07/01/2011

Day 15: Interislander Ferry – Wellington to Picton

We checked out of the hotel at 8 am so that we got to the inter-island ferry terminal in plenty of time for our 10:25 am crossing. Our rental car was from Europcar, which has only four parking bays and they were taken, so a quick phone call to the national number resolved the problem. […]

06/01/2011

Days 13 and 14: Wellington

We spent two days in Wellington visiting friends and wandering through the downtown area.   Our hotel was opposite the Botanic Gardens, so we walked uphill to reach the end of the cable car line. The tickets were N$3.50 one way or $6 return. The cable car ends in the main street, so this was […]

06/01/2011

Day 12: Napier to Wellington

We checked out at 10 am and filled up in Havelock North, which is fairly close. The top-up cost NZ$30. Before leaving Napier, we visited the Old Napier Cemetery, which is on the hill overlooking the city and is surrounded by the Botanic Gardens.

03/01/2011

Day 11: Opotiki to Napier via Tokomaru Bay

We left Whakatane at 8 am. Ohope Beach was full of people trying to have fun before the sun came out from behind the clouds. The hills along the way have many detours and temporary repairs owing to landslides, but posed no problems for us. For us, Opotiki was  just a place to fill up […]

02/01/2011

Day 10: Whakatane, Taneatua

The two days spent in Whakatane were with relatives, but we managed a little sightseeing. Taneatua We visited the nearby village of Taneatua, where Lesley’s parents owned and lived in a milk bar (called a dairy in NZ) until it burnt down. We saw the new milk bar and one of the 12 schools she […]

01/01/2011

Day 9: Taupiri, Hamilton, Tirau, Rotorua

We left Auckland around 9 am and filled up the car with NZ$87 worth of petrol near Bombay. This part of the Hamilton Expressway is well known to Aucklanders, who are reputed not to care about anything that happens south of the Bombay Hills. Our first stop was Taupiri, where Lesley’s cousin Jacqui lives. It […]

31/12/2010

Day 8: Opononi, Omapere, Waipoua Kauri Forest

It was the last day of our northern journey and were homeward bound to Auckland. Checked out of the Outrigger Motel at around 9:30 am. The first stop was petrol at NZ$1.999 in Paihia. The tank was more than half full and it took $60 worth to fill up. By the time we reached Auckland, […]

30/12/2010

Day 7: Awanui, Cape Reinga Lighthouse, Kerikeri

We left Paihia at 9 am. We didn’t stop at Kaitaia, but kept going until we stopped at the Ancient Kauri Kingdom in Awanui, a tourist trap where they sell well-made objects from salvaged kauri up to 45,000 years old. Kauri was logged into near extinction by the early settlers, like many other follies made […]

29/12/2010

Day 6: Cream Trip Supercruise

Today was overcast until 5 pm. We boarded the Tangaroa III at the Paihia jetty for the six-hour cruise across the Bay of Islands. It is named the Cream Trip because in the old days some tourists got the idea to hop on board the boat that visited all the islands to collect the cream […]

28/12/2010

Day 5: Treaty House at Waitangi

Rain was predicted and it arrived later today. We walked from the hotel to the Treaty House at Waitangi. It is a pleasant walk and allows you to stop to notice the Maori pa before the bridge to Waitangi or the penguin we saw being dive-bombed by some birds. Pay to Look Non-NZ residents have […]

Places we saw