Traveling from Waikite to Orewa

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January 21st 2011
Published: January 21st 2011
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The ferry trip from the South Island to the North Island was a relatively smooth ride considering the winds in Wellington when we arrived. Not surprised at the wind since Wellington is known for its wind and it was windy when we were there the first time. Sprent the night in Wellington and several times during the night felt the RV shake because of the wind. Got up early the next day, still windy and RVs leaving the park like rats abandoning a sinking ship. We soon followed heading north. Had a long day to get to the south central area. Good roads with fewer hills and curves, but extremely windy so a difficult drive for David. Finally arrived in Waikite Valley for the night. Found out that there had been a cyclone NW of NZ and the wind was the effect on the fringes of it. Gusts in Wellington listed at 40-50 mph. There is another on its way. According to the news this is shaping up to be one of the most active cyclone seasons they have had.

Spent a beautiful day at the Waikite Valley Hot Springs. Amazing area. The water leaves the spring at an average of 99 degrees celcius (yes, celcius). As the cooler air hits it steam rises amid the forest and ferns. Feels and looks like you are in the time of the dinosaurs. They capture the hot water and pipe it to several pools cooling it to 35-39 degrees celcius. The pools are all surrounded by the jungle foliage and almost too hot to get into, but very relaxing. It is good to spend time in the pools because the area is also inhabited by tiny knats that are everywhere. They don't bite fortunately, but they walk up and down your arms and legs, on your sun glasses. EVERYWHERE! Best to wear long pants and a long sleeved shirt so you don't notice them so much. If you are in the water they only bother your face. Did have a very enjoyable and relaxing day there. Beautiful blue skies. Had a nice visit with some Australians we met there. We timed our stay very well since it started to rain in the evening and did so throughthe night. All is fine in the RV as long as it doesn't rain hard. When it does, the small gutter on one side of the van leaks rain into the van. Unfortuantely it is on my side so hopefully it won't rain hard during the night and get my bed wet. It is supposed to rain for the next 2 days (beginning of next cyclone).

We continued north of Auckland to Orewa, a small beach town not too far north of Auckland. The campground is right on the beach and the weather turned out to be good instead of rainy as predicted. Spent a great day wandering down the beach. David and Paige did a short kayak run in the bay. Water very warm-quite different from water on west coast of the South Island. We have now headed further north to Whangeria. This is as far north as we plan to go. Will do some beach and beach cliff walks in the area, visit a Kauri Tree park and a glowworm cave before heading back to Auckland for our flight to Australia.

The update on Australia is lots of damage due to the floods, questionable campgrounds heading north from Brisbane because of the rain and flooding. Also more rain moving into Queenslad which is the area around and north of Brisbane. Long drive to Sidney for the time I have in Australia. Based on this information we have canceled the RV in Australia. We still fly into Brisbane from NZ. Could spend a few days in Brisbane, but since that is the centerof the flood area, probably not a good idea. Therefore I am flying home to LV early – the day after we get to Brisbane, Jan. 27. David and Paige will take the train probably directly to Perth, but route undecided at this point.

We have some sad news to share. Not all of you know, but we have an iguana we have had for about 12 years. He was about 5 ft. in length and weighed 24 pounds. Our son Jay purchased him as a baby and we have had hime since then. Our friend Marcia takes care of him while we travel. He really gets the deluxe treatment while we are gone. Marcia just informed us that the iguana (AKA Iggy or Mr. Green) just died. We are sad that he is gone, but he led a great life.

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