Hi everyone, been pretty busy over the last week. Here's the highlights...
We spent a couple of touristy days in Auckland, visiting Kelly Tarlton's Underwater world, a poor man's Deep Sea World but with a cool penguin enclosure, and going up the Sky Tower. We also went on a wee boat trip out to a volcanic island, Rangitoto.
We had a night out with Laura and John on Friday and set off on Saturday afternoon in our hire car to go camping in Northland, the area north of Auckland.
Our first stop was some random hick campsite...think Deliverance and you're getting close! We missed the night walk in the forest we had planned so we had to spend far more time in that campsite than we were comfortable with!
Got out of there quick smart on Sunday morning and went to Kia Iwi lakes. We spent a few nice hours there on our wee granny chairs, eating wee granny fudge on the beach.
Heading north, we stopped to see the biggest kauri tree in New Zealand, Tane Mahuta, before making it to our next overnight stop, Opononi.
In Opononi we learned all about the legend of "Opo the Gay Dolphin". This was from the 50's, back when gay meant gay. He lives on in the hearts and minds of anyone who is lucky enough to know the amazing story...
The next morning we went on a couple of the walks in the area then remembered that we're not 80 years old and upped the excitement level by going sandboarding. We were dropped off on the sand dunes across the bay from the town. We were the only ones there! Sandboarding involves lying yourself on a boogie board and throwing yourself down the (really steep!) sand dunes. Pretty exciting stuff but the walk back up the dunes was a killer.
Our next stop was Paihia, in the Bay of Islands. We set`up camp in a really nice resort and went canoeing on the river beside us.
The next morning we set off on our all day boat trip through the Bay of Islands. Only about 5 minutes into the journey the skipper spotted a pod of dolphins. The next thing we know we are being instructed to "grab a mask and snorkel"..."hurl yourself into the boom net(see photo)"..."GO GO GO!!!" Before we know what's happening, we're in the water with about thirty other people, scrambling after a couple of dolphins that we were never going to get anywhere close to. This, apparently, was our lifetime experience, "swimming with dolphins".
The next part of our journey involved the boat squeezing through a hole in a rock. We were then dropped off on an uninhabited island where we sat on the bouncy grass and ate our lunch. It all turned very "Scottish day out" when the rain started. Bit of a dreich day for it but fun nonetheless.
That evening we had a nice dinner in town, a few games of pool then off to bed, fully clothed because it was so cold.
Today was supposed to be 'beach day'. Unfortunately the clouds and cold weather put paid to that idea. We made our way back to Auckland, on the look out for things to do or see on the way. We stopped at some limestone caves and saw some glow worms. Also stopped in Whangarei for some lunch and to watch some glass-blowing. Another couple of stops at some nice beaches before making it back to Auckland.
We have one more full day here before flying to Fiji on Friday morning.
Hope you're all well. Missing you.
Lots of love,
Emma & Sophie