So afterall the beaches and suchlike in Northland (of North Island) we decided with a rough idea to head down the East coast of North Island to spend our last 2 weeks on North Island before flying to the South Island. We didn’t really have a great desire to visit anywhere as we covered a lot of New Zealand’s North Island already and probably would have enjoyed staying in one place for 2 weeks but it turns out to be a good decision to go East!

We went via Auckland and we can’t do that without a food stop there.

Ramen. It was tasty but not the best we’ve eaten, can’t wait until we go to Japan for some tsukemen (dipping noodles!)

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Hitting up a food market, tonight it was in a shopping mall car park. They move to a different location in Auckland each evening.

Amazing vibe.img_9213img_9214

This lady was so skilled and quick. Every movement she made was not wasted, of course I got a (green tea ice cream) crepe from her.img_9215

Chris picked up snickers cheesecake.img_9217

So the Diwali festival (Hindu light festival) was on when we were in Auckland. A bit food sampling happened of course! It had a pretty good atmosphere and a dancing competition was going on too. img_9230

These below are a snack called puri pani, little fried pastry puffswith chickpeas, lentils etc with some sort of sour sauce (probably has tamarind) to go with it. It was quite tasty.

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So the morning we left, Chris spied a Filipino food market in a school car park near where we were staying. We picked up a couple of things and it was tasty. The guy who we got the food from said that Filipino food is influenced by various cultures like India and China etc. What can I say, we have good noses for food :pimg_9233

So we finally head down the East coast and our first stop is Waihi beach for 4 or 5 days and chill out. We didn’t do a lot apart from going to Hobbiton as we were tired out by the amount of travelling we did in Northland. Constant travelling is exhausting and just chilling out is an enjoyable and relaxing way to get to know the area. We hope to do more of this type of travelling when we’re in Asia.

There was a cute cat (Marnie!) to play with at this new airbnb place, and we popped for a walk along the beach, had some cake and saw a pod of dolphins!

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Actually we did do one other thing when we were there, we went to the Karangahake gorge nearby for a walk. It used to be a gold mining area and the rail tracks are still there.

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We got to go through the old tunnels! Torches are advised.img_9339img_9340

It’s pretty interesting landscape. You can make out a ‘window’ in the top right corner below, the tunnel of which we walked through.img_9345

So after Waihi Beach, we headed further east towards Gisborne but stopped off at this little town called Opotiki where the Lonely Planets guide mentioned this place – Opotiki Heritage and Agricultural museum. It was a kooky place, the museum is comprised of 3 buildings that orignally were shops that a guy called George built and he never ever threw away stuff and after it got turned into a museum, people kept donating stuff.

A weird sheep diorama.

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Old typewriter machines!004

Choose your font.005008

The old shop! Weird how people used to go in and order stuff off the shelves.013015

For teachers – please remember to abide by these rules.

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So off to Gisborne, apparently it’s the first city to see the sun and also it is the place where Captain Cook first landed in New Zealand! It’s also well known for being super sunny but it rained most of the time…We did find a nice day to go to the aboretum – largest one in the Southern hemisphere with trees and plant from the Northern hemisphere! Almost like being in Hillier’s back home in the UK!

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Ponderosa lemon, its massive!

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Big pine cone.012-2

During our walk around the arboretum, we saw this beautiful view.

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Chris almost sparked his head down the slide!028

We stayed at a lovely old place built in the 1930s and is currently being renovated. It probably had 20 rooms! A lot more chilling happened in front of a fire and the watching of Downton Abbey. Yep.

So onwards down the coast to Napier. There was a massive earthquake in 1931 (7.8 richter scale) that flattened the whole city and about 250 people died. It was rebuilt in a popular style at the time – Art Deco, which is what Napier is known for. It was a pretty cool place and we went to a really interesting museum, it’s well worth checking it out if you’re ever there (sections on the earthquake, Maori culture, Chinese art/links to NZ and other art).

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Napier is the biggest port in the east.024-2020014

Time for a break after walking all day.018

This is the museum to go to!012-3007-2006

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We had a beautiful day and some ‘fush and chups’ on top of Bluff hill below.002-2

We’ve seen a lot of amazing beaches and seas in NZ but please beware of ocean pollution, it affects us all in the end.

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So after our East coast travels, we head back up north and stay in Tauranga (near Waihi Beach) before we go to Auckland to fly to Christchurch. It was a great stay! The airbnb hosts had ponies that I helped brush, a beautiful contrary cat, a fun dog, bearded dragon and a blue tongued skink. We also played settlers of catan with the family, I did pretty well (!) and Chris won for the first time at it!

A bearded drgaon! He was quite prickly to touch.20161027_182457

The blue tongued skink, he felt like a snake and liked being stroked under the chin. Chris was super weirded out by the skink.006-2

We out for a walk to a nearby mount and beach and then had some burgers and beer battered fries, yum. I had pulled pork with crackling and Chris had the standard. We decided to try and have more western food before we go to asia. Most of the time, there’s an asian spin on western food or it’s made differently. For example bread doesn’t taste the same.001-2

Well that’s it for the North Island!

The next blog will be on South Island, and in case you forgot New Zealand has 2 main islands and the South is generally considered to be more the picturesque spolier alert, it really is!

Hope you’re all well.

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