Journal of a visit to New Zealand, via Singapore

The Land of the Long White Cloud
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Photographs by Gerald England
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This page last updated: 29th November 2005.
Day 26: Over the Harbour Bridge Map

Day 26 I get up and dress about 8 a.m. I make a pot of tea and leave a cup with Christine. While she gets herself ready, I take my tea out and sit by the beach. The tide is on its way out. There is a strip of washed sand about fifteen yards wide. Two sets of footprints, one human, one canine, make a fairly straight track down the middle of the strand. A cool breeze blows in from the sea, but the sun is already warming the air. I would love to stay here longer, but we have a breakfast appointment.

After loading the luggage back in the car and checking out of the motel, we head into town. Nina's café is where we are to meet Chrissie. She works for New Zealand Encounters who are the people who organised our stay in New Zealand. They planned the trip for us from the moment we landed in Christchurch to the moment we leave Auckland. Using their local knowledge they sorted out where we would stay (apart from our time in Hokitika) and arranged most of the excursions. It took several emails before we finally settled the itinerary.

Nina's is already busy when we arrive for our Sunday morning breakfast. We have a simply scrumptious meal at a very reasonable price, so we are not surprised it is so popular. Chrissie arrives and we have a long chat. She wants to know all about how we have been getting on, the highs and the lows, which were the best places and which the not-so-good. She takes a lot of notes. We enjoy her company and it is almost two hours later before we get on our way.

Having a longish journey to complete today, we reckon we haven't really time to visit the Hot Water Beach. We travel across to Thames and then on towards Auckland. Somewhere near Maramarua, we stop for ice-cream. Soon afterwards we join the motorway through Auckland. This is a two or three lane road, that runs right through the centre of the city. Although the traffic is heavier than anything we have previously encountered in this country, compared to the traffic on most UK roads, it is not a problem. The speed limit is still only 100kph (62mph) and hardly anyone here speeds, so it was a doddle. We do see one example of bad driving when a car undertakes us on the centre section of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

After the end of the motorway, we come to the small town of Orewa, where we stop for a short while by the river. We proceed then to Warkworth and on to our overnight stay at Hurstmere House, Matakana. We arrive at 3.30 p.m. only to find the place completely deserted except for the dog. We wait around for almost an hour before going down to the nearby pottery only to find that their caf— has just closed! Returning to the house, our host Ann Moir has arrived. She apologies profusely for not having been in earlier and brings us tea and some cake.

After settling into our room, we go out down to Algies Bay where we discover the Pilgrim's Rest. We are served a most excellent dinner in charming surroundings. We have eaten well today.

Journal - Day 27 Photographs - Day 26