Rab & Lesley's Big Trip

Days 17 to 32 - North Island Centre & Bay of Plenty

Day 17 - 17th December 2015
Driving south....

Long drive from Dargaville, through Auckland to Pukekohe.
The drive was mostly state highway, busy and fast or very busy and crawling with nowhere to stop so I have no pictures from the journey
We spent the rest of the day planning the next 4 days exploration from lake Taupo where we had booked an apartment.

Day 18 - 18th December 2015

We got to Taupo just after lunch

Checked into our digs, home for the next 4 days and then went to Huka Falls
When he was working in NZ my son kayaked over the falls as you can see in this U Tube video
He is the second one in the orange kayak

Link: Huka Falls

We then went to The 'Craters of the Moon' a geothermal area with lots of steam vents
But it looked like we were going to get rained on
And speaking of rain - Is this the Maori Rain God?

Day 19 - 19th December 2015
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

Unfortunately I can't show you any pictures from inside the caves for two reasons
1 They don't allow it
2 It's so dark you can't get any pictures without flash and with flash you wouldn't see the glow worms

We travelled through the cave on a boat powered by our guide pulling herself along a rope hanging from the roof.
It was like travelling under a camouflage net with thousands of tiny green/blue LEDs on it

The entrance
A totem in the entrance (sorry it is so tall)

The exit

Day 20 - 20th December 2015

Beautiful day in Taupo so went for a walk along the Waikato river to Huka Falls
Anyone for a Bungee? They hadn't started throwing idiots off - they were still checking the equipment. we didn't wait.

New Zealand's emblem (one of)

Day 21 - 21st December 2015
Tongariro National Park

This is what we had planned for yesterday afternoon but the weather while gorgeous in Taupo was a little bit too cloudy at our intended destination which was here: The Volcanoes in Tongariro National Park
Our transport
Steam venting from the slopes of Mt Pihanga
Mt Pihanga 1323m
Mt Ngauruhoe 2291m - featured as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films
And the biggest of all, Mt Ruapena 2787m
We had a reaaly good thrilling morning

Day 22 - 22nd December 2015
Waikarei Thermal Terraces

Day 22 started with a visit to the Waikarei Thermal Terraces where hot springs bubble up continuously with quite some vigour

I have a video of this that shows it much better - will try to load later

Day 22 - 22nd December 2015
Wingspan Bird of Prey Trust

We then went to Wingspan, the New Zealand Bird of Prey trust and viewed their rare New Zealand Falcon. They have only 4000 pairs left in the wild but most New Zealanders don't know they exist.The Kiwi outnumbers them 3 to 1

This is Ozzy who is about 3 years old and arrived at the Trust 6 months ago with a severely broken wing. He's had a metal pin inserted and is well on the way to being fit enough to be released back into the wild in about 3 months time. He flies free every day

Day 23 - 23rd December 2015
Wai-O-Tapu near Rotorua

After the volcanoes two days ago and the Thermal Terraces yesterday today we have geysers and mud pools.
This country isn't finished yet - the paints not dry....
The champagne pool because of the colour!

The Rainbow Pool, named because of the many colours seen in and around the pool (if you can see anything through the steam)

One of the mud pools splashing merrily away

The Lady Knox Geyser Left on it's own this would erupt every 32 to 36 hours but that is too unpredictable to earn tourist dollars so they kickstart it every day at 10.15 by tipping a pack of soap powder down the vent!
It then spouts for 45 minutes to an hour.

Day 24 - 24th December 2015
Waihi Beach

Staying with family over the festive period and today's activity was a gentle stroll along the beach
Our daughter flew over to NZ to join us for Christmas

Day 25 - 25th December 2015
Christmas Day

Christmas with lots of new family in Waihi Beach, But we escaped for a sunnier walk along the beach

Day 26 - 26th December 2015
Boxing Day Day

Anzac Bay near Waihi Beach

The Goldmine at Waihi

No trucks working today so no sense of scale. The hole is 600m across and 195m deep
This is one of the older trucks - they carry 100 Tonnes of ore
Mrs Rab to give a scale

Day 27 - 27th December 2015
Harangahake Gorge

Quiet day today most of the family has gone home and our hosts took us for a walk in Harangahake Gorge.
Very picturesque but sun in wrong direction and most shots look like ones we took elsewhere.
Very nice lunch in the Waikono Tavern where this rather nice Chevy Pickup was parked

Day 28 - 28th December 2015
Waihi Beach

Another lazy day on the beach in the Bay of Plenty
Waihi is pronounced 'Y - hee'

Day 29 - 29th December 2015
Ngatea Water Gardens

Drove our daughter to Auckland airport to catch her plane to Perth WA where she will celebrate New Year with our Aussie cousins before she heads back to the UK. We will see the cousins in March. On the way back to Waihi we stopped off at Ngatea Water Gardens
This lily was at least a foot across with a very odd centre

Day 30 - 30th December 2015
Full day with family

The only picture I took was this one with my phone

A porch built for the climate - pity the climate is a bit wonky here too at present
Read an article today on the web laying blame for the floods around Hebden Bridge on the owners of the grouse moors above the town link; The Guardian

Day 31 - 31st December 2015
Full day with family

Staying with family does mean you can't always get an opportunity to use the picture box so today a little bit of self indulgence. Closing off the year with a swim in the Pacific and a little piccy of myself and Mrs Rab
Looking forward to annoying our Scottish relatives by welcoming what we hope will be a Happier New Year 13 hours before them!!

Day 32 - 1st January 2016
Happy New Year to you All

....and what a difference a day makes!

Yes this is the same beach as yesterday

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