North Island of New Zealand. ---October 2003.

After collecting the motorhome on the first day,

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we drove to Leigh(very beautiful) for lunch and then on to The Bay of Islands. We booked into the Haruru Falls Motor Inn and had a look at and walked around the falls.

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The next day we made a trip by ferry to Russell; the Hell Hole of the Pacific where pirates and not-so-friendly whalers lived and drank. It is now a rather exclusive living area with delightful homes and other buildings.

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During the day we rode quad bikes on a farmers cattle property. The farm was on a flood plain and had very steep sides of a river that we had to cross. It was great fun.

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On the second evening we attended a "Culture North Treaty of Waitangi Night Show". This was in the Meeting House right where the original Treaty of Waitangi was signed. The show illustrated lots of the Maori culture through the eyes of a Grandmother passing information on to her Grandson. The harmony of the singers in their traditional songs was wonderful.

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See a movie of some singing. Click here.

On the 3rd day we drove to the west coast along the huge Hokianga Harbour where we were surprised to see large sand dunes.
At the mouth of the harbour we headed south through the Kauri forests and saw "The Big Tree" which is a huge example of a Kauri tree with a girth around the tree larger than any I have ever seen.

See a movie of the Kauri tree. Click here.

We drove to Baylys Beach, booked into the camping ground and walked to the beach. Here local people drive their cars down onto the beach to meet each other for a chat or picnic.

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The next morning we had a long drive through Dargaville, Brynderwyn and Auckland to go east to the Coromandel. We stayed in a park at Te Punu where they have a huge Pohutukawa tree(NZ Christmas Tree).
See a movie of the Pohutukawa tree with its aerial roots. Click here.

The Coromandel is a beautiful area of NZ and the coastline up to the township of Coromandel is spectacular. We can also recommend the smoked mussels that you can buy from the Smokehouse in Coromandel. They were delicious.

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A long winging road down the east coast of the Coromandel led us through Whangamata and Tauranga to Rotorua where we stayed for 2 days and nights. Rotorua is an amazing place with its thermal activity everywhere including in people's yards, down the streets and in the parks and gardens. Activity in house yards and in parks may have boiling water and mud spurting into the air and the bubbling of underground water could be heard everywhere. The Arts and Crafts Centre had many examples of Maori culture as well as thermal activity to see. The Wai-o-Tapu area was spectacular and should not be missed as it had pools of bubbling colourful water and lakes of vivid green, yellow, brown, red and black. The Champagne pools were also interesting. Just along the road was a geyser at the Mud Pool where at 10:15am the water spurted into the air with some assistance from detergent.

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See a movie of water under the gutter edge boiling. Click here.

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See a movie of the boiling mud and water. Click here.

A visit was made to Skyline where we rode a gondola to the top of the mountain and rode on a luge back to the bottom. What great fun that was.

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While staying in Rotorua we went to Rotorua Mitai which offered Maori culture, singing, dancing, a hungi, a bush walk to glow worm caves and a sacred spring. This was all held in the early evening and was quite spectacular. The maori culture show of welcome, challenge, speeches, haka, singing and dancing was wonderful with lots of explanation of the meaning of it all. And the food was good too.
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We left Rotorua for Lake Taupo but we could see snow on the top of Mt Ruapehu so we drove to it to find that the skiing season had not finished so we rode the chairlifts to the top to take in the views.
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We stayed near Waitomo Caves and visited the limestone and glow worm caves on the last day before driving to Auckland and returning our motorhome.
What a great holiday we had in NZ.