We arrived by ferry in Wellington and stayed two nights to visit the wonderful Te Papa. It’s a shame we didn’t have time to do more, because I liked what I saw of Wellington, but we had to hurry off for Christmas in Opunake.
After New Year, we headed off to Waitomo, stopping for whitebait fritters in a roadside cafe. In Waitomo, we visited the Auraki cave with it’s stunning stalactites and learnt about how they created the walk ways by floating tools down the river and pouring concrete down a narrow tube in ceiling. The main glow worm cave, where Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has sang and it’s magical worms, were completely unforgettable. We also did one of New Zealand’s best short walks, wearing head torches through the short tunnels, and spent lots of time in the campsite swimming pool.
In Rotorua we visited Te Puia and saw a Maori show and a real kiwi bird. We also went to the living thermal village, Whakerewarewa, and saw a Maori show, ate hangi pasties, and marvelled at the creepy graveyard with steam coming out of the graves and saw a real funeral. We soaked in the hot pools at our campsite, cooked in the steam oven, dug holes in the sand to cook freshwater oysters and watched pukeko. Thrills were had on the luge and we visited Lady Jane’s Ice Cream Parlour.
In Auckland, Steve skyjumped and we went to little shoal bay a lot. We walked into Highbury through Le Roy’s Bush, visited my second cousin in Waiheke and ate fish and chips in Devonport.
On the way to Russell we visited Eutopia cafe with it’s giant seagull and bought cheese and salty liquorice at the Dutch shop.
In Russell we jumped in the waves at Long Beach, went to the little museum which also offered photocopying and laminating, and read the story of the bird who was rescued when local residents fled from the fighting in the nineteenth century. We got wet at the Waitangi Treaty Ground and climbed in a giant tree stump that made the world’s biggest whaka. When the weather improved, we ate oysters, and jumped in the waves at Long Beach. Again.
Finally we visited NZ’s premier theme park, Rainbows End. It has less queues than Disneyland. That’s about all it’s got going for it.