Thursday, January 01, 2009

I wrote a blog all about our adventures sailing from Opua to Whangarei. It is on the other computer and we are now traveling and I did not get to upload it before I left. Suffice it to say Mom is not cut out to be a sailor, stay tuned for more details.
We left Whangarei on Dec 30 and our trusty little car has been hanging in their as we torture it on the windy NZ roads. Kiwis love to go boating over the Christmas holidays.

The first day of our tour we headed to Auckland to go up the tallest building in the southern hemisphere, the Sky Tower.

On the way, we stopped at Sheepworld, when you visit New Zealand you need to stop at Sheepworld. They had an animal farm and then there was the sheep herding demonstration. There were 3 dogs that took turns showing their stuff and then a little 9 week old puppy rounded up the sheep, that was very impressive. There was a demonstration on how to shear a sheep, it was a pretty big one and the guy had a little trouble controlling it but at the end he tickled it under it’s ear and the sheep just lay there.
The Sky Tower was very tall, we were in downtown Auckland, we had a great view of the whole Auckland Harbour and parts of Haraki Gulf where the America’s Cup was raced. It was fun watching people get ready to jump off the tower, you would never catch me doing that.
We headed up the Cormandel Pennisula the next day. We took a tour of a gold mine that was started in the 1870’s. They had a working stamper battery that would crush the gold. It was a great tour and the best bang for our tourist bucks yet. We headed further up the peninsula and stopped at the butterfly and orchard house. The colours on the butterflys were amazing. We drove across the top of the peninsula and went to the Hot Water Beach. At the beach the volcanic water seeps up to the surface. It is really hot, we dug our feet into the water and I almost burnt the tops of my feet. It was New Years Eve and there were tons of people on the beach. They had shovels and dug holes in the sand and then they would sit in the hot water. After, I headed towards Cathedral Cove, one of the most scenic spots on the coast. It was quite a climb up and down.

Today we drove from the peninsula to Rotarua, which is the area where there is lots of volcanic activity. On the way we stopped at an open pit gold mine at a town called Whahai. The pit opened in about 1875 an it closed down in 1952. The Rotarua area is known for its hot springs, geysers and bubbling mud baths. We went to the museum that used to be a famous bath house in the 1900’s. People used to come there to take the cure. They also had a great display about the volcano that devastated this area in 1886. It was rather fascinating to look at pictures of what happened. Tomorrow we are going to stay here and check out the hot springs. I am trying to convince Barry that a mud bath would do his hip a world of good but he refuses to even consider the idea. Mom and I are planning so quality time in the hot springs. We will head to the bottom of the North Island and visit Wellington. We have a reservation to cross by ferry to the South Island on Jan 5. We hope to make it as far south as Dunedin, Mom leaves from Auckland on Jan. 10. The bath house in Rotarua.