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New Zealand

11 Days in New Zealand

Sebastien and I spent 11 days in New Zealand.  We flew from Sydney to Auckland on an airbus with Emirates.  It was one of them most enjoyable and relaxing flights I have ever experienced!  They even give you a warm towel to wash your hands when you board.

December 2nd:  Landed in Auckland and took the airbus to the downtown area.  Stayed at an YHA backpacker with 25 other children aged 10-12 who were on school holiday.  It was raining that day but we walked to the down town area and found a gem to eat at.  The place is called, Queen’s Ferrry Hotel but it is not a hotel at all but a gem of a place to eat in Auckland.  You have to go through a dark alley to get there but well worth it!

December 3rd:  We hadn’t quite finalized our plans for what we were going to do in New Zealand so we decided to stay another night in the city and spend the day planning.  We ended up moving to The Scenic.  It was a very nice hotel with modern rooms and good location.  Once we had settled in walked around down town Auckland and went up into the Sky Tower.  You can bungy jump from the top of this tower.  Here are some pictures which also captures how raining and dark it was that day.

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This is not a picture of either one of us.

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December 4rd:  We rented a car through EZ Car Rental and began our trek through the north island of New Zealand.  We knew we didn’t have enough time to hit both islands, we barely had enough time to hit one, so did a loop from the east coast, through the middle, and then back up the west coast.

Our first day was spent on the windy road through  The Coromadel Peninsula.  This area is beautiful and it would have been even more so if it wasn’t for the rain.  We tried to hit the main highlights Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach but the rain only got worse as the day went on.

By luck we stayed at the Blue Water Motel on Main Road in Tairua.  I recommend this place because it was clean, reasonably priced, and it has free wi fi.  The owner Paul is a delightful brit who was very welcoming.  That evening it rained all night.  Paul said that it was some of the hardest rain he had ever heard.

December 5th:  We woke-up and Paul told us that the roads out south were closed because of the flooding but he thought they would be open later in the day.  We were planning on going south and heading towards Rotorua.  We leisurly got ready and headed south to see for ourselves how bad it was.  Here are the pictures.

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These kids were just passing the time and making the most of the flood.

After about two hours we decided to take a detour road through the mountains and then cut south towards Rotorua.  Not a great road for someone who gets carsick easily because of how windy it is but all in all the road conditions in New Zealand are very well maintained.

It continued to rain throughout the day.  We ended up driving all day and ended up in Rotorua.  This place is known for its geothermal areas and the Maori culture.   When we got there the rain let up a little and we explored the geothermal areas.  These little pits of steam produce a very nasty smell.

That evening we stayed in an motel that was not so clean or comfortable.  Don’t recall the name.

December 6th:  The sun started to shine on our third day in N.Z. and it was a welcoming site.  Sebastien researched and planned this days adventure.  We started the day making a stop at the blue and green lakes.  These are not far from Rotorua.

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This is a picture of the blue lake.  The green lake was not as stunning.

These were not far from Rotorua  and they were beautiful.  After this we headed towards  Lake Taupo.  Again, it was a long day of driving but seeing N.Z. could never get old.  My favorite views where when we passed sheep farms and there were hundreds of sheep scattered along the beautiful green hills.  Every time we passed them I cooed.

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The plan for that evening was to get to a place close to Waitomo Caves.  We ended up staying at a nice, though I think over priced, place right on the main road that heads towards the caves.

December 7th:  One of the “touristy” things that I wanted to do was to visit Waitomo Caves.  We bought a two cave pass and visited the glow worms and then went to the Ruakuri cave.

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If I were to do it again, I would have just gone to see the Ruakuri Caves because you get to see glow worms inside that cave as well.  The Glow worm cave is much smaller but a unique part of that cave is that during part of the cave you take a boat.  The Ruakuri Cave is very large.  It took about 2 1/2 hours and had a variety of unique rooms with different formations in it.

That evening we drove to Raglan, a surf town about 3 hours south of Auckland.  We found this amazing brand new two bedroom cottage with an brand new kitchen and flat screen t.v.  Most of these finds are in the Holiday parks and seem to becoming a bigger thing now in N.Z. and Australia.  We stayed in the Kopua Holiday Park right on the water and close to town.  Sebastien would say that they were the best cabins ever.

After settling in, I did some laundry and then walked to the beach (approx. 1 mile) along the river and soft muddy sand that felt like it was melting under my feet.  That evening we walked to the store and picked up food to make in our modern kitchen amenities.

December 8th:  With little debate we decided to stay another night in our adorable cabin in Raglan.  I was itching to surf and rented a board and wetsuit.  We checked out a few surf spots and I ended up paddling out at one of the beach breaks.  However, I spent 20 minutes trying to get out because it was really blown out and messy.  There was one other guy out there and we both weren’t catching much.  After about 45 minutes I turned around and noticed that I had drifted quite a ways down the beach.  I recalled a picture that I had seen the day before of this wave in Raglan that had a killer whale surfing in it.  I rarely get scared in the water about big fish but with that image, crappy waves, and unfamiliar surroundings I decided to head in.

Seb encouraged me to go out again at a reef break a little farther down.  So I wrapped myself in a towel and we drove to the fun left break.  I stayed out there about 2 hours, though I caught only 2 waves, it was great to get back into the water!  It was only the 2nd time I had surfed on our “surfing” trip.

That evening we cooked dinner and enjoyed our last night in our comfortable cabin.  After one month of traveling I am starting to miss a few things and knowing where I am sleeping every night is one of them.

Decmeber 9th:  We said good-bye to our Raglan cabin and headed to view the bridal veil waterfall.  This is a magnificent waterfall that really does look like a briadal veil.

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We started our way back to Auckland and choose to drive through the beech lands which are the “la jolla” towns of Auckland.  That evening we stayed at a comfort inn in the city because Sebastien had to eat at Queens Fairy Hotel.

December 10th:  We said good-bye to our rental car and headed to a hotel/motel near the airport which was not very impressive.  It was called Oakwood Manor.

December 11th:  Flew on Air New Zealand to Melbourne.  Good bye New Zealand we will be back.