We hope everyone’s 2013 is off to a good start. We had a great New Years day…..we slept in! Which was good to do for once without the hangover. Our first stop of the new year was Rainbow Falls, just outside Kerikeri. Not a bad way to start the year!
Us and Rainbow Falls
I was excited to start the new year
We moved on from the falls and started making our way further North. The next stop was the small town of Mangonui. Beaufitul coastal town which also has one of the best Fish and Chips shops in New Zealand., so we had to stop and try…..we both agreed, it was nice to have some fresh fish and chips, and gave it two thumbs up.
Fish and Chips in Mangonui....hmmm....yummy!
The beautiful bay in Mangonui
Since we don’t have the time we did in Australia, and we really want to save a good chunk of time for the South Island, we decided to push hard this day and try and get all the way up to Cape Reinga. Cape Reinga is the Northern tip of the North Island, and it is where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. The views there are spectacular.
West side of Cape Reinga
Heading down to the lighthouse. The whitewater in the picture is where the Tasman sea and the Pacific Oceans are colliding
Another view of Cape Reinga's East side
The Northern tip just beyond the lighthouse
As we started make our way back down the pennisula we decieded to stop off at the giant sand dunes of 90 mile beach. They are huge! A lot of people sand board on them, but we elected to just check it out. Good thing, cause you have to get yourself to the top, which I did (Cathy elected to stay down at the bottom….smart girl)…..and it is a slog!
Giant sand dunes of 90 mile beach
What you have to climb up to get to the top
Looking down from the top at the smart girl!
We ended up crashing for the night in the small town of Dargaville. Just as we were pulling into town we got this shot of the hill around us….pretty cool.
North Island countryside
The next morning we headed off with the intentions to get past Auckland. On our way, we saw a sign for Piroa Falls, and we swung the groovy mobile around to check it out. It was a little off the beaten track, but well worth the short hike in.
Us at Piroa Falls
After the falls we pushed on and finally hit Auckland. We headed into the city, mainly to find an outdoor store, so we could pick up some guidebooks. We were able to pick up a really good one for the South Island, and some local information on climbing in the North Island. We also hit up the Sky Tower, which is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere. We don’t do too many of the touristy things, but we decided to give it a go, and got some good pictures of Auckland from the top.
View of Auckland from the tower
Cathy treading lightly at the top
From Auckland we headed to Wherapapa South. We were told this place had some decent climbing. Upong arrving, we checked in with the local shop, and sure enough the owner pointed us in the right direction. Off we went to get in a few routes before dark, and climbed until about 8:30 that evening on some great rock. Here are some pics from the afternoon.
Cathy at the crag called Froggett Edge
Looking down from one of the climbs
At the end of the day heading back to the groovy mobile
The other nice part about climbing here is the campground. There really isn’t one, but the climbers have a good relationship with the primary school, so you are allowed to camp in the backyard of the school grounds for $4 per person, they offer a toilet, drinking water and a pool….sweet!!!
We woke today to some pretty crappy weather. We were hoping to climb again, but had to change our plans, so we headed off to check out Rotarua. Rotorua is located on Lake Rotorua, which has a small island in the middle of it. We spent the day checking out the thermal activity in the area, since there are a lot of volcanos in New Zealand.
Thermal activity around Rotorua
Boiling mud pools at Rotorua
We also took the gondola up Mt. Ngongotaha, which is a dormant volcano. Other than the great views from the top, the other cool activity they offer when you arrive at the summit is luging! We signed up to give it a try and it was blast. I could only get one picture of Cathy luging near the bottom.
Looking out over Rotorua from the top
Cathy with her hairnet/helmet ready to luge!
She made it!! All smiles near the bottom
A cool thing happened as we were getting ready to head down the gondola. As we were making our way towards it I noticed this guys wearing an Ohio State jacket. Of course we said something, and sure enough he went there and lives in Columbus. Cathy instantly knew we had to get together with them for the O-H-I-O picture…..
O H I O in Rotarua!
We ended the day checking out the thermal pools in the area. For a reasonable fee you can relax in the pools. I had never done this before….and it was relaxing! We wanted to get this blog post out, but to be honest….all I want to do is….zzzzzzzz. We have checked into a local campground here in Rotorua, and tomorrow we are going to try and get some more climbing in….hopefully the weather will cooperate.