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Auckland - then to Pukekohe

07011415.jpg (45776 byte)07011417.jpg (77230 byte)

Land sighted.

Looks like a big city!

07011419.jpg (51021 byte)07011420.jpg (52456 byte) Getting ready to land.

There's the freeway out of town we'll soon be on.

07011503.jpg (56903 byte)07011504.jpg (59283 byte) Staying with friends just south of Auckland in Pukekohe.
07011612.jpg (65855 byte)07011614.jpg (67025 byte) Time for a swim with our host and their daughter.
07011601.jpg (60308 byte)07011605.jpg (68836 byte) Downtown Pukekohe.
07012401.jpg (44297 byte) The old fire station, now a pub.




North to Cape Reinga

07011724.jpg (49643 byte)07011722.jpg (62113 byte) Kawakawa

North of Auckland 

07011721.jpg (64688 byte)07011718.jpg (56718 byte) Bay of Islands Vintage Railway. We stopped here last visit, too
07011716.jpg (51342 byte)07011719.jpg (47240 byte) They are busy renovating the train cars so they can get the train running. 
07011732.jpg (50396 byte)07011735.jpg (62780 byte) Kerikeri

Mission Station 1819-1848

07011737.jpg (69569 byte)07011742.jpg (60828 byte) Kerikeri River Track

We stopped and took a walk through a forest, that was more like a jungle.

07011741.jpg (70237 byte)07011740.jpg (58485 byte) Historic Power House

Along the track, you pass the remains of a power house, built as part of a hydro-electric generation scheme which operated between 1930 and 1967.

07011747.jpg (56184 byte)07011751.jpg (51107 byte) Park area with big trees.

A popular place to swim along a stream.

07011762.jpg (59607 byte) One of the many "crowded" beaches.
70118177.jpg (70694 byte)70118178.jpg (48557 byte) Kaitaia

Historic Wireless B&B, our home for two nights. This historic homestead was built in 1912. Set on five acres, in a semi-rural setting, 2½ miles (4 km) from Kaitaia township and just 15 minutes from 90 Mile Beach

70118171.jpg (53780 byte)70118005.jpg (55832 byte) Cape Reinga & the 90 Mile Beach

We went with Sand Safaris on an all-day tour. The first stop was at The Ancient Kauri Kingdom.

70118015.jpg (58109 byte)70118006.jpg (58121 byte) Massive kauri logs and stumps extracted from local swampland.

A sofa made of kauri and behind it a giant tree stump with a spiral staircase inside.

70118014.jpg (47169 byte)70118007.jpg (45956 byte) The spiral staircase inside the kauri stump.
70118022.jpg (54583 byte)70118033.jpg (62712 byte) Gumdiggers Park was our next stop, where we were given a very informative tour. From 1870 to 1920 gumdigging was a major source of income in Northland.

Gumdigger hut, made of jute sacks stretched over a frame.

70118037.jpg (55555 byte)70118043.jpg (63119 byte) Gumwashing machine built in the 1900's to help extract gum more efficiently.

Gumstore, where the gumdiggers could buy needed food and equipment.

70118048.jpg (58170 byte)70118050.jpg (48890 byte) Gumdigging ceased around 1950 when artificial substances were developed as a replacement. Previously the gum was worth more than gold.

Holes left by the gumdiggers.

70118060.jpg (56146 byte)70118059.jpg (46821 byte) A quick stop at Houhora.

Once upon a time a man of all means started a store here and bought the gum (same as amber) from local gumdiggers. He then sold them supplies. Then he opened the bar and sold drinks. Then he put on his sheriff's badge and arrested them for getting drunk. THEN he acted as Justice of the Peace and fined them! The gumdigger went home with his pockets empty. 

70118087.jpg (39589 byte) Rarawa Beach with its silica sands used for making glass. It is however no longer allowed to extract the sand from this site. 
70118102.jpg (47499 byte)70118104.jpg (60379 byte) The lighthouse at Cape Reinga in the distance.

The Pacific Ocean and Tasmen Sea meet, creating waves from opposite directions.

70118109.jpg (39619 byte)70118113.jpg (75672 byte) Signposts showing how far we are from various large cities.

Lighthouse at Cape Reinga.

70118115.jpg (58304 byte)70118132.jpg (49061 byte) Sighting the sand dunes on the way to 90 Mile Beach.
70118139.jpg (44821 byte)70118148.jpg (64151 byte) Te Paki Steam next to the sand dunes.

The bus drives right down the stream!

70118141.jpg (45691 byte)70118143.jpg (54987 byte) Using plastic sleds like we use in snow, the now call them toboggans and slide down the Te Paki Dunes.

A famous tobogganer from the far north.

70118152.jpg (42101 byte)70118154.jpg (50227 byte) Hole in the rock, along 90 Mile Beach.
70118156.jpg (41392 byte)70118169.jpg (45177 byte) Back from the tour - washing all the sand off the bus.
70119003.jpg (66846 byte)70119008.jpg (49852 byte) Driving back towards Pukekohe

The Mangamuka Gorge is at the base of the Maungataniwha Range. The mountainous forested area contains giant kauri trees. The settlement of Mangamuka Bridge is at the point where State Highway 1 crosses the Mangamuka River .

And then a lake.

70119012.jpg (45752 byte)70119013.jpg (53286 byte) Hokianga

We stopped in town and looked around awhile, as the ferry that goes hourly had just left.

70119024.jpg (48463 byte)70119025.jpg (56604 byte) Taking the ferry. It transports up to 18 cars at a time. It's a lot like many of the ferries crossing rivers in Denmark.
70119039.jpg (65172 byte)70119044.jpg (51539 byte) Continuing along the road, sand dunes and water in the distance.

Sand dunes down to the water. Another crowded beach.

70119049.jpg (46526 byte)70119049A.jpg (61682 byte) Opononi

A short distance after the ferry we stopped for a picnic lunch and Louie took a swim.

70119054.jpg (66751 byte)70119053.jpg (57491 byte) View along the beach from the little park we found.

A nap under the trees before continuing on.

70119069.jpg (52204 byte)70119073.jpg (61987 byte) Tane Mahuta

Largest living kauri tree in New Zealand, it is estimated to be 2000 years old.
Trunk height: 55.8 ft (17.7 meters)
Total height: 167.3 ft (51.5 meters)
Trunk girth: 42.6 ft (13.8 meters)
Trunk volume: 8,616.8 sq ft (244.5 cu meters)

70119087.jpg (59689 byte)70119088.jpg (51129 byte) Big rocks sticking out of the ground.
70119103.jpg (45577 byte)70119111.jpg (47277 byte) Passing Auckland on our way back to Pukekohe..




Day Trips . . . and evening

07012003.jpg (49703 byte)07012168.jpg (62602 byte) We passed Hobbiton, where part of The Lord of the Rings movie was filmed.

Pretty scenery.

07012034.jpg (50970 byte)07012037.jpg (62933 byte) Visiting relatives in Te Puke

Fun to play dress-up.

Admiring the hard work done on the house before leaving.

07012071.jpg (60193 byte)07012073.jpg (48899 byte) Passing through Paeroa, the home of L & P.

Downtown Paeroa.

07012128.jpg (54691 byte)07012129.jpg (57947 byte) Hunua Falls

Crossing the foot bridge to reach the falls.

07012136.jpg (67088 byte)07012139.jpg (51124 byte) Impressive falls.
07012144.jpg (64250 byte)07012145.jpg (52800 byte) Stopped to see some sheep.

More pretty scenery.

07012154.jpg (47963 byte)07012158.jpg (51877 byte) Yet another crowded beach.

We had to stop and cool off our tummies.

07012305.jpg (56518 byte)07012306.jpg (54870 byte) Pukekohe Hill

The view towards town from the hill.

07012317.jpg (64764 byte)07012318.jpg (45576 byte) VIP's on the hill.
07012331.jpg (49937 byte)07012354.jpg (59001 byte) Meeting friends in Auckland

We met up with friends on a tour from the States. The last time we were all together was at a "pumpkin conference" last September in Asheville, NC.

07012341.jpg (62331 byte)07012342.jpg (58772 byte) We ate such a yummy meal that it was nice to walk it off afterwards.
07012329.jpg (50561 byte)07012364.jpg (50557 byte) Building and mirror reflections in skyscrapers are favorite images. 

We couldn't decide which of the many yachts in the harbor to buy, but this one with the Sky Tower in the background looked pretty good!

07012371.jpg (56270 byte)07012372.jpg (56758 byte) The Sky Tower mirrored in a skyscraper.

The Sky Tower by night.

07012425.jpg (48819 byte)07012424.jpg (46832 byte) Auckland Botanic Gardens

We spent a few hours at the impressive botanic gardens, which we also visited on our last trip.

07012423.jpg (65792 byte)07012422.jpg (51913 byte) With an area of 156 acres (64 hectares), there is plenty of room for expansion.
07012406.jpg (66561 byte)07012421.jpg (56669 byte) Native plants have their own area.

Roses have an even larger area.

07012414.jpg (67937 byte)07012416.jpg (69322 byte) Doug's very own on display:




Heading South

07012615.jpg (62882 byte)07012612.jpg (53180 byte) Hamilton

Our first stop was to have brunch with good friends who've recently moved after many years in Sweden and Denmark. They invited us into their beautiful home  with a marvelous view of Waitake River, the longest river in New Zealand.

07012630.jpg (59691 byte)07012629.jpg (49166 byte) A short break

So much magnificent scenery. Steep steps down to a stream.

07012625.jpg (72081 byte)07012632.jpg (48656 byte) Looking up from beside the stream. A restful place.
07012658.jpg (69905 byte)07012672.jpg (55883 byte) A short tunnel through rock.

New Plymouth

We strolled along the beach.

07012682.jpg (54105 byte)07012683.jpg (47693 byte) After dinner in a beach-side restaurant we visited the Festival of Lights in Pukekura Park that our host & hostess at the B&B told us about. It was spectacular with lighting all through the park and free concerts. Many people were out and about on such a nice evening.
07012667.jpg (51269 byte)07012668.jpg (55940 byte) The Cottage by The Sea

First bed and breakfast we stayed at. Marvelous view from the whole yard out to the Tasmen Sea. Our hostess being from California, we found much to talk about. The delicious avocado & tomato omelette for breakfast was yummy beyond description.

07012703.jpg (44177 byte)07012705.jpg (64558 byte) Our host and hostess suggested we stroll through the grounds before leaving. Hidden behind the tall wind breaks were avocado trees.

Also hidden from view was an exquisite sunken garden.

07012714.jpg (66585 byte)07012731.jpg (45613 byte) Egmont National Park

Not far from New Plymouth is Mt. Taranaki, aka Mt. Egmont. The top was however hidden from view today by dark clouds.

07012749.jpg (63195 byte)07012747.jpg (72455 byte) The road was built around some large trees.

It was a steep climb down many steps (100+) to see Dawson Falls.

07012738.jpg (65752 byte)07012742.jpg (55978 byte) The resulting view was however well worth it.

Our last night on the north island was spent at a delightful B&B, Braemer House, built in 1895, restored to its original "Old World charm". We had a door out to the veranda, where we sat and enjoyed the quiet evening atmosphere.

07012756.jpg (60273 byte)07012764.jpg (50491 byte) Walking around town, we saw NZ's last paddle wheel, the Waimarie. It sunk many years ago but was later taken up and totally restored. It had already returned from it's last run of the day.

The Johnston building, one of the first to be restored in the heritage revival of the 1990's.

07012766.jpg (60816 byte)07012767.jpg (57736 byte) Walking through town we saw many exquisitely restored old buildings.

A delightful town to visit.

07012801.jpg (63673 byte)07012804.jpg (65982 byte) Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Museum at Ohakea Base outside of Foxton.
07012818.jpg (56945 byte)07012817.jpg (41959 byte) Stopped for a picnic lunch at Paraparaumu Beach and saw the sign for "Open Home" at beachside apartments across the street. Couldn't resist looking! The standard was much like our condo, but the prices were five times as much! The circular window is in the bathroom.
07012825.jpg (57805 byte)07012827.jpg (59904 byte) Wellington

Left our rental car at the ferry terminal and walked into town. Revisited the Museum of Wellington City & Sea and saw the 3-D hologram tale of how Maui tricked his grandmother into giving him fire. Unfortunately there was too little time to revisit the fabulous Te Papa Museum.

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So many things to see and so little time, as we opted for continuing direct to the south island without spending any extra days in Wellington.

We took the Interislander ferry to the south island and were met there by our hosts.



To be continued on the South Island




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