South On The Surf Highway – Taranaki

Mt TaranakiWe spent a last night in New Plymouth overlooking Fitzroy Beach looking south towards Port Taranaki. In the morning we headed back downtown and paid a quick visit to Puke Ariki, the museum. An animation of the volcanic history had been recommended to us and it was a fascinating recreation of the volcanic sequence of how Taranaki got to where it is now Continue reading

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West to Taranaki and the Wonderful Len Lye Centre

Len Lye Centre New PlymouthFrom the hot pools at Waikite Valley we headed west, more or less. The central North Island seems to be crisscrossed with State Highways never going exactly where we want to go. Travel is often a matter of leaping from one to the other; sort of like a giant game of snakes and ladders. It’s ladders when we and the GPS are on the same page and snakes when we have disagreements. We happily zig-zagged westwards, Continue reading

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Did I Mention Hills and Hot Pools Already? – Waikite Valley

Waikite hot poolsOn our last night in Tauranga we stayed at Sulphur Point down by the harbour which is one of our many home-away-from-homes. Our departure from town next morning was a bit disastrous; fuel contamination which is a long story getting longer. Eventually we headed for Rotorua Continue reading

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Another Day, Another Mount – Maunganui

Mount MaunganuiA couple of days after our big walk up Mt Te Aroha we were in Mt Maunganui  and Wyn had an appointment for an hour and I went for a walk for an hour. I was going to go for the walk around the Mount but then decided on a walk up the Mount. It is a wonderful viewpoint and it was a lovely day Continue reading

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A Mountain to Climb – Te Aroha

On Mt Te ArohaAfter doing some motorhome things in Pukekohe and some catching up on the way through Auckland; we headed for the Bay of Plenty. We realised that this gave us a chance for a walk up Mt Te Aroha which overlooks the town of Te Aroha. Mt Te Aroha also overlooks a lot of the middle part of the North Island. We’d seen it in passing several times and it looked like a long way up. It wouldn’t be a proper mountain if it wasn’t. Continue reading

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Starting South – Whangaparaoa Peninsula

WhangaparoaAfter all our adventures up the coast to the Bay of Islands, it was time to head back south. The journey up the coast was in lots of small steps where we could often see where we’d come from. Joining up the dots seems a nice way to travel especially when it involves back roads going the long way around. Going south we took to State Highway 1 which is mostly inland. Continue reading

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Gated Beaches of Northland

Tapuaetahi BeachBeach access is an issue all around New Zealand (and everywhere else I suppose). We do seem to feel that access to our sea shores is a right. We like to go to the beach and we don’t like being told we are not allowed. Access is blocked off up and down the country and the instances are growing and Northland does seem to be a particular case. Northland has some stunning beaches and getting to some is getting more difficult Continue reading

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A Mixed Blessing – Rangihoua Pa and the Marsden Cross

Marsden CrossWhile we were at Kerikeri I was keen to make another visit to the site of New Zealand’s first European settlement at the mission station established by Rev Samuel Marsden. This was in December 1814, at Oihi Bay way round at what is effectively the north head of the Bay of Islands. We made the first journey back in the winter of 2009. Continue reading

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Another Viewpoint – Bay of Islands

Opito BayOne of the things with the Bay of Islands is how to get an appreciation of the bay full of islands. You can visit Russell and Paihia and Kerikeri and wonder what it is all about. Probably boat trips give a better appreciation but one thing with boat trips is that they all tend to be at sea level. And cost chunks of money. Exploring by car from Kerikeri we came across an excellent view point above Opito Bay Continue reading

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Back To The Mainland – Kerikeri

Kerikeri walkHaving reached Rawhiti on the edge of the Bay of Islands by driving up the coast; we had come the long way round to Russell. And Russell is usually reached by ferry from Paihia or Opua. So heading back to Paihia by ferry felt like we were returning to the mainland from an island, even though we weren’t. Continue reading

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