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THE CULTURAL NORTH ISLAND

all seasons in one day

THE JOURNEY FROM PICTON TO WELLINGTON WAS A BEAUTIFUL 3 HOUR BOAT JOURNEY WAVING GOODBYE TO THE GLORIOUS SOUTH ISLAND AND VERY EXCITED ABOUT SEEING THE NORTH ISLAND.
I ARRIVE IN WELLINGTON AND ALTHOUGH A FAIRLY LARGE CITY IT IS ACTUALLY QUITE A CUTE PLACE AND NOT TOO BUSY AT ALL. I STAY AT A CUTE HOSTEL WHICH IS JOINED TO A HOTEL WITH A RATHER LOUD BAR BUT ALL IS GOOD. I SPEND 2 DAYS SEEING AS MUCH OF THE CITY AS POSSIBLE. THE MUSEUM HERE IS AMAZING YOU COULD SPEND THE WHOLE DAY HERE AND ITS FREE JUST HOW I LIKE IT. IT HAS AN AMAZING MAORI SECTION WHICH IS VERY INTRESTING.
MY NEXT STOP IS NAPIER ITS A FAIRLY QUIET PLACE NOT ALOT TO DO EXCEPT WONDER AROUND LOOKING AT THE LOVELY ART DECO BUILDINGS AND LOTS OF EXPENSIVE HOUSING. ONLY HERE 1 NIGHT SO TAKE A WALK UP TO A LOOK OUT FOR NICE VIEWS OF THE PLACE.
NEXT DESTINATION IS LAKE TAUPO. I LIKE IT HERE THOUGH THE WEATHER HAS TURNED A LITTLE NASTY. I HIRE A BIKE FROM THE HOSTEL AND RIDE SOME TRAILS TO THE HUKA FALLS WHICH ARE PRETTY IMPRESSIVE AND THEN ONTO AN AREA CALLED CRATERS OF THE MOON AN AREA WITH LOTS OF THERMAL ACTIVITY.I WAS HOPING TO DO THE TONGARIRO CROOSING FROM HERE,IT IS AN 8 HR HIKE OVER VOLCANOES WHICH IS MENT TO BE ONE OF THE BEST WALKS IN THE WORLD HOWEVER THE WEATHER WASNT GOOD AND APPARANTLY ITS FAIRLY DANGEROUS WITHOUT CLEAR VISIBILITY SO THATS SOMETHING FOR MY NEXT TRIP !!

MY NEXT STOP IS ROTARUA. WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS STOP AS THIS IS A VERY CULTURAL PLACE WITH LOTS OF MAORI HISTORY ALL OF WHICH FASCINATES ME. I GO TO A CULTURAL PERFORMANCE ON THE EVENING WHICH INCLUDED A WELCOMING CEREMONY,A CONCERT WITH THE HAKA,A DELICIOUS MEAL CALLED THE HANGI COOKED BENEATH THE EARTH USING THE NATURAL HEATED AREAS AND THEN A CLOSING CEREMONY. THE NIGHT WAS FABULOUS.

MY NEXT MAIN STOP IS AUCKLAND AND ON THE WAY I STOP OFF AT MOUNT MANGANUI TO SEE A MAGNIFICENT SUN SET.
AUCKLAND IS HOW I EXPECTED...OVER POPULATED,TOO MUCH TRAFFIC AND FAR TOO STRESSFUL. OR MAYBE THATS JUST BECAUSE IM NOW A LITTLE TOO CHILLED OUT.
MORE THAN HALF THE POPULATION OF NZ LIVES IN AUCKLAND BUT I GUESS ITS STILL NOTHING LIKE THE MAJOR CITIES IN THE UK.
A SKY TOWER,LOTS AND LOTS OF SHOPS OH AND SUSHI..... NOT HAD ANY SINCE OZ.
THE SAILING BOATS CRUISE TO SOME OF THE NEARBY ISLANDS BUT ITS QUITE EXPENSIVE AND THE WEATHER ISNT REALLY RIGHT FOR SAILING.

FROM AUCKLAND I TRAVEL NORTH TO THE BAY OF ISLANDS. I STAY IN A PLACE CALLED PAIHIA. IT IS A VERY PRETTY SETTING. I PASS THROUGH WAITANGI A SPECIAL PLACE OF HISTORY AS IT IS WHERE THE TREATY BETWEEN THE MAORI CHIEFS AND THE QUEEN VICTORIAS GOVERNMENT WAS SIGNED IN 1840.
FROM THE BAY OF ISLANDS WE TRAVEL NORTH TOWARDS CAPE REIGNA THE MOST NORTHERN TIP OF NEW ZEALAND.CAPE REIGNA LIGHTHOUSE LOOKING OUT INTO THE OCEAN HAS A GREAT END OF THE WORLD FEEL TO IT ! DIRECTLY BELOW IS WHERE THE PACIFIC OCEAN AND THE TASMAN SEA MEET.
WE TRAVEL ALONG 90 MILE BEACH ON A SUPER BUS BEFORE HAVING A SCARY SAND BOARD SURF DOWN THE HUGE SAND DUNES. LOTS OF SCREAMING AND SAND EVERYWHERE(AND I MEAN EVERYWHERE)
ON THE WAY BACK DOWN TO AUCKLAND WE STOP IN HOKIANGA THE HOME OF WAIPOUA FORREST WITH ITS RIDICULOUSLY MASSIVE KAURI TREES SOME 1000 YEARS OLD KNOWN TO THE MAORI PEOPLE AS THE GODS OF THE FORREST. WONDERING AROUND THE FORREST IM LOOKING AROUND FOR THIS HUGE TREE I DIDNT QUITE EXPECT IT TO BE SO BIG ITS AMAZING.

OK...SO IVE DONE MOST OF THE NORTH ISLAND BUT IM THINKING OF STAYING A WHILE LONGER....SO ACTING ON IMPULSE I HAVE DECIDED TO HEAD BACK TO ROTARUA FOR A LITTLE WORK...AND PLAY FOR ANOTHER 5 WEEKS.
ROTARUA IS CALLED THE SULPHUR CITY GIVING AN INSIGHT OF WHATS HAPPENING BENEATH THE EARTHS CRUST WITH ITS THERMAL SPRINGS,BUBBLING MUD AND GEYSERS.
IM LIVING AND WORKING IN A HOSTEL CALLED PLANET NOMADS ITS VERY SMALL,FRIENDLY AND THE OWNERS GRAEME AND FLICK ARE REALLY LOVELY PEOPLE. I FEEL REALLY AT HOME HERE AND THE OTHER STAFF PAUL A KEEN BIKER AND 3 CANADIAN GIRLS ARE JUST GREAT.
ROTARUA IS SURROUNDED BY MANY BEAUTIFUL LAKES SOME OF WHICH IVE PEDALLED ROUND TAKING IN THE FANTASTIC VIEWS FROM EVERY ANGLE. LAKE ROTARUA,OKAREKA,TARAWERARA,ROTOITI AND THE BEAUTIFUL BLUE AND GREEN LAKES.

IVE SPENT MOST OF MY TIME IN ROTARUA ON A BIKE EITHER RIDING AROUND THE LAKES OR MOUNTAIN BIKING WITH PAUL IN THE REDWOODS WHICH IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS IVE EVER DONE. ROTARUA IS WORLD FAMOUS FOR ITS MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAILS AND IVE HAD AN AMAZING TIME BRAVING SOME OF THEM ON A WICKED BIKE WHICH I BORROWED.
IM WRITING THIS AT A SAD TIME AS IM LEAVING ROTARUA IN THE MORNING AFTER 5 AMAZING WEEKS WHERE I HAVE MET FRIENDS FOR LIFE AND HAD EXPERIENCES ILL NEVER FORGET. THE GIRLS ARE PLANNING A BIT OF A BASH LATER BUT IM HOPING NOT TO BE TOO HUNGOVER AS I TRAVEL ON TO THAMES TOMORROW AND THEN TO THE CORROMANDEL FOR THE WEEKEND.
IM KINDA SAD:( BUT HAPPY AT THE SAME TIME. . . A FUNNY FEELING.

Posted by TUTS 19:57 Archived in New Zealand

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