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Published: December 2nd 2016
Wed, Nov 23
Drove to 3 different beautiful quiet beaches - each one a perfect movie-type location. Had a late lunch at the KariKari Carrington Winery (going back there soon!) Rest of the day reading and all that relaxing kind of stuff.
Thur, Nov 24
Drove to Hokene to do the Wairere Boulder walk. Got lost and after about 10km down a gravel road a very kind lady stopped her car and pointed us back in the opposite direction. Not really my fault as the road signs were very misleading and neither Ross nor I saw the big bold sign on the hill pointing to the Wairere Walk. Interesting walk and surprise, not as long as they said. Glad I took my poles with me or I would have been twice as long. Then off the see the biggest Kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest. Down the gravel road to Hwy 12 and went the wrong direction for only 16 km before I looked at the map to see where the forest actually was. Should have been a right turn onto the hwy instead of left. But we got to see another marvellous beach at Opononi (late lunch
at a roadside takeout there) and on to the tree. Very short walk to see it but so impressive - that is one big tree. Photos can't show the size of it because it is all cordoned off - delicate root system. Got home to leftovers.
Fri, Nov 25
Went in to Keri Keri to buy postcards, see the Stonehouse and found a great cafe with Moja-like coffee. Raved to the waitress about the coffee. She must have thought I was nuts. Clothes way too expensive here - food is too but we have to eat. Visited the chocolate factory - another good find and after paying for 2 boxes of amazing chocolates the clerk remarked that they needed to be eaten soon since there are no preservatives and they have so much butter and cream in them. So we managed to finish $45 worth of chocolate in 24 hours. Back to pack for our trip to the East of North Island.
Saturday, Nov 26
Managed to leave on time at 8am Long drive to Whakatane on the Bay of Plenty. Only one minor wrong highway choice. Fascinating scenery all the way. Arrived at our destination
by 5 pm. Went to sign in ... wrong day. We were a day too early and they were fully booked for that night. Receptionist tried 3 places that were full. So off we went and grabbed the first motel under $150 we could find. Walked to the downtown for a dinner at Spice Junction for some very good Indian food. Only problem was a half-inebriated (therefore couldn't throw her out) women with a loud bass voice was telling her 3 friends and the whole restaurant her opinions of her ungrateful nieces and nephews, her take on the wine and food and to top if off she did a speaker phone video call to her mother. OMG. Thank goodness she was a heavy smoker because the restaurant got a reprieve every 10 minutes as she went outside for another cigarette.
Sunday, Nov 27
Check in time wasn't until 2 and it was a Sunday so only a few minor shops were open so we did a good beach walk (yet more shells and now cool little driftwood pieces), then hit a Sunday market. Checked in to White Island Rendezvous and we were in the Micro Village. Each cabin
looks like a magazine study for the tiny house shows. Super beds, linens and a rainshower. Dinner was at another world famous Fish and Chip shop called Wally's on the Wharf. Best fish burger ever! Poured rain while we ate and then sun for the walk back to our unit. Set the alarm to get up for our early morning tour to White Island.
Monday, Nov 28
Morning tour cancelled - sea too rough. I took a long beach walk and did a sketch. Checked with office at 11 to see if the afternoon trip on. Nope cancelled. So got on stand-by for Tues morning tour and signed up for afternoon one just in case. Filled in the day by going to Ohopi Beach, then Awakeri Hot Springs where we rented our own hot spa room and had a peaceful soak in the very hot mineral water (main pool had a school group there for the day so $7 was a super deal to pay for privacy). Next we went to Rotorua and were too late for any of the geyser tours so had lunch at 4 pm. Don't want fries anymore. Bought some Rotorua mud lotion that
heats up and smells gingery. Only my closest friends will find out how that stuff works (hint: not so well).
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