Travel Journal

Brrrrrrrrr, the Northlands - New Zealand

(Wednesday 24 June 2009) by Dopps Family
Auckland and Northshore, New Zealand (June 22-24th)
Aftera 3 hour flight back to Singapore, 5 hour layover and 9 hour flight to New Zealand we arrived on Monday, June 22nd to 45 degree winter sunshine – brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Both the girls and I slept well on the airplane overnight except Carola who barely slept. We picked up our rental car and drove through Auckland (we hate big cities) and continued to Northshore and a little community called Davenport where the girls had fun in the playground and I wondered if others were looking at us crazily with our shorts and flip-flops. Seems most everyone else were wearing boots, parkas, hats and gloves – more than necessary but smarter than us – at least the sun was shining and the skies were clear and blue. We found a nice and cozy warm B&B and enjoyed some western hospitality and a little wine after dinner. Tuesday we packed up and headed a little further up north and stayed at a thermal hot spring resort. For several hours in the late afternoon and evening we swam and relaxed under the stars alternating between pools of thermal heated spring water between 32 and 38 degrees Celsius.
Today, Wednesday, our luck of sun and blue skies slowly vanished and turned to rain but not until after we spent an hour on a glass-bottom boat along the coast at Goat Island Marine Reserve where we saw local fish and some eagle rays (quiet exciting) and a seal playing with some snorkelers. We were quite spoiled in Bali so the variety and number of fish didn’t compare but it was still fun.
The north end of New Zealand is very picturesque with rolling hills, farmlands and beautiful rugged coastline tamed intermittently by gold and white sand beaches. With quaint little towns of a European flavor sporting bakeries and butchers with fresh fruit and vegetable stands one can understand why so many people wish to retire here. We really missed good whole grain breads while in SE Asia and Bali and are buying a loaf a day here. But all these western comforts come at a price, the food and lodging is definitely more expensive, which we expected. When we get home it’s going to be really hard to go out for dinner and spend $100.


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