Thursday, 12 November 2009


Spring is on its way and the days are beginning to get warmer and longer.
It is still very strange to me that the further north we travel the warmer it becomes and a north wind is warm, but a south-west wind is cold! We came across a sun-dial with the clock numbers going around anti-clockwise to read the right time of day!

We are now in the Northland staying at Paihia. There are lots of interesting things to see and do in this area. We have visited a forest of giant kauri trees. Giant kauris, many over 1000 years old used to cover this area of New Zealand but were cut down at the end of the 1800's and early 1900's and the wood used for furniture, houses and boats. The amber coloured kauri gum was also much sought after for ornaments and jewellery.

We have come across a lot of Maori culture in this area. We went on a wonderful bus tour along 90 Mile Beach. The bus driver was Maori and entertained us all in Maori songs, stories and history along the way. There is an official highway that goes along the beach, tides permitting. It was a great day, miles of golden sand and blue sea stretching as far as the eye can see and further. Then it was on to Cape Reinga, one of the northern points of New Zealand and especially interesting because it is the meeting point of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific, and it's possible to see where they meet! Our last stop was at a Gumdiggers Park and we learnt that gumboots came by that name by the gumdiggers who wore them daily for work!

Monday, 9 November 2009

A couple of weeks spent in Auckland. Time to get ourselves set up, buy a second hand car and see a few of the sights.
Auckland is a city built on volcanoes! The last one erupted 6oo years ago, so we reckoned we would be safe! A short steep climb to the top of some of these give wonderful views over the city.

The city skyline is dominated by Sky Tower, it's impossible to miss it! It was built in the 1990's and boasts to be the tallest structure of the southern hemisphere. It has an excellent revolving restaurant and an observation deck which has glass flooring in places - quite scary to look down to ground level from this height!

A short ferry ride away from the city is Waiheke Island, an escape from city life, with beautiful sandy beaches, rolling hills and country lanes.

To the west lie the Waitakere Ranges with walks and trails through the bush and black sandy beaches renowned for great surfing. The day we visited the tide was out and no-one was riding the waves!

It has been great to explore the city and surrounding areas, now we are heading north for a few days.