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Published: April 18th 2018
Mauri carving in the Marae
The next chapter of our trip started with a few problems getting out of Australia. We found ourselves standing at the check-in desk listening to the lady behind the counter tell us that she could not check us in until we had our visa sorted to return into Australia, even though the Australian immigration services state that we could not apply for our return visa until we are out of the country (so for us we would have to apply in NZ). A Catch-22 for us as we then faced the very desperate possibility of not making it into New Zealand at all. If we didn't get on this flight we would have had to wait another week for the next available flight. So, we only had one option and an expensive one at that. The airline would check us in only if we had onward journey to a visa free country (somewhere where you get a stamp on arrival), so we raced down to the ticket desk to buy two tickets to Indonesia that neither of us would use just so we would be able to get into NZ.
Anyway, after our very stressful departure from Sydney we
View of the city from Devonport
arrived all safe and sound in Auckland where Barbara and Peter (Gemma's Aunt and Uncle) we waiting for us. We had a really great few days staying with Barbara and Peter in their house and catching up with them as well as exploring a little of Auckland. We picked up our campervan that would be our home for the next six weeks and did a spot of sightseeing. It’s much colder than Australia and we have had a lot of rain since arriving here but not letting a bit of bad weather stop us we visited a few of the extinct volcanoes that are dotted all over Auckland, we went up the skytower which gave us fantastic views of the whole of Auckland and we took a drive over to Devonport which is on the north shore of Auckland. One night we went over to Caron and Peter's (Caron is Barbara’s daughter and who despite howling wind, lightening and heavy rain they still managed to throw on a great BBQ for us all.
Five days after arriving we set off in our little van to the Northland, the area north of Auckland where we did a quick tour
Our campsite view of the beach
of the must see areas up here. We visited a Kauri Museum (Kauri being a famous NZ wood), we had a walk in one of the only remaining Kauri forest left in the world. We stayed in Piahia one night (the gateway to the Bay of Islands). Here we visited the Waitangi Treaty grounds and had a peek at Haruru Falls. We moved on over to Russell via the little car ferry and then drove a bit further south and camped up by a gorgeous little beach in the middle of nowhere. We had the beach to ourselves as we watched the sun set behind the mountains which was pretty special. After our brief tour it was back down to Auckland and another night with Barbara and Peter before heading south and see what the rest of New Zealand had to offer. Although I had been to New Zealand twice before it was Stephen’s first time here and I was keen to show him what all the fuss was about.
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