New Zealand Part IV: The North Island

October 12, 2009 - Auckland, New Zealand

 When I landed in Wellington off the ferry I headed north along the west coast to the town of wanganui and beyond along the Surf Highway to the village/beach of Opunake a reputed surf spot unfortunately there was no waves to speak of and also it the west coast was getting battered by the wind and rain and the low clouds meant I couldn't even see Mt Taranki (a large cone shaped Volcano) near by. Then on my way back down to Wellington to visit Meghan and Mike for weekend I called on the Friday night with my mothers first cousin from Donegal (my first cousin once removed) Tony McGlynn seen I was in the neighbourhood in Palmerstown North! I rang Tony and over the phone he offered a bed for the night before funnily asking "...and how are we related again?" to which his work colleagues overheard and where amused/astonished but as he said "family is family". It was nice meeting a few more cousins and it was a good night and chat over a few guinness's in the local. I would like to thank Tony and his wife Vivien and Also my 2nd cousin Corrine and their friends for their hospitality and i'm glad I called to say hello! 

From Palmerston north I headed back south to wellington and had a saturday night on the town out with Megs and Mike who where just unpacking after the move to their nice new rented house - then I took it easy for a day or two (cheers for having me Megs) and headed north along the east coast to Napier . Napier is famous for Art Deco architecture (a unique 1920's or 30's style I think) looks alright but didn't interest me greatly - so I just stopped for a while and then moved on up the coast to Gisborne as you can go on a tour to go caged swimming with sharks - alot more interesting than art deco in my opinion! But unfortunately it was OFF Season (yet again) for doing these tours and they only run November - March I think. Gisborne is a nice city with fairly warm climate. It's claims to fame are that it is the first city in the world to see the sunrise, also it is the place where Captain Cook first landed in New Zealand a fact commerated by statues etc. Captain Cook dubbed the bay - the 'bay of poverty' as he didn't have much success getting supplies from local maori tribes.

I headed on through the impressive Waiokea Gorge to the Bay of Plenty coast (obviously captain cook must have fared better here) and to the city of Tauranga which had a fairly flashy city centre and promenade with a thriving cafe culture it seems - alot of kiwi's go here and Mt Maunganui for holidays supposedly and it is a nice spot!

Next I bombed it on past Auckland to Northland and the Pahia which is the Tourist hub for seeing the Bay of Islands by tour boast - its also the craddle of European civilisation in New Zealand where the first settlers stayed and also 5 minutes down the road is Waitangi was signed  between Maori chiefs and the British which in effect formed the country as it is today. I did a tour of the of the Bay of Islands seen a huge pod of Bottlenose dolphins (or flipper dolphins to you or me) 40 or 50 of them altogether with baby dolphins and all - was cool to see but unfortunately as there was baby dolphins we couldn't go in swimming with them (Dep Of Conservation (DOC) regulations). A Disney program was being filmed on the tour boat called "What a life" basically its about a kid whose father has a cool job and the kid presents it, the father in question was the captain of the tour boat - so keep an eye out for me anytime your watching disney tv no doubt I stole the show!

Next I headed up to Cape Reinga up near the tip of the north island (not actually the most northly point so i don't know why it has all the fame) and stopping to havea look at 90 mile beach. Then I came back down through the Waipoura Forest which has Hige impressive Kauri trees (native only to this northerly part of NZ) some of them are up to 2000 years old!

Then it was back to Auckland to try and sell the car. I put it in a backpackers car market for a few days and a a german girl was interested in buying it (for pretty much what I paid for it) until the mechanical inspection as part of the sale process showed up that the cylinder head gasket was blown or damaged - although it hadn't given me any great problems. But it meant I could spend time and alot more money trying to fix it before selling it again with not much added value so I decided to cut my losses and sold for 200 bucks for scrap! So the risk of buying a car kinda blew up in my face so to speak! It was a costly machine and not the best decision I ever made!


2 Comments

Shay:
November 6, 2009
Hi Brian,

Great to see you are still on the move.
New Zealand is really beautiful and I am so jealous reading your blogs.

Rumour has it that you are making your way back home for Christmas. I dont want to get too excited yet until I know for sure but it will be great to see you again. I probably wont make it up to the Wee County for Christmas Day..but hopefully we can meet up in the New Year and swap stories. I am sure you have tonnes.

Take care and Dont come home with a Vowel-Mangelling Kiwi accent.

Shay
Brian:
November 6, 2009
Well Shay,

Yeah the rumours are correct i'll be home for christmas - don't worry I haven't picked up the dodgy kiwi accent (at least i think i haven't)

Aye, I'll have to make it up to dublin for a spin to catch up with people either during the festive season or the new year!

Brian
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