Leaving the big city and winding through to the coastal roads. Yes, this is what we came to NZ for. Taking a wrong turn, we are rewarded with drop dead GORGEOUS vistas. High rolling hills filled with lush greenery. Now, if only we could navigate, gawk, and take pictures at the same time. Country roads are extremely narrow and very curvy. The highway is dotted with olive estates and dairy farms. Thames town provides lunch and quaint shops. It is named by Capt. Cook as he felt the Waihou River resembled the British Thames. Am on a quest to purchase a children's book from a local author and artist in each country. Found 'The Fish of Maui' (named after a child) which has wonderful illustrations and tells the indigenous story of how NZ was formed. Kuaotunu beach offers beautiful white sand. Onwards to Whitianga which is named after a Polynesian explorer who arrived in AD950. Fishing, diving, and kayaking are popular on this Mercury Bay.