea and the most beautiful, sparkling black sand beach I’ve ever seen! We had to get out and walk and stare at the incredible turquoise water.
Leaving and driving on we came to the end of the road where a man was logging. He laughed at us when we told him where we wanted to go so we backtracked and found our way to the turn we should have taken.
We meant to make it back to Auckland but it was getting late so we spent the night in the cool little town of Raglan.
Back to Auckland to pack up to fly home the next day. While unpacking my smaller travel bag to repack the large suitcase my camera appeared in a side pocket under some clothes. I had stuffed it there when we left the motel room to go eat. Duh?!
The trip was fabulous. I said to Michael I was ready to go on vacation again, to go back to New Zealand.