Tauranga, New Zealand (Aotearoa)
37° 41' S 176° 10' E
Aug 11, 2007 08:37
Distance 2218km

Text written in: English


Having arrived safely in Auckland I had just about enough time to grab my bag, say goodbye to the girls and nab a bunch of flowers for Lou before Stephen was due to come and meet me at the airport.  Had no problem recognising him (can't say I didn't have doubts!) even with Louise's loving description of 'baldy edgit'.  It was around a two hour drive back to Louise and Stephen's, which totally felt like I was back home!  I know people have said New Zealand is like Scotland and Ireland but I really did feel like I was driving up north it was very surreal.  Arrived at the lovely McGill household, where Louise and Marissa were waiting.. it was great to see them and I can't believe how much Marissa has grown.  The first evening was spent catching up and drinking wine.. good night in my books!  They are giving me great advice of where to go and what to do in the North Island and are very kindly lending me their car to trot off on a two day tour of the North Island, which I'm heading off on, on Tuesday.   After an excellent nights sleep (I think the double bed with a large mattress might have had something to do with it) we all had breakfast together and had planned to go out for a Sunday walk along the beach that day, but decided to wait until the torrential rain subsided.  That afternoon it cleared up and we headed out to the Bay of Plenty, which has beautiful beaches and seriously mad surfers braving the bloomin freezing waters.  We then headed up to Maunganui (a small mountain/large hill by the beach) - Stephen and Louise walked round it with Marissa and I headed on up to check out the views.. which were well worth it.  A little later we all met up at a cafe for some cake, would be rude not to.   On the way home we swung by an outdoor store where I bought myself some hiking trousers... somehow I think Diesel jeans aren't designed for that.  Later on Stephen cooked a delicious meal of local mussels.. subsequently after which we all crashed out!  The next day I spent planning my wee North Island trip in the morning, and then in the afternoon headed up to Wairere Falls where I spent a few hours hiking to the top for another wonderful view.  All this exercise should hopefully counteract my week in Fiji!  


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