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Tracey’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 24 Mar 2007

Location: Hastings, New Zealand

MapWe are in Hastings now (On East Coast North Island in Hawkes Bay)and it seems this shall be our home for a while as from Monday we shall be picking some Braeburn and Pink Ladies. We shall be camping in an apple orchard, cooking our dinner on camp fires and washing ourselves in the river nearby. Occassionally we may decide we want a hot shower and spend some money on a campsite. This area has many fruit orchards and plenty of vineyards.

Just had a Manuca Honey Ice cream. We have one just about daily as there are so many different flavours to try. The ice creams here are usually about $1.50 which is no more than 60p (cheapest was in Raglan at $1 on West Coast) and a single cone is enough as the scoop is very generous being well packed into the cone and actually consist of two big scoops.

We were in Rotorua for a few days and visted bubbling hot mud pools, pools without the mud in them, and geysers. We went on a paddle boat on Lake Rotorua. There would be steam rising through cracks in the pavement. Here the Earth's crust is at its thinnest at 3km.

From Rotorua we went to Whakatane. On the way way we stopped at a maze which kept us busy for about an hour. At first I thought it was simple but it was a little difficult finding my way back out but managed to find my way out before Sharron. At Whatakane we went on a boat trip to White Island where we had a tour of an active volcano. Luckily the volcano did not erupt on us the day we visited. I don't think the gas masks and hard hats would have saved us from the lava, but it was quite fascinating. The best part was on the way when we had dolphins swimming alongside the boat leaping out of the water, there were so many - perhaps 50-60. On our way back the sea was quite rough and the waves splashed over the top deck getting anyone outside soaking wet.

From Whakatane we headed south going along the coast road to Gisbourne. We went to the most Eastern point of New Zealand - the East Cape. The drive was very scenic with many fields of maize which are now golden, and fields of beef cattle, and nearer to Gisborne there were sheep. We stayed in Gisborne for a day and looked for work but decided to head further south. Whilst there we went to a Bulmers Cider factory and did some cider testing, which was followered by some beer tastings at another brewery. We stayed in Napier for a night which is the Art Deco capital of the World. The town was rebuilt in Art Deco style of an earthquake in 1931. In Napier we had a tour of a sheep skin tannery which was also quite interesting.

Still the sun is shining but it is getting a bit colder at night now. We have been quite lucky with only a few days of rain on our whole trip so far. Just realised I am going to have my birthday in the winter for the first time.