Monday, March 31, 2008

Paihia, New Zealand - March 31, 2008

I made it to New Zealand, and unfortunately left my travel log at the hotel, but all I can say is it has been a beautiful trip so far. Flew into Auckland, had the best latte of my life there. Then drove up to Paihia (hub of the Bay of Islands) the first day. Yes, NZ is as beautiful as the rumors. Lots of rolling hills, cows, sheep, beautiful beaches and ocean. Tropical warm weather. Good company. Very friendly, hospitable people. On the way up to Paihia, we took a driving detour to Sandy Bay via the Tutukaka Coast. Upon arrival in Paihia, we checked out some of the local bars, and decided that Monteiths is our new favorite beer. We sat on the deck of the Aquarium Bar and watched the fishermen pull up with a 400 lb. marlin. It's a pretty quiet place, met a couple from Pacific Beach in San Diego.

Our first full day in Paihia, we took an awesome cruise around the "Bay of Islands" and tracked down a pod of dolphins. At 8 am we departed from Paihia Wharf. We were able to lay down on the bow of the boat and hang our heads off to get a close encounter. The dolphins were a foot away from our cool! The clear waters range from turquoise to deep blue. I took loads of pictures of inlets, coves, and the gorgeous coastline while touring around on the boat. We were dropped of at Urupukapuka Island, the largest of over 140 islands in the bay. We took a nice hike up to a lookout point where we could see a desolate beach on Urupukapuka Bay and sheep grazing on the hillside, then had a nice lunch at Otehei Bay and then it was onto a different boat and off the see the Hole in the Rock off Cape Brett. We were able to pass through in our boat which was cool. We then cruised through the other islands for more spectacular views on the way back to the wharf, even spotting a seal resting on a rock. We capped off the day with drinks a green mussles with our new Aussie friends, Mick and Julie at 35 degrees south. A beer led to many and next thing you know I was dancing with a girl from Cosivo.

Today we drove down to Taupo, and will be here for four days. Loads of horses, cows and sheep pastures on the way down. There is so much to do and see and the time goes by so fast!!! Hopefully I will get my notes and write more soon.


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