Saturday, 11 February 2012

New Zealand Day Sixteen- Auckland

My last day on the North Island started with a beautiful sunrise as the sun appeared behind the volcanic island of Rangitoto, which can be seen from my sister’s lounge window.  I decided to be lazy this morning and stayed home while she and my brother in law did the weekly supermarket shop.  It gave me time to do a last bit of washing and attack my wild mop of hair with water, shampoo and a comb.  

Chores completed, we went for a drive over to Muriwai beach on the west of Auckland; a contrast to the East coast bays.  The wind was stronger, waves higher, sand blacker and a much stronger smell of fish. It is a popular place for surfing and we were amused to watch some beginners learning the basics. 
Of course I couldn’t come to New Zealand and not taste New Zealand wine, so our next stop was to Kumeu where we’d booked lunch at the Solijan winery. Before eating we were treated to tasters of a selection of wines and very nice they were too.  Shame they are not allowed to export to the UK.

Lunch was accompanied by the one we liked best – a pinot gris.  Then, in order to work off some of those alcoholic calories( I don’t dare think about dessert), we drove to the Waitakere forest for a walk to Fairy Falls. Once again this was a different style waterfall to the others I’ve visited and well worth the 45 minute trek there.. It was also one last chance to admire the mighty Kauri tree as they don’t grow on South Island.

This evening was my last opportunity to walk along the North Shore.  The bays, like the waterfalls are all so different.  Some have golden sands, some dark while others are filled with volcanic rocks that are fun to clamber over.  It made the walk more interesting not knowing what would be in the next bay.  Looking up at the cliffs, it amazed me how some of the trees clung on.  Often their roots hung in the air.  Some, I don’t think would survive a big storm but the others must be very tenacious to keep a purchase on the rocks.

Back at my sister’s place, next task was packing ready for my flight in the morning. I have very much enjoyed my time on the North Island. There was so much to see and lots of beautiful, natural places.  Favourites have to be the hot springs and the Kauri forests.

  Next stop is Christchurch and a coach tour of the South Island where there will be so many new experiences and sights to see.

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