NZ Part 1: the North Island

Trip Start Nov 03, 2009
Trip End Feb 06, 2010

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, November 12, 2009

We had about 9 days to get a taste of the North Island. We began and ended our trip in Auckland, with a great circular trip in between...

Catching up
It was great to see our Kiwi friends Scott and Libby in Auckland (thanks for being fab hosts!), and we had a brilliant weekend away at the Bay of Islands. The Mack Attack jet boat was awesome!

Caving around
After leaving Auckland we headed to the Waitomo caves - the thousands of glow worms you see whilst floating down the underground river are spectacular!

Car troubles
We had the dodgiest rental car, albeit cheap, that almost blew up in the mountains at the Tongario National Park! Thank god for the AA.

Water water everywhere
We saw some amazing lakes and waterfalls, including Lake Taupo (the largest in NZ) and Huka falls. And we had our fair share of rain too!

Gone fishing
We went prawn fishing (absolutely enormous things as they are kept in thermal water so you use a rod and hook) - Natasha=5, Jeremy=1! They were then cooked in garlic butter - gorgeous!

What's that smell?
Around Roturua we visited geysers,silica terraces and bubbling mud pools - there is an interesting(!) smell in the air but the area is fascinating with sights we had never seen before.

We went white water rafting dwon the Kaituma river on a grade 5 course which included a 21 foot waterfall - the highest you can do commercially in the world. We had a great Mauri guide - lots of chanting!

East coast
On our way back to Auckland we stopped off at Mount Maunganui and Whangamata - part of the Coromandel region, a rugged coastline with great beaches. We visited the famous hot water beach - two hours either side of low tide you can access an area of sand in front of a rocky outcrop at the middle of the beach where hot water oozes up from beneath the surface. Our first pool was cold but the second so hot that you couldn't even put a toe in it - totally bizarre!

Auckland Part 2
Our final weekend in Auckland was spent wining and dining, mooching around the city (thanks for the tour Scott and Libby!) and going to a Christmas bbq complete with paper hats - thanks Renee and James.

All in all a whistle stop tour but filled with fun, friends, action and amazing sights. Next stop the South Island...
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