First week in new zealand
Trip Start Nov 09, 2011
68Trip End Ongoing
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On thursday we found our way to Marie and Freds house in Auckland, they were my next door neighbours in Sussex and emigrated here 3 years ago.. it was great to see them again and they helped us sort out one or two problems ..thanks to you all ..we then stayed in a camp site in Orewa just north of Auckland. very nice seaview over a sandy bay..
Friday we drove around whangaparaoa bay onto the headland and peninsula into shakespere regional park..saw a few very cute bays and people wind surfing and water skiing..then on to Army bay where this amazing tree was all over the beach..we stayed another night in Orewa.
Saturday we headed up north on the S1 to warkworth stopping on the way at Puhoi historic village we saw the 1863 church and many other buildings of this era..the local pub was holding a sawing (woodcutters) competition... huge 2 ft diameter logs were clamped on metal frames and then 7 axe men had to chop through until they broke in half ..great to watch...
we carried on north up to mangawhai heads where we were followed down a dead end road by germans in a camper van who thought we knew where to go..we stopped after turning round to chat... it was quite funny..we ended up staying overnight in a car park..
in the morning we went onto the beach at mangawhai saw surfers and walkers ..quite a nice estuary beach with cliffs behind..we continued on the scenic route up to bream bay and then marsden where the oil refinery was..we watched four people set up canoes to row to the nearby island..then carried on to Whangarei marina and into Mair park where we took a bush walk up the hill 240meters up through dense rainforest and native bushland to a lookout point over the town and estuary..awesome..
we stopped at whangarei waterfall next, very nice 26meters high with plenty of water flowing..we followed the road round tutukaka coast to stay in a lay by overlooking kowharewa bay only about 10 meters from the waters edge..awesome stop.. In the evening we walked across the deserted bay. Around the rocks the seaweed hung like strings of green pearls.
next day we saw the rest of the ngunguru peninsula with very nice beaches and on to matapouri where we parked and went on a 3 hour walk over the head which included a mermaid pool, water left in the volcanic rocks as a pool warm and deep.. loads of people were diving in .. but you can only reach it after a long hard climb over the cliffs..on our return to the bay we realised we were cut off in an inlet so had to clamber over the volcanic rocks to escape..dodgy..but fun..Robin did get a grazed leg..we continued the walk to see whale bay very popular with young familys as it is a safe inlet and shallow water..
We continued up the east coast passing one bay after another, many more or less deserted yet this is the summer school holiday period. The buildings became more sparse and a little more run down as we were entering an area more populated by native Maoris
Looking out for suitable places to stop it was time we had another night in a proper site. We headed for Russell. What a gem. After dinner we walked around the town and were delighted with what we found. The buildings all wood clad and painted in pale yellows and cream. Along the quayside were a number of quaint bars, cafes and hotels with plenty of people enjoying the place as we were.
Next day (Tuesday 17th January) we decided to take a more leisurely pace. Drove the couple of minutes to the nearby Long Beach, put out the table and chairs, strolled the beach and generally relaxed. Well this is also supposed to be a holiday! Around 4pm drove back over to Russell and up to The Mast viewpoint for a 360 degree view across the Bay of Islands and Russell - spectacular. After another short walk around Russell's historic quayside we found the local church - another delight. 5pm and we headed off northwards by way of the nearby vehicle ferry across to Opua, then onto Kerikeri and the Waitangi National Reserve where the original treaty document with the Maoris was signed in 1840.
Within the park we went onto Haruru Falls - not very high but alot of water flowing over them creating a mist of spray all around
Next morning the golf driving range cafe turned out to be a hidden culinary gem. Everything home cooked and as the display cabinet filled up as we chatted to Marty the owner we couldn't resist a few purchases - a giant sausage roll, an individual quiche and some lemon and mascapone cake (that's tonight's dinner sorted!)
Northwards along the east coast one georgeous bay after another. Often hidden from view as we wound our way along the coastal road climbing steeply then down again. The surrounding woodlands a mass of trees intermingled with tree ferns and palm trees. The bays white sandy beaches against blue seas - it could just as easily be the Carribean.
Along the way we stopped at Mangonui at the 'World Famous' fish and chip shop. The wait was well worth it (sorry Australia the New Zealand variety are infinately better).
It would soon be time to stop for the night. After a wasted trip to find a remote camp site on nearby Karikari peninsula (it was full) we decided to head for 90 mile beach and consider our options for the northern tip on New Zealand.
But more of that in our next blog...