A Travellerspoint blog

Russell

sunny 22 °C

Before we headed out for the day, we checked out the Kune Kune pigs at the farm we're staying at.
Kune Kune pigs

Kune Kune pigs

Most of the day was spent visiting Russell,
We took the ferry from Paiha to Russell.
Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

One of the important things about Russell, is the Maiki Hill Hoistoric flag pole. It's a very important site. The flag pole was chopped down 4 times just after the Treaty of Waitangi.
The importance of the flag and it's remaining on the hill is describedin the plaque below.
Russell Flag pole information

Russell Flag pole information


I have to say that the walk up the hill was quite steep and hard work, but the view over the bay was quite worth it.

Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

Bay pf Islands

Bay pf Islands

Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

Posted by Markfr 02:32 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

KeriKeri

overcast 20 °C

Yesterday we spent the majority of the day travelling from Napier to Auckland. The countryside is lovely, but the Waikato River at Taupo was spectacular.
Waikato

Waikato

Waikato

Waikato


Today we spent the afternoon going from Auckland to Kerikeri, in the Bay of Islands.
The strangest thing on the way was the public toilets in Kawaka.
Kawakawa Toilets by Hundertwasser

Kawakawa Toilets by Hundertwasser


Kawakawa Toilets by Hundertwasser

Kawakawa Toilets by Hundertwasser

Kawakawa Toilets by Hundertwasser

Kawakawa Toilets by Hundertwasser


The town has a lot of street art - such as this street lamp.
Kawaka street art

Kawaka street art

.
We're staying in a really nice hostel in Kerikeri - the farmhouse hostel, which is rated very highly.

Posted by Markfr 00:51 Archived in New Zealand Tagged lake taupo kerikeri Comments (0)

Hawkes Bay

sunny 21 °C

1 Jan 2013
Today we checked out some of the wineries in Hawkes Bay. The first, and most interesting, was Mission Estate. The vineyard is on what was an old missionary established by French Missionaries in 1851 and has a lovely building and grounds.
Mission Estate Vineyard - Hawkes Bay

Mission Estate Vineyard - Hawkes Bay

Mission Estate Vineyard - Hawkes Bay

Mission Estate Vineyard - Hawkes Bay



We visited a couple more wineries - Church Door and Brookfield after that.

From there we visited a beach further out from Napier. It was a lovely area, with a small road with all the houses overlooking the bay. Some of the houses looked like holiday homes, but others were much grander.
Hawkes Bay

Hawkes Bay

Aftre that we headed to a more recently developed section of Napier called Quay West.
We had dinner in the Thirsty Whale overlooking the sea.
Napier - Quay West

Napier - Quay West


Napier - Quay West

Napier - Quay West

When we'd finished dinner it was just before sunset and there were some wonderfully shaped clouds which made it an amazing sunset.
Napier - Quay West

Napier - Quay West

Napier - Quay West

Napier - Quay West

Napier - Quay West

Napier - Quay West

Finally we came back to Napier and stopped along Marine Parade to check out a lit fountain.
Napier foreshore

Napier foreshore

Posted by Markfr 01:35 Archived in New Zealand Tagged bay napier hawkes Comments (0)

Taranaki & New Plymouth

overcast 19 °C

29 Dec 2012
Today's visits were to Mt Taranaki and New Plymouth.
Mt Taranaki was not as spectacular as it could have been - too much cloud cover, but the parks and Dawson's Falls were quite spectacular.

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We also visited Holland Gardens, which was a lovely picnic spot.
Holland Garden Taranaki

Holland Garden Taranaki

However, the highlight of the day was the New Plymouth Festival of Light.
It's a big light show, set up in the New Plymouth park which runs from mid december to end January. As well as lighting up the park, they also put on concerts in the evenings. It's quite spectacular. If you're coming anywhere during that period, it's well worth a visit.
New Plymouth Festival of Light

New Plymouth Festival of Light

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Posted by Markfr 14:24 Archived in New Zealand Tagged new falls taranaki plymouth dawsons Comments (0)

Hamilton Gardens

overcast 19 °C

27 Dec 2012
We're doing some travelling around the north island with my sister in law.
Today's visit was to the Hamilton Gardens. The gardens are quite amazing and very large.
Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens


There was a lovely big pond, and plenty of rolling gardens.
Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

However, one of the best parts of the gardens was the area which had the gardens from different parts of the world\, the part they call the Paradise section, which contains a:

Chinese Scholars Garden
English Flower Garden
Japanese Garden of Contemplation
American Modernist Garden
Italian Renaissance Garden
Indian Char Bagh Garden

These were really lovely gardens (except the American one).
Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Posted by Markfr 23:41 Archived in New Zealand Tagged gardens hamilton Comments (0)

Polynesian Spa

semi-overcast 20 °C

22 Dec 2012
Today we had a somewhat quieter day. we started out by visiting the two markets here in Rotorua. The first one was more of a food market, both fresh vegetables and plenty of cooked food. The second market was more crafts and art, which we found much more interesting. Sarah found a soft blue felt bag with little finger puppets on the side pockets, as well as a crystal to hang in our tree at home.

This afternoon however, we finished the day off with a visit tot he Polynesian Spa here in Rotorua, for a 1 hour massage and some time in the heated pools. It started with a 30 minutes soak in a private pool, then a massage and finishing with just soaking in the thermal pools.

The massage was a great experience, and it took us about 10 minutes to get over it. Part of the package included a light snack (a wrap, fruit pieces and a fresh fruit juice). The spa has 4 heated pools - with temperatures ranging from 36oC to 42oC. So we spent the next couple of hours moving from one pool to another, alternating between a warm bath and feeling like a lobster being broiled.

It was a great way to finish our tie off in Rotorua. We leave early tomorrow morning, so that we can visit the Waitomo caves on our way back to Rotorua.

Posted by Markfr 01:11 Archived in New Zealand Tagged spa polynesian Comments (0)

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

semi-overcast 20 °C

21 Dec 2012
Today was a visit to the Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters) park. The visit started with a geyser eruption.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park Lady Knox Geyser

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park Lady Knox Geyser


After that we took a long walk around the park and along all the walking tracks.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park Map

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park Map

The landscape was quite amazing - all these hot, steaming lakes,surrounded by yellow sulphur, and red iron oxide, gave the area a very different look. There were some amazing flats and lakes - all busy bubbling or steaming away. It was a very different kind of park walk - quite different from yesterdays, even though the nature of the area was similar.

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park

After visiting the park we then went to a quiet, out of the way swimming hole that was fed by heated water. It was a lovely spot and quite amazing swimming in this naturally heated water. The area had some nice shallow areas as well as a swimming hole just below a lovely waterfall. t was quite a treat swimming in the heated water in this lovely little spot.

To cap the night off, we had booked a trip tot he Tamaki Maori Village. The evening started with the traditional Maori challenge (Te Wero). From there were were taken to see different aspects of traditional Maori village life, including wood carvings, warrior training and Maori weapons. At the end of that we were taken to a large dining hall for a Hangi, or meal cooked in the earth.

It was a great way to end the day. The guides and staff provided lots of entertainment and education, which was lots of fun.
Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village

Posted by Markfr 02:31 Archived in New Zealand Tagged and village wai-o-tapu tamaki Comments (0)

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