A Travellerspoint blog

Bay of Islands

Sunday

sunny 28 °C
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This morning we travelled aboard a boat to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock. We were fortunate to see a group of bottle nosed dolphins on our journey which was very special. Stopping first at Russell and then passing by various Islands including Motuarohia, Moturua, Waewaetorea
and stopping at Otehei Bay to explore the breathtaking views. In the afternoon I went to the small township of Kerikeri and to a chocolate factory and winery......Then to the Stone Store and Kemp House, two of the oldest buildings in New Zealand The Stone Store opened for business in 1836 and has been trading ever since selling a diverse range of goods. The Kerikeri Mission Statiom established in 1819 is one of the first places in New Zealand where Maori invited visitors to live among them. Built under the protection of local chiefs, who were keen to harness the trade and technology of Europe. The Church Missionary Society endeavoured to spread the christian message amongst Maori and the Stone store was originally a warehouse for CMS as well as a trading post, library, barracks and boys' school and general store as it still is today. Kemp House was a simple family home completed in 1821 by missionary carpenters and Maori sawyers and fascinating to see how people lived in those times.

This evening several of our group have been on Darryl's Dinner Cruise which has been an incredible dining experience with the most delicious green limpet muscles, tiger prawns and the most succulent tender cut NZ lamb! We departed from Paihia wharf cruising up the Waitangi River to Harvard Falls a most delightful two and a half hour cruise and lots of fun from the captain and staff.

As a bit of fun I have not told my travelling companions what I do for living I am offering a bottle of wine to the first person to guess! So far the suggestions have been hilarious ......an architect, a psychologist, a valet to the royals, a prince, a doctor, a vicar, a medium, a lecturer, a doctor, a film director an artist and a food critic!!!! Can't wait to see what else they come up with!!

Posted by Keithviner 01:37 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Auckland to the Bay of Islands

Saturday

sunny 27 °C
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Today we left Auckland behind and traveled north to Paihia in the Bay of Islands On the way we passed through some beautiful scenery stopping at Parry Kauri Park to see magnificent examples of Kauri Trees Then on to Whangarei for lunch before enjoying an excellent guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the location of the signing of the treaty between the Maori and the British. Soli our guide was very well informed being a direct decent of the Maori tribesmen who signed the treaty in 1840 We learned the meaning behind Maori protocol and culture with a presentation outside the Whare Runanga (meeting house) completed in 1940 to mark the centenary of the treaty. We visited The Treaty House built in 1832 as a four roomed home of British resident James Busby We saw fine carvings representing the major Maori tripes and saw the 35m Waka Taua (war canoe) also built for the centenary. This evening we enjoyed a delicious buffet supper at the Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands and after supper I walked into Paihia to see the colourful piano on the Beach front which anyone can play!

Posted by Keithviner 00:09 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Third Day in Auckland Start of my Tour

Friday

rain 22 °C
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So the official start of my Tour today. I have left the Sofitel Hotel and checked into The Cowne Plaza near the Sky Tower Sadly the weather has been rather wet today but have still enjoyed walking around the city. I went to the Maritine Museum this morning which was fascinating seeing both old and new vessels from the past and discovering how people left the UK to emigrate to New Zealand. Then right up to date with the America' Cub winning vessel in pride of place in the building. An altogether interesting attraction not to be missed on a visit to Auckland. Near the Museum In the Viaduct Harbour were some beautiful yachts moored both small and huge!!

Off to meet my fellow travellers now and the sun has just appeared!

Posted by Keithviner 20:07 Archived in New Zealand Tagged auckland Comments (0)

Second Day in Auckland

Thursday


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Second day in Auckland so after a leisurely breakfast at the hotel I decided to take the Hop on Hop off bus to discover more about the city. The pass allows unlimited travel and discounted entry into several attractions. From Princes Corner near the Harbour, the first stop is Bastion Point lookout which offers panoramic views over the city and the Harbour. Next to Kelly Tarton's Sea Life Aquarium, he was a Kiwi Adventurer 1937-1985. The Aquarium built in disused, thankfully, sewage storage tanks houses native and exotic marine life including Sharkes and Antarctic Penguins and preserved artefacts from Captain Robert Scott's Hut from his South Pole Expedition in 1912. Back along Tamaki Drive with some amazing houses to the beautiful Parnell Rose Gardens. On to Holy Trinity Cathedral, A Pacific Gothic style Anglican Cathedral with a beautiful stained glass window. I found out the the organ is being replace which will be the biggest instrument in New Zealand due to be completed this year at a cost of 4 million dollars! Past the Auckland Museum I visited yesterday and on to Eden Garden, a hidden paradise on the slopes of Mount Eden an extinct volcano with impressive views over Auckland. Back to th Museum again before visiting Parnell Village with its boutique shops and charming historic buildings before passing the Civic Theatre and past the Iconic Sky Tower before returning to Princes Wharf where all the huge Cruise Ships dock. An interesting and tiring day so back to the hotel for a swim and jacuzzi I think!!

Posted by Keithviner 21:51 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Auckland

Wednesday

semi-overcast 21 °C
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Arrived in Auckland after a 9 and a half hour flight from Singapore. Also known as the 'City of Sails' This means the time difference from home is now 13 hours ahead I am staying at the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour Hotel overlooking the Harbour.

Today I have been on the Auckland City and West Coast Tour with a small group of 9 guests and a very enthusiastic guide called Sofia who was very knowledgable with a great sense of humour We started by driving over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and Tamaki Drive to amazing views over the Hauraki Gulf including the the mystic island volcano Rangitoto. Then on to Devonport, the picturesque old marine village on the North Shore and up to Mount Victoria with a wonderful view back across to Auckland City. Driving back to Auckland Domain to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and a Maori experience which was brilliant to hear and see the Haka performed! After lunch and a visit to the Winter Gardens we travelled to Aucklands Wild West Coast the famous Waitakere Ranges with its native rain forest, unique flora and forna, soaring cliffs, waterfalls, roaring surf at Pipa Bay with volcanic black sand beaches and native New Zealand Christmas Trees (Pohutukawa Trees) and amazing Kauri Trees.

All in all a great day exploring the city and leaning about New Zealand's history and the Polynesian people and seeing and experiencing the beautiful scenery

Posted by Keithviner 12:04 Archived in New Zealand Tagged auckland Comments (0)

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