Sunday, February 22, 2009


Our first two weeks were spent traveling around the lovely North Island. We were greeted in the wee hours of the morning by Jodi’s Dad (Colin) and Step-Mum (Elizabeth). They played tour guides and chauffeurs for several days. Together we enjoyed picnics on the beach, yummy meals, and seeing the Auckland Regatta to name a few! Colin taught Ryan how to drive on the other side of the road and provided moral support when we picked up our “Drunk” van. We trotted off into the wild blue yonder north of Auckland to the Bay of Islands (Tutukaka, Russell, Pahia). Kaitaia was our next stop and we traveled to Cape Reinga the northern most point in New Zealand. The Cape was incredible with a beautiful lighthouse and turbulent waters where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet. On our way to Matakohe we walked through the ancient Kauri Forests. The oldest living Kauri Trees are 1200-2000 years old. We held court with the mighty Tane Mahuta (the largest living Kauri tree at 51 meters tall) and Te Matua Ngahere (the widest living Kauri at 16.4 meters wide). We made a return visit to Waitomo to walk through the forest at night and view the glow worms lit up the mountain side (blue twinkling lights…..beautiful!). New Plymouth brought more beautiful coast and a hike up part of Mount Taranaki. A driving adventure across the Forgotten Highway took us through Whangamomona the only republic in New Zealand. We spent the night in Ohakune and drove into Wellington the next day. We were greeted in Wellington by Jodi’s Mum (Annette) and Noel who helped us make a great itinerary for touring the South Island. We enjoyed a great night out with them, a walk on the beach, learning the rules of a cricket match, shopping and strawberries from the garden! Did I mention a real comfy bed and indoor toilet, too!

Ryan and Jen

South Island update to come soon!.......

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