So here we are, the final couple of days in NZ (sad face.) We have had the most amazing time here and the past week has been absolutely brilliant. After leaving the Coromandel coast, we drove over to Miranda, to hike in the Kauerangi Valley. It was really pretty here, and we’d anticipated that it would take around 5-6 hours to walk. It ended up taking only 3 hours- DOC guidelines are extremely conservative, but we keep forgetting this! So although not much in the way of exercise, it was really lovely to be out in the sun.
We then drove to the spectacular Karanghake Gorge, where we discovered part of the rail trail- guess who perked up again! This was a good 6 hour walk through abandoned mines and tunnels, and even I found it interesting! Sam was, predictably, engrossed in every info sign we came across- had to drag him away.
We stayed next to the beautiful Papamoa Beach and had the most amazing view from the back of Vanatar, One of the big pluses of living in him was the view every morning when we woke up- incredible! We then drove onto Mt Manganui, where we did our final challenging walk of the NZ leg. It only took about 30 mins to get to the top but it was bloody difficult!
Next, it was onto Hamilton to see my lovely friend Hilary. We used to work together in London and haven’t seen each other for about 4 and a half years- was so lovely to see her, can’t believe it’s taken so long. We had a great catch up- far too short though. Having laid off the booze for a week now, it was then time to head on upto Waiheke Island (or wine island as it’s also known,) about 40 mins by ferry away from Auckland. We met my awesome schoolfriend Nicola and her friend Penny for an absolutely fab weekend of vineyards, cycling and eating. Bliss! Waiheke is probably one of our favourite parts of NZ- could easily envisage us living there. It’s a small island with only about 8000 permanent residents, with a lot of batches, which the Auckland set and tourists jet off to on a weekend. Some people commute over to Auckland and it is super tempting to do it, as the island is just perfect.
We fly out of NZ on Thursday, and we are ready to hit diving and the beaches. Vanatar has gone back, which was very sad but it is nice to sleep in a proper bed again. We’re staying at Nicola’s where there’s excellent water pressure, comfy sofas and free wifi. Fantastic stuff. Bring on the sunshine!
We may/may not have good wifi in Fiji, so hopefully we can continue to regularly update the blog with all our news. This has definitely been the best decision we have ever made- incredibly excited for the next 7 months.