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shav’s Travel Diary

Friday, 26 Sep 2008

Location: North Island, New Zealand

MapComing back to NZ is like visiting an old friend and we both feel very comfortable here. We did actually see old friends too. We stayed with Brian and Jay in Auckland - the finest B+B in the world should anyone be visiting. Also, Allison met Liz whom she used to work with in Sunderland half a lifetime ago. It was lovely to meet her and her daughter Rhona.
Auckland was sunny but cool, just going into spring here, which is fab especially as you are going into winter! Liz showed us the sights of Auckland and we had a lovely couple of days before moving onto Waihi beach (site of NZ largerst goldmine), Pukehina Beach and then to Ohope beach. We visited White Island, NZ only active marine volcano where you can go through the crater - see photo of Allison geared up!
We then drove through the Waioeka Gorge to Gisborne, the most easterly city in the world, the first place in NZ to see the sun and where Captain Cook landed in 1769. So lots of Cook stuff here and also earthquakes, although Allison says she is yet to feel the earth move.
Napier is an art deco town, after being destroyed in the 1930's by an earthquake. More importantly, its a wine producing area and we did a winery tour on bikes - perfectly legal, apparently, but great fun. The tour includes The Mission which is the oldest winery in NZ.
We then had a bit of a departure and drove off to Mt Ruapehu, a place we visted previously in 2005 with Chris and Kevin. Only this time it was covered in snow! So we had a ski lesson, on the Happy Valley beginners slope! But it was great fun. Allison hurt her arm when I crashed into her exiting a ski lift and I fell over at least five times!
But not bad for oldies and we may even try again on the south island!