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Published: October 4th 2007
Last Tuesday we said a fond farewell to Hawaii and set off for Fiji for a couple of nights to break up the journey down to NZ. It was a good flight as it was a very clear day and we had great views of many wee islands along the way. One of which was Christmas Island, where we made a stop. We hadn’t ever heard of it but apparently it is very popular with fisherman…….sounds exciting!
We arrived in Fiji on Wednesday evening (crossed the date line so lost 22 hours!) to a very welcoming reception. As soon as we got off the plane there were entertainers dancing and singing in flowery skirts! Quite different from the US customs! The following day we just pottered about Nadi town. Fruit was the highlight of the trip with the local market selling the best tasting mangoes for $1 Fijian for four. We did not spend a great deal of time in Fiji but the people we encountered were very friendly and had lots of Bula spirit.
We liked Auckland more than we thought. It is a pretty place with a nice harbour and lots to do. We took the ferry
across the water to Devonport - a nice little seaside part of Auckland. We walked up a dormant volcano to get superb views of the city and looked around in wee shops. We’ll be back in Auckland before we fly to Melbourne and we’ll do more sightseeing then.
On Sunday morning we picked up our rental car and headed down to Rotorua. The highlight of Rotorua was going to the Maori concert and Hangi on Monday night. We went to a Maori village - set up in the middle of the forest - and watched various dances and the Haka and then had a dinner (Hangi) made in the traditional Maori way. Basically the meat and vegetables are slow cooked underground by hot rocks. It was a fun experience - the highlight of the trip was probably the bus journey. Our driver Darren was a total hoot! On the way there he asked everyone where they came from and we had to clap and cheer everyone and say Kia Ora about a million times whilst he beeped the horn of the bus. On the way back from the village he said it was our turn to entertain so when
he called out each of our countries we had to sing a song! Guess who was the only one from Scotland….luckily Bruce helped me with my rendition of Ye cannae shuff yer grannie aff a bus!
We left Rotorua for Taupo and on the way down stopped at various sights including a honey place where we tried lots of yummy honeys including apricot honey and chocolate ginger! We thought it was a really interesting place - a wee fact….. in its whole life a worker bee will only produce half a teaspoon of honey! In Taupo we stayed at a really nice backpackers called Rainbow Lodge. It is owned by a guy from Paisley so has a nice Scottish touch! Yesterday we headed down to Tongariro National Park hoping to do some walking. There are a few big peaks here and a very popular walk is the Tongariro Crossing which takes you in front of the mountains with lots of sights - craters, waterfalls etc. Unfortunately the conditions have been pretty bad so we were unable to do it. Instead we did a shorter walk where we still got great views of most of the peaks. Normally the walk
might have been a bit boring but by the time we started walking the snow was pretty heavy and it was a winter wonderland. It is true what they say here the conditions change so rapidly from sunshine to hail to white out! Today we are heading down to Napier then onto Hastings to stay with Susan until Monday. We are looking forward to being shown around the place by a local!! I think a bit of wine tasting will be in order when we reach Hawkes Bay, well it would be rude not to!!
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