Monday, November 6, 2017

November 1 - 5, 2017 - Northern Explorations

Add caption
 After the boat chores were complete, we started exploring our surroundings.  We borrowed Jerome and Karen's car for several days and drove into Whangarei, up to the Bay of Islands, to the town of Opua, and even took a small ferry over to Russell.  We explored a cave that had glow worms on the ceiling, which looked like twinkling stars overhead.  We hiked down to a beautiful beach one afternoon.  We visited a waterfall.  This is truly a nature lover's paradise!  Everywhere you look it is green.  Very green.  The grass grows everywhere here.  In fact, we have been told, New Zealand has the perfect combination of rich soils, rainfall, temperatures, and terrain to make it one of the best places for grass to grow.  As a result, the cattle industry is thriving.  With a year-round, nutritious food source (the grass), the cattle industry is king.  Sheep used to dominate the landscape here, but not any more.  Cows are everywhere.

180 degree panorama.  Typical of what you see while driving here.

The large, and very new marina in Opua.

Catching the ferry to Russel.  Our rental car is the white Toyota Corolla.

A stone path across the creek that flows inside the cave
Glow worms on the cave ceiling.  Their light is blue.
The cave entrance.  Fantastic formations and colors.
The scenery here is truly spectacular.  The terrain is hilly and the roads are filled with curves.  It would be a sports car or motorcycle enthusiast's dream to have roads like this everywhere.

On Friday a friend of Jerome's flew in from Queenstown (on the south island) for a weekend visit.  Blair is a Canadian who has worked with Jerome on several big construction projects in the US.   Blair has been living in New Zealand for the past 5 years.   He took all of us out for a day long driving excursion and it was amazing.  Blair likes to drive fast though, quite fast.  We felt like we were strapped into a rally car at times, zipping through the winding roads.  It was fun, and thrilling.  Blair is a great driver though, and Cindy and I felt safe, even though he was going much faster than I would have with a car full of passengers.

Blair standing atop a little lookout platform.

All the staterooms on-board were occupied, so Blair found a room through Air B&B which was only a few blocks away from the boat.  The owners, Mike and Jennifer, invited us all over for a BBQ on Saturday night.  We went and it was great fun.  It just so happened that once a month this couple has a big BBQ and the night we went was the night of their big gathering.  There were 20+ people there and we had some interesting conversations with many of them.

Having dinner with a bunch of new friends.  We even learned a lot about
Rugby, seen on the TV behind Cindy.  Mike and Jennifer's house.

Mike and Jennifer's dog Millie took a liking to Cindy
It is tough to choose which pictures to post, since there are just so many awesome pictures of the beautiful scenery here.

Hiking around with Paul
Cindy making her own trail

Looking for a book at the library.  No luck.

Paihia, NZ

Whale Bay.  Awesome sand beach, near Matapouri NZ on the Tutukaka Coast.

No comments:

Post a Comment