Rab & Lesley's Big Trip

Days 1 to 16 - Hong Kong & Northland NZ

And we are off...

Day 1 - Tuesday 1st December 2015
Flying out to Hong Kong

Left from Heathrow, Canon packed away so used wife's little polaroid

Day 2 - 2nd December 2015
Hong Kong

Views from Hong Kong Hotel window 21 floors up - Canon still packed so used my phone

Local Apothecary - with the Canon

Day 3 - 3rd December 2015
Hong Kong

The weather didn't match the forecast and the rest of the week isn't looking too bright

Kowloon as seen from HK island

The bay at Stanley on the south side of HK island

Back in HK central and the weather hasn't improved

Hoping to get some night time shots of the harbour light show tomorrow

Day 4 - 4th December 2015
Hong Kong

The biggest problem I'm having is just picking one or two pictures per day
Today you get 5 - it was a long day

Weather wasn't quite as bad as expected and we managed to get to the Peak

Then back to town in the lunch hour - pedestrian crossings are busy here

In the evening we went across to Kowloon to see the lit up buildings on the Hong Kong side of the harbour

We then boarded this old junk (not as old as me but nearly so) to see the fabled light show from the water

Sadly the show was distinctly underwhelming, nothing like videos I'd seen before
The normally lit skyline was far better

Day 5 - 5th December 2015
Hong Kong

Washed out by rain
We had hoped to go to the Big Buddha but the cloud cover didn't look promising so had a wander round an open air antique market
- most of which was either not yet open or closed up in anticipation of rain.

Visited a local temple

Then not liking the look of the clouds jumped on a tram
This was taken at 2pm just before the deluge

Decided to call it a day and got back to the hotel like two drowned rats

Day 6 - 6th December 2015
Lantau Island

Weather was actually better than forecast and we did not get wet going to the Big Buddha
Pity the sky was just a washed out white
This is the Big Buddha on Lantau Island near the man made Airport Island
We made it to the top up all 268 steps

The Buddha is in the Po Lin Monastery complex

which has an impressive set of 5 golden figures inside

On the way down by cable car I spotted this fellow and thought it made an interesting composition
He was really stabbing the water with that long paddle - and was using an outboard motor as well

Days 7 & 8 - 6th & 7th December 2015

Days 7 and 8 were mostly spent hanging around airports or asleep on the plane
Shortly after take off from Hong Kong (phone camera)

Just before sunrise as we flew over the NE corner of Australia with Venus just above the crescent moon

Shortly before landing on Day 8 at Aukland (phone camera)

Day 9 - 9th December 2015

A day with family but we did get out to Mount Eden one of many extinct volcanoes around Auckland for these two views of the city and harbour

Day 10 - 10th December 2015
Auckland Zoo

The day was mostly spent in Auckland Zoo

This is a slice of a Kauri tree that can grow to have a trunk diameter of 5 metres and a height of 60 metres but it might take 2000 years.
We hope to see a forest sanctuary of them in the next couple of days

One cheeky little Kea

Day 11 - 11th December 2015
Bay of Islands

We left Auckland and drove north to the Bay of Islands.
Great drive on good roads with awesome views but not many places to stop to take pictures. Bikers would love it

The town basin at Whangerei

The bay of islands from our hotel at Paihia

Day 12 - 12th December 2015
Bay of Islands

Fantastic day onboard a boat cruising the Bay of Islands.
Weather was glorious - just what we came for, and the islands were stunning.

On one island we spotted Oystercatchers nesting

Finished the day with dinner in the Swordfish Club in Russell
with an excellent seafood platter and a large Glen Livet.

Day 13 - 13th December 2015
Waitangi Treaty grounds

Visited the Waitangi Treaty ground where the Maori peoples and Great Britain reached an accord
(They basically handed the governorship of New Zealand to Britain)
We were treated to to a traditional greeting (Rugby fans will be familiar with the drill)

Afterwards relaxing liquid lunch in the Swordfish Club in Paihia

Sunset back at the hotel

Day 14 - 14th December 2015
Drive to Kaitaia

Short drive up the coast from Paihia via Kerikeri and Cable Bay to Kaitaia
The Stone Store at Kerikeri - Jigsaw puzzle scene

My other half couldn't resist a paddle at Cable Bay

Arrived in Kaitaia our base for tomorrows trip to the northern tip of New Zealand - Reinga Point
Doesn't seem to be much here but hostels and eateries for backpackers but the local Chinese takeaway had an interesting caller

Day 15 - 15th December 2015
The Top End

We took a trip to the most northern point in New Zealand - Reinga Cape
We travelled in a 'bus' that was really a truck with a bus body set on the back but it was very comfy and the truck heritage served it well on the day

First 'experience' was the drive along 90 mile beach - with the tide coming in!

Unfortunately high sping tides forced an earlier than planned exit from the beach by driving up a creek bed
until we could get on what passed for a road

Crossed to the other side of Northland for a picnic lunch in Taputaputa Bay

Then finally we got to Reinga Cape and its lighthouse - Tasman Sea on the left, Pacific Ocean on the right

Back down the west coast to Te Paki where we should have exited 90 mile beach and after negotiating more creeks,
we watched our braver (or more stupid) travellers get sand burns

And finally on the way back to the highway a creek similar to those we drove along (in) exiting the beach and getting to the dunes

Day 16 - 16th December 2015
Driving south

Drove south from Kaitaia to Dargaville over roads that were at times like a roller coaster.
Driving in North Wales is a piece of cake compared to this. Some really great views but few places safe to stop.

View from Look Out point in the Arai-Te-Uru recreation Ground

Waiting for the ferry to Rawene

Tane Mahuta - the largest and possibly oldest living Kauri tree

View from the hard shoulder on a twisty road somewhere in the Kauri Forest
The best view was about half a mile back but this was the earliest we could stop

Picnic by one of the Kai Iwi lakes

The Kauri trees produce a gum like sap and people used to dig in the peat bogs for the gum of the old trees
This is a statue of a gum digger in Dargaville. Using flash gave an oddly pleasing result.

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