Sunday, May 13, 2018

Touring New Zealand - March / April 2018

Even though we had toured most of New Zealand last year, we missed a few places that we wanted to see this year.  We figured, we won't be back for another season, so we might as well see what we can while we are here.
We stored our car in Whangarei, while we were in Fiji and picked it up again, when we came back.  So, it was nice we did not have to buy another car.  We packed up the car with our camping gear and set off.  The places we knew we wanted to see were the Coromandel Peninsula, Napier / Hawkes Bay area of the North Island and the Nelson / Golden Bay area of the South Island.  

Coromandel Peninsula
We went south and made our way to the Coromandel Peninsula. Coromandel looks like a panhandle east of Auckland.  You have the Hauraki Gulf to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the East.
Image result for coromandel peninsula map

We stopped to see the Square Kauri Tree.  It is the 15th largest kauri tree on the Coromandel Peninsula and is estimated to be 1,200 years old with a square trunk!.

Horatio turned 13 and celebrated with square kauri tree photo!

Geoff and Miriam celebrated their 17 year anniversary while touring the Coromandel peninsula.

We stopped in Coromandel town and Noah had a scooter break

While driving the 309 road to see the beautiful landscape, we passed a farm? with pigs and chickens running all over the raod.

Image result for opito bay coromandel map

We stopped in Opito Bay, which is the eastern end of the peninsula.  

A very popular tourist attraction is Hot Water Beach.  An underground river of hot water flows from the interior of the earth to the surface in the Pacific Ocean.  The water can be VERY hot.  You bring a shovel and dig your own hot tub!

Noah digging his hot tub

Ahh, nice place to relax after a boogie board and swim in the cold ocean.

We also hiked out to Cathedral Cove. A rock archway accessible only by boat or walking out to the beach.

After touring the Coromandel Peninsula, we drove back up to Auckland to spend Easter with our friends from SV Pesto.  They were coming back to NZ after spending 3 months in Brazil.  We wanted to spend time with them as they are winding down their cruising journey.   We went with them to the Auckland Zoo and to Rainbow's End, an amusement park, for Horatio's birthday.  We thought we would not see them again for another month as we planned on going to the South Island, and they were going to go back up north to Opua, where our boats are located.  It turned out, they decided to tour a few places in the South Island with us.  We were thrilled!

Geoff and Noah watching the approaching emu

You could easily reach over the railing to touch them

Tasmanian devil 

Brolga - looks like a flamingo, but grey



Rainbow's End amusement park for Horatio's 13th birthday

Paulo and Noah flying in space

We rented an AirBnB and had an Easter Egg 
hunt in the reserve behind the house

On the way down to Wellington, we stayed in Lake Taupo area.
We visited the Aratiatia Rapids, where they open the dam 3 times a day
 and produce hydro electricity for the area

Thermal pool located in a public park in Taupo

Geoff and Noah is the pool

Maybe some day

Ferry to the South Island
No pictures of the ferry or the scenery as we did this last year, but this time was the first that we saw sheep being transported to the South Island via ferry.
They are packed in there!


We took the ferry from Wellington to Picton, which is just north of Blenheim.  We drove to Nelson are to visit the Nelson and Golden Bay area north of Nelson.

We toured Pic's Peanut Butter Factory.  
Delicious Peanut butter with no added sugar or additives.  Delicious

The very small factory.  Love the local spirit.

View of bay in Nelson and 
Kahurangi National park in the background

Hanmer Springs

Drive from Nelson to Hanmer Springs.  It snowed and was VERY cold.

Beautiful snow covered mountains

View from the top of Conical Hill in Hanmer Springs

not sure if these are edible or poisonous?

View around Hanmer Springs

On the drive to Christchurch

Antarctic Center in Christchurch
Noah is a seal

Driving a rover

Husky Zone - Adrina feels how soft their coats are

Husky Zone - Raquel petting one of the rescued huskies

Hagglund ride - we went on a course to simulate what it feels 
like going over logs, steep hills, etc.  Very fun.

Simulator of Antarctic Storm.  It was -18 degrees C!

Penguin zone

The Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch
Outside of the Cathedral view of the stained glass that was 
reproduced from the original church that was destroyed in the 2006 earthquake

Inside the church - the beams are made of rolled cardboard

The tables, chairs, lectern, all made of cardboard

Downtown Christchurch

Petting the statue dogs

Margaret Mahy playground

Why not play some Space Invaders while walking the streets of Christchurch
 Napier is considered the Art Deco town of New Zealand. After a 7.9 earthquake pretty much destroyed the city in 1931, they decided to rebuild in Art Deco style.  They hold the Napier Art Deco Festival every year.

Manhole cover

Getting ready to celebrate ANZAC day

View of Hawkes Bay.  The bay is very large and has quite a large port.

Back up to the North Island and saying goodbyes. 
As the cyclone season starts to end in May, most cruisers start the process of making their way back up to the South Pacific Islands.  Usually, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caldenia and Australia or some to continue west to Indonesia, some go north to the Solomons or to the Marshall Islands.

Saying goodby to our good friends on SV Slow Flight, with SV Me Too, and SV Sky Blue Eyes

Fair winds and following seas to Slow Flight as they make their way to South Africa, via Vanuatu, Australia, Indonesia, across the Indian ocean.  We will miss Kimi and Trevor.