our New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong trip (February to April 2016)

Hong Kong

Hong Kong (28th March – 2nd April)

We flew from Perth to Hong Kong on the Monday morning. It was very early and the streets were empty …

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Western Australia

Freemantle, Western Australia (20th – 27th March)

We’ve flown across from New Zealand to Australia and have a small apartment in Freemantle. After talking to a few …

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New Zealand Posts 2nd February to 20th March


Tuesday 2nd February – Auckland (arrived!)

[above – the IBIS at Auckland Airport provided basic but clean and comfortable accommodation – in case you were wondering, Madeleine got the top bunk!]

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Wednesday 3rd February – Auckland to Kerikeri

[above – our cabin at Relax-a-Lodge in an orange grove near to Kerikeri] to

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Thursday 4th February – Russell and Bay of Islands

[above – we spent most of our time on Russell looking at the magnificent houses]

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Friday 5th February – Kerikeri to Bayly’s Beach

[above – Bayly’s Beach, a rather ‘chilled out’ beach village] to Really just a ‘stop-over’ on the route south from Bay of Islands. Really nice little beach village with nice beaches and walks. Sadly we didn’t

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Saturday 6th February – Baylys Beach to Tairua, Coromandel

[above – Rainbow Warrior sunk 10/7/1985, not forgotten at Dargeville Museum] to We left Bayly’s Beach without too much time to look round. Our impressions were that it was a …

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Sunday 7th February – Coromandel and around

[above – Hot Water Beach, Coromandel] This peninsula is near enough to Auckland to be explored from there by boat or or by car (a couple of hours drive). The main attraction were the beaches which …

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Monday 8th February – Tairua to Taurangi, Lake Taupo

[above – Te Manaroa Springs, the hot springs and pools left us a bit mystified] to A long drag in the car from Tairua down past Taupo, along the lake and on to Taurangi a staging post for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

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Tuesday 9th February – Taurangi: Tongariro Crossing and Lake Taupo

[above – very poor visibility on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing for the early parts.] At 19.4 km the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the more famous walks in New Zealand, and also used as the film location for Mordor in Lord of the Rings. The crossing …

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Wednesday 10th February – Taurangi to Napier

[above – our AirBnB hosts at Napier] to After saying goodbye to Nigel …

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Thursday 11th February – Napier and around

[above – these older buildings are a welcome change from the Art-Deco that everyone travels to see] Art-Deco gone mad and one of the main subjects of conversation, the other being the 1931 earthquake (3 February) when most of Napier and nearby Hastings were levelled by an earthquake killing 256 people. As a result of …

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Friday 12th February – Napier to Plimmerton

[above – the Mona Lodge at Plimmerton with the sea right on the doorstop] to Heading south for a night in Plimmerton before we catch the ferry to the South Island. We’re not sure what to expect as …

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Saturday 13th February – Plimmerton to Nelson, South Island

[above – yachts racing in Wellington Harbour as we leave the North Island] to The ferry ride across the Cook Straight takes about 3 hours and …

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Sunday 14th February – Nelson to Greymouth

[above – we followed the coastline down to the Glacier and Mount Cook areas] to Really, this was just driving to get us to the Glaciers / Mount Cook areas. Accomodation had been tricky and we had only managed to get …

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Monday 15th February – Greymouth to Franz Josef Village and around the glaciers

[above – the ‘awesome’ word is a bit overused in New Zealand, however it seemed appropriate to use it today as we climbed out of the helicopter onto a glacier] to

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Tuesday 16th February – Franz Josef Village to Alexandra

[above – our lodge in Franz Josef Village, near to the centre of the village and handy for all our needs] to

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Wednesday 17th February – Doubtful Sound

[above – the view as we approach doubtful Sound] Definitely one of the highlights of the holiday with …

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Thursday 18th February – resting up in Alexandra

[above – our lodge in the Winery at Weaver Estates] After all our travelling over the last few days we needed some time to recover. Luckily our lodge at …

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Friday 19th February – Cycling the Otago Central Rail Trail

[above – these irigation systems are seen everywhere in New Zealand, God knows what the hobbits made of them] Today we hired some bikes …

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Saturday 20th February – Alexandra to Timaru

[above – Mount Cook as seen from Lake Pukaka] to With turquoise waters from the glacial flour Pukaka has …

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Sunday 21st February – resting up in Timaru

[above – the Timaru population don’t seem to tire of playing in the water] Not really a great deal to do and see in Timaru which we were grateful for since we could …

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Monday 22nd February – Timaru to Kaikoura (Christchurch)

[above – Christchurch Cathedral, still in ruins after 5 years. We don’t think the authorities have come to a decision as to the next course of action] to () Sadly there was very little time to explore Christchurch …

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Tuesday 23rd February – Dolphins and Albatross at Kaikoura

[above – Southern Royal Albatross and in the background an Oceanic Vulture seen on the way to see the dolphins] …

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Wednesday 24th February – Whales from the air and sea at Kaikoura

[above – the pilot was getting a bit worried we were 45 minutes out and still hadn’t spotted a whale. …

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Thursday 25th February – Walking round the Kaikoura peninsular

[above – snoozing seals around the Kaikoura peninsular a lazy 6 mile walk for us]

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Friday 26th February – Day off in Kaikoura

[above – we haven’t seen one of these for 45 years or so] A day spent catching up on our …

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Saturday 27th February – Kaikoura to Abel Tasman

[above – our accommodation at Kanuka Ridge] to Arriving late afternoon we only just had time to settle in before we had to join the scramble in the communal kitchen. We could …

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Sunday 28th February – Abel Tasman: water taxis, walking and swimming

[above – one of the trips involves a water taxi out to this small beach and a kyak back. The kyaks are carried out by taxi earlier on]

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Monday 29th February – Day out to Takaka

Tuesday 1st March – Abel Tasman to Wellington

Wednesday 2nd March – Wellington and up to Palmerstone

Thursday 3rd March – Palmerstone to Tauranga

Friday 4th March – around Tauranga

[above – junior surf lifesaving competition at Mount Maunganui beach, Taurangi] Mount Maunganui is also the name of the extinct volcano …

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Saturday 5th March – around Tauranga again

Sunday 6th March – Tauranga to Bay of Islands

Monday 7th March – Waitangi Treaty grounds

[above – 1832 and the first game of cricket played in New Zealand was played in Paihia, in 1835 a …

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Tuesday 8th March – Paihia and a walk to the Hururu Falls

[above – Hururu Falls. A nice swimming pool and picnic area made even better by a really good walk up …

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Wednesday 9th March – Exploring the Bay of Islands by boat

[above – Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island, Bay of Islands and our lunch stop. The island was host to such …

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Thursday 10th March – Paihia to Auckland and the Shakespeare Regional Park

[above – the view towards Auckland from the lookout in the Shakespeare Regional Park] After relaxing in the Bay of …

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Friday 11th March – Auckland

[above – at the Fish Market in Auckland the Gunard, one of our favourite fish] Our first day in Auckland …

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Our first impressions of Auckland were’nt especially good; it was very busy and quite claustrophobic. It was only a few days later that we noticed a significant change in that the place seemed a little less packed and more chilled. After a while Madeleine suggested that the absence of a cruise ship might account for the difference. We checked on the web and found that the ship previously in port (Explorer of the Seas) had a passenger list of up to 4,029. Feeding and providing tours for the 4,000 wasn’t compatible with us ambling round so we chose the timings of our trips with care.

Saturday 12th March – Auckland Museum and the Hunua Falls

We had to get out of the city, it was too claustraphobic and we were starting to get down. We …

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Sunday 13th March – the Maritime Museum and a tour of the Harbour

Always good for a museum, although in later stages of this holiday we totally lost interest. Hong Kong and Heathrow’s …

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Monday 14th March – Museum of Transport and Technology

Quite easy to take apart, I would of liked longer to put this corpse back together. We always like Science …

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Tuesday 15th March – Waiheke Island

Above, binmen take a break on Waiheke Island. Waiheke Island is 11 miles by ferry from Auckland, in the Hauraki …

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Wednesday 16th March – Across to Devonport

As part of the Islands tour we’d been given a free return ticket to get across the harbour to Devonport, …

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Thursday 17th March – Tiritiri Matangi Island

The ferry from the Quays at Auckland took us across to this scientific reserve and wildlife sanctuary. Managed by the …

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Friday 18th March – Packing for Perth

Our last day in Auckland and New Zealand and we were left with only a few hours to wander round …

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