Whaler's town

Trip Start Feb 18, 2012
Trip End Apr 01, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, February 26, 2012

Our reason for staying in Mangonui was that it gave us easier access to Cape Reinga. However we seriously underestimated the the time that it takes to travel NZ roads. Consequently we had to adjust our itinerary and take Cape Reinga off the agenda. We are sorry to have missed it but it couldnt be helped as we had a reservation in Russell.

Instead of taking the full day to travel to Cape Reinga we decided to take a break from long days traveling and tour around Mangonui.  We were directed to a Maori Pa, the site of a former Maori fortress high on a hill above Mangonui which gave a stunning 360 view of Doubtless Bay and its surrounds. From there we headed to the Karikari peninsula to check out some beautiful beaches at Matai Bay. Unfortunately it was very windy there and within 5 min. we were thoroughly sandblasted, so much for our beach day! We consoled our selves with some rich, creamy NZ ice cream on the way home.

Today we made our way to our next stop, Russell, in the Bay of Islands. We had to fill up with gas and it cost us $101 which was a bit of a shock! Gas is about $2.20 per litre (Eileen, that is almost $10 per gallon). On the way we stopped in Kerikeri to view the oldest buildings in NZ. - a mission station, an old church and some houses. We hope to get back to Kerikeri before we leave Northland and head south.

Here in Russell we have checked in to the Duke of Marlborough Inn which is the oldest licensed premises in New Zealand.  It was built in 1827and started as "Johnny Johnston's Grog Shop".  In the 1830s Russell was the biggest whaling port in the Southern Hemisphere.  Up to 500 whalers at a time would arrive in Russell after 12 months at sea and the town was known as the "hell hole of the Pacific." it is much quieter now and quite touristy. Our hotel is fantastic, like a step back in time. It is right on the water in the middle of town. Our room has 15 ft. Ceilings and a gigantic bathroom. We have a private terrace and it is all quite wonderful.

Cathy and Bill,we had a drink at the Sailfish Club and sat outside on the balcony overlooking the harbor. We said hello for you and had a couple of beers for you, too.

Tomorrow we get up early (for us) to take a tour of the Bay of Islands. Our weather is supposed to be fine so it looks to be another great day in this amazingly beautiful country.
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Avis on

Sounds wonderful except for paying for the gas! The hell hole of the pacific appeals to me. Should be a fun stop.

Marilyn Schellenberg on

The colour here today is 'winter white' with overcast skies and more snow continuing to fall. It's definitely a wintery day with a temp of -14.
Thankfully the Calgary gas price in our area is 112.9/L, however, in Vancouver I hear it is 141ish. I feel your pain in the price you paid to fill up.
Your hotel looks lovely as does the scenery in NZ. It makes me want to visit there some day.
Hope you are doing well Diane (and Linda too!). How is your back? Miss you.

Cathy N on

Oh I am so glad you are in Russell and enjoying the amenities at the "Duke"... it was so sweet of you guys to pass on our hellos to the guys at the Sailfish club!! What a hoot! :-) I love how you are learning little tidbits of info and history and passing it on - it is an amazing place steeped in history. If you get a chance to get back to Kerikeri be sure to go to the "Stone Store" as they have the most unique New Zealand souvenirs. Also there is a little roadside shop between Mangonui and Kerikeri that is called something like "The Country Store" which has some nice things too. Thanks for posting those photos... What a wonderful time you are having!

Erin H on

So glad to be able to follow your journey - thanks for the descriptive dialogue and photos! Takes a bit of the sting out of my jealously :o)
Hope you continue to have a wonderful time - bring a segway home in your luggage, eh????

Eileen on

Yikes! $10 a gallon and we've been complaining about $3.79
Your hotel sounds lovely. I'm wondering about NZ ice
cream flavors. Yum. We're off to an Oscar Night Party at the local
theater. Trying to decide how gussied up I want to get. Jerry
will be very casual. Ha. Love and hugs across the many, many miles.

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