Sunday, December 2, 2012

Touring In the Northland

Sunday is a day of rest and for the last two weeks, a day to explore some of New Zealand. Last week we went to Russell. This week, with our friends Mike and Karen from "Chapter Two," we took another road trip. They have a borrowed car, and being Brits are used to this left hand driving thing, so we took off for some exploring along the coast.

The roads were quite empty, but the surrounding hillsides were filled with sheep and cows. It is a very green and rolly landscape. Lots of hills and valleys. The coastline is quite rocky and rugged with many islands and varying shades of blue water. First stop on the tour was Mangonui (meaning large or many sharks in Maori). This is a pretty little coast town on Doubtless Bay, famous for its fish and chips. Which we, of course, tried for lunch. We then did a pleasant walkabout the town stopping by the many historic (or heritage as its called here) signposts. The gardens are lovely and the older homes quite scenic. The bay is filled with fishing boats as well as a few pleasure craft.

From here, we continued along the scenic road to Whangaroa, Tauranga, Te Ngaere and other small bays and scenic stops. There was a stop for ice cream and many photos along the way. See some that are added to the photo page!

Our last stop was the village of Kawakawa. The little town is quite charming and known for its public toilets. The building housing the facilities was designed by a famous architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. They are quite interesting with colorful ceramic columns, old bottles as glass, tiles made by the local schoo lchildren, metal work in elaborate designs, and bricks from old buildings. It is quite the marvel. The town also has many murals of tiles, interesting lights, a ceramic sofa and a vintage old steam train that runs through the town (we didn't see this). It was a great and full day of sightseeing and we much appreciated being taken along for the ride. At least every so often we get to see something and not be stuck doing boat projects non-stop.

Saturday was a full boat project day including taking down the mainsail, putting on the new "remanufactured" car for the roller furling, and cleaning the bilges (yech!). So we did earn our Sunday off.

Check out the pictures and enjoy with us the beauty of this island nation.

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