Journal of a visit to New Zealand, via Singapore

The Land of the Long White Cloud
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This page last updated: 29th November 2005.
Day 30: Russell to Auckland Map

Day 30 We have breakfast on the deck. It is another gorgeous morning. Colwyn and his brother Kelvin have been out fishing, but Kelvin is feeling unwell so they've cut the trip short. I use up about three pages of the Visitor's book writing about Romantic Russell and thanking Kay and Colwyn for their wonderful hospitality. Kay always did that little extra, putting little posies of flowers in the bedroom, taking our laundry away and bringing it back freshly ironed and neatly folded. Reluctantly we say our farewells and head off for the car-ferry.

Just past Whangerei we stop at the Kauri Clock Factory belonging to Natural Wood Creations. We are looking for a present for my niece Lisa who is getting married at the beginning of May. We spend a good half hour wandering round, viewing all the various kinds of clocks on display. We settle for one in the shape of a kiwi and arrange to have it shipped home.

Continuing down SH1 we stop for lunch at Brynderwyn Coffee Shop. How this place came to acquire its Welsh name, we are unable to discover. On our way out, I stop to look through the postcards. One features a possum. I remark to Christine that "We've seen thousands of possums over the last month, but never a live one!" One of a group of schoolboys, who have just arrived, overhears me. "I've seen plenty," he tells me.

On the outskirts of Orewa, a sign points to the motorway. The road skirts suburban housing estates and the motorway begins at a huge roundabout. The first part has a 50km speed limit and a ban on HGVs! As we approach Auckland, however, the road gets busier.

My street-map of Auckland indicates that I need to leave the motorway at the first exit after the Harbour Bridge. However, by the time I realise it, I am in the wrong lane and the exit I take is one that is effectively a right turn leading back over the motorway. I'm in need of petrol anyway, so I stop at the first garage to fill up. I am soon pointed in the right direction to get back on course, without heading through the heart of the City Centre.

It feels almost as if we are back in Manchester. One of the first things I see is a Stagecoach bus in exactly the same livery as back home. I negotiate my way fairly well, but going up the hill in Parnell, drive past the road end. We are looking for St. George's Bay Road. I take the next left and try to work my way around, but the road is in two parts and we cannot access the top end from the bottom end. Eventually we get there and arrive at our overnight stay at St. George's Bay Lodge.

There is only street-parking available. I manage to squeeze into a space outside the house next door. No-one is there to greet us on arrival, but the keys are left available for us. Our room is a comfortably-sized one on the ground-floor. The ensuite toilet and shower-room is a little cramped. Whilst Christine settles in, I go in search of food.

It is an uphill walk to the main road. Christine won't want to go out and I certainly don't want to move the car as I might have problems parking it again later. The little general store doesn't sell sandwiches and the bakery is on the point of closing. There are a couple of takeaway outlets selling hot food. However, I come across a garage. It doesn't sell petrol, nor second-hand cars. However, its forecourt shop does sell filled rolls. These will be enough to keep hunger at bay until breakfast.

Back at the lodge, the owner has arrived and has shown Christine around. We spend a quiet evening in the lounge, reading, listening to CDs and watching a little television.

Journal - Day 31 Photographs - Day 30