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Published: September 10th 2008
Friday - Sunday 5th - 7th September
We're on our way again, this time on an home exchange for 3 weeks in the North Island then off to the South Island for another 3 weeks.
After picking up our exchangees, Bill & Betty, at the International terminal at 1800hrs and settling them into our home we went to the domestic terminal for our flight to Sydney leaving at 00.15. Our flight was delayed coming into Sydney due to bad weather and because of this we missed the connecting flight to Auckland.
Four hours later we were on our way again, arriving just as it was getting dark. Our transport to Omokoroa, near Tauranga on the east coast, was waiting and 2.5 hours later we finally reached our new home. As we hadn't had a decent sleep for over 36 hours we collapsed.
We awoke to a beautiful, still morning and on opening the curtains found that the house was on a hill overlooking a sheltered harbour with Matakana Island in the background. Judy was keen to use our new camera so in a very short time we were wandering around the local area photographing the flowers and
scenery. On reaching the water's edge we saw a couple of men on a launching area below the cliff. We spoke to them to find that one, Merv, lived in the house above and knew Bill. He had lived in the area for a number of years, had built the ramp and the stairs to it, as well as generally maintaining the area.
A trip to the local supermarket, Countdown, was next, in the town of Bethlehem, about 10kms south. Here we filled a cart with enough supplies for probably the whole time we will be here! It reminded us of our shopping trips in England where we enjoyed seeing different types of food. Rags discovered a bag of frozen Pigs Tails, which looked like pork cut-offs, but Judy put her foot down and they were returned.
The rest of the day was spent snoozing and researching places to visit over the next 3 weeks.
Monday 8th September
We awoke to strong winds and rain, and that's how it stayed the rest of the day. We didn't get upset about it, we feel we have plenty of time to see what we want over the
Is this a tulip tree?
The tree that has this flower is everywhere and they are all full of flowers. Gorgeous!
We spent the day fiddling with the laptops, managing to get them connected to the wireless network here. Nice to be able to sit in the warm, comfortable front area whilst we use them. For the rest we sat back and enjoyed our books.
Tuesday, 9th September
It was cloudy but the wind and rain had stopped when we got up at 0700. On the road by 0900 to Tauranga, about 20kms south. Tauranga is the principal city of the Bay of Plenty (beautiful name) and is one of the largest ports in N.Z. It is the centre of the kiwi fruit region and we did get a bag of these to enjoy!
Rags has learned over the years to trust Judy's map-reading skills but she does find that she spends so much time looking at maps, she doesn't get to see where we are going. Rags decided in Perth not to get a N.Z. map for our TomTom, it was more economical to just buy a cheap one here. Hardly Normal has a store here and we picked up a TomTom One for half price at A$30 more than a N.Z. map would
Along the foreshore
Some of Mervyn's maintenance here.
cost for ours. Anyone at home want to buy a cheap unit when we return? One feature Rags does find annoying is that it also tracks the car's speed and makes loud noises when the speed limit is exceeded by 5kph. That's fine normally, but the accuracy of the unit as far as what the speed limit is leaves much to be desired. (at least that's his story, Judy begs to differ)
Mt Maunganui lies on the end of the peninsula with Tauranaga at its foot. We walked the 2.5kms around the base, we intend returning with our hiking boots to climb to the top. This mount has significance to the local people, we will say more about this when we have climbed it, and when we find out.
Whilst walking around the mount we met 2 couples from WA who are traveling around both islands in camper vans similar to the one we will get in Christchurch. As their time-frame is similar to ours we may meet them again.
Some time was spent looking around the town centre, attractively laid out. Rags decided he'd had enough window shopping so Judy continued whilst he sat in the
looking across to Mount Maunganui.
We hoped to go there today (Monday) but the weather is too windy and wet.
mall watching the scenery walk by.
On our way back to Omokoroa we decided to continue along the highway about 20kms to Katikati. This small centre is known for its murals adorning many of the buildings, giving an insight of the history of the town.
It was close to 1700 when we got 'home', ending an enjoyable day.
Trying to decide what to do next we went on to wotif and decided to book 3 nights in the far north of NZ, known as the Coromandel area. We found a super special "At Parkland Place"
for 3 nights for the price of the normal one night tariff. From here we can explore this area that several people have recommended to us.
Wednesday 10th September
Today we had planned to go to Rotorua but after a late start, we went to Te Puke, (not pronounced the way its spelt :-) to visit Kiwi 360, in Kiwi Fruit County. This complex runs an informative tour through the orchards and shows how the fruit is grown and packed. This was fascinating and we learnt all sorts of things about growing Kiwi Fruit. Experimental plots of different fruit and types of
Just a few of the beautiful blooms in the garden next door.
kiwi fruit are also shown, we being allowed to sample some of the citrus fruit on the trees.
By the time we had walked some more through the orchard, tasted some Kiwi Fruit wine and liqueur and taken a quick look at the souvenirs and other displays in the shop it was time for a late lunch.
We drove back towards Tauranga, then left the highway towards the mountains hoping to find a high spot overlooking the coast where we could have our lunch. Before we knew it the heavens opened and visibility dropped to almost zero. We stopped, had lunch, then made our way back.
The rain cleared by the time we returned to Omokoroa so we took the opportunity to walk to the marina and general store.
During the late afternoon Rags wrote up the blog and Judy tried to work on the photos. The only problem being that she couldn't get the laptop to read the memory card in the new Canon camera. Maybe it's a problem with the 8Gb HD card! She got pretty frustrated before making do with the ones taken with the old camera for today. We'll have to
do something about that before using the camera again. Luckily we still have our other 2 with us.
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