Bay of Islands

Day 58. Russell – Fullers Great Sights Boat trip Bay of Islands ‘Cream Trip’.

Our all day boat trip left Russell at 9.30am to blue skies and warm sun. The boat able to take up to 130 passengers was to our advantage only sailing with 30 at most, plenty of room to move around and view from all accessible areas.

967A6E17-14A1-43FD-BD1D-941BE01EA7C4

Throughout our tour on board Te Maki – The Orca, our wonderful crew provided us with an informative narrative of the islands and landmarks on our planned route as we passed them by.

02B33B91-BACD-47DD-9B79-99D2574E0FD4

B08813F6-37AF-429A-9E7F-0AEFB601B4F0

089F7D7B-607A-482A-98FC-AF9D52644BF6
We were in luck on this trip to see a Brydes Whale – not able to capture clearly enough with a mechanical lens but our eyes provided memories enough.

However the Common and Bottlenose dolphins we encountered along the way were happy to oblige ‘the man behind the lens’ as they cut through the water at speed under and alongside our boat. Gracefully they jumped out from the water as if in slow motion as their backs curved in a perfect arc.

47F57E97-9818-4545-8F4B-498402E9857A75AFC8AB-F7C1-4260-857D-647DF74BE914185017AC-FC48-436F-8FD1-2D0569C2B9F5E60AD643-C6A3-4B01-841B-F9AFE277F04974B8370D-9C39-418E-8483-2FA29DED7DEB556F1ECC-FCD1-4D9C-B461-79F46A4D8823D65C6ABE-FA85-495B-8819-E880DCC824C96D613CA5-3B18-47E3-8D3F-72972A3F5D6AWe stopped at Motukokako – Hole in the Rock – on this occasion the sea was too choppy to permit our boat safe passage through to the other side!

BA458A72-1978-4AAE-AE20-651329F9E193

755FFCDD-F507-44A4-893E-9B94AE5DDB4A

Our land stop for lunch was Otehei Bay on the Island of Urupukapuka. But first a short steep scenic loop walk up to a point overlooking the bay and islands.

08A6C649-CF98-490C-B8A8-B8D24E70B517

9681F466-A8C7-411B-B688-7BC5D02461DC

08386C00-6E85-4DAF-9D22-6EEBC124B8F2
E6153620-64D1-41CB-B32F-0185261B3CE7Back down beachside, a bar and eatery was available for refreshments as well as a picnic area for packed lunches. We visited both, one for our picnic and the other for ice cold beers on the green in front of the bar lounging on giant beanbags watching the boats and helicopter arrive.

B6842DA5-136A-49C1-B10D-A46EBB70DBF0

B7A168B6-0C09-43AD-AC77-DE3905D29D5E

55CBD3B2-00BA-4BEE-947C-A0E660B4AC2D
Back on board we continued our relaxing tour – for most of us that is….. a brave dozen or so opted to get dragged forward and back within a giant boom net before we made our final few view points around the islands arriving back at Russell late afternoon.

3CB86C40-9C09-4D84-AC5D-55C70A6645E8

5F3FF32C-974E-46E9-8328-5B36D265C42A

 

 

 

Karikari Peninsula

Day 55. Puheke Hill – extinct volcano rising 130m above sea level. 20 minute misty climb to top.

ED680BDB-B453-4C0B-8FE6-665308EEC697

D622A20C-1C74-4BCD-9C73-B1AF602354D4

This very steep walk took us up grassy slopes on a hill that splits the 12km long beach in two.

6C5DB8AD-5C14-414E-B3A8-C1577F50630B

F5832C58-2D3A-4A55-A086-77D2FE67DEBB

1D3EA05C-A938-4D3A-846A-B831D0DDEF56

Unfortunately thick mist obscured the beautiful azure coastal waters below. 

1237DE89-FA82-42F6-81C5-A96625F00A1C

However, the limited views from the top were compensated by meadow grassland brimming with wildlife. Difficult to capture tiny lavender blue butterflies flitted and danced above webs and cocoons in the rare shards of sunlight between the mist and cloud.

179AE9D5-2B73-4F10-ABBD-A0721ECCD33E

Making our way down through the mist back to Aramoana Two

68AFCB98-66C4-41CA-A91D-B2E179CC767C

Below the clearing mists a seascape appeared….

DA1B2B7D-C205-4ACF-B4CA-C47DE2308960

51E982C7-ACE9-4CA8-9DB2-9E2A5CA8F87F

Maitai Bay DOC Camp for the night – peaceful camp, found a quiet spot above the beautiful long curved beach.

6DBBAE48-BB7E-4A83-A8F4-CFD792C7FF1E

Long beach walks, swimming in the beautiful turquoise waters, and relaxing with a good read.

8E3D1AF8-242C-411A-89C9-59DD52177119

5818488D-FCAA-450E-87F2-F3AE0128E384

1F423656-8DEF-42F5-A7D7-635DBF26343C

Day 56. Two beaches walk before leaving for our next stop, rocks at the end huge, piled high, interesting shapes.

8219C5EC-3A0A-4EEF-8E4B-C97AE79D709C

2038B7E7-3B4B-4044-B45E-C40E04C52E7D

3BB2A35F-BBF5-46EA-B31C-0C1795BE0D30

53472AD3-2759-424E-BD15-DAA27AE11F97

1E3FBF06-002A-49F5-9F35-AB0583350FC1

724BF6DE-15A1-40B7-ACF8-D15912D73E55

Leaving the KariKari Peninsula behind it was on to…..

Mangonui for Sunday Fish and chips ‘the best in the North Island’. Great restaurant overlooking the harbour, large deck over the shore underneath a see through dome protecting us from the persistent seagulls without restricting the waterside views.

The resident Shag – a bird – queuing up for his daily scraps…

A walk on the promenade before our next stop…..

D4C88466-E2D9-42A6-979A-6EE3F661CB29

Whangaroa Bay. St Paul’s Rock track, so named due to its dome like similarity to St Paul’s Cathedral.

DBBE2D76-E9E7-467A-ABB4-93A354A0D6F6

The very steep, narrow, winding access road had we decided to drive Aramoana Two up, would have taken approx 196 feet of climbing off the total height of St Paul’s Rock – the rock is in fact the eroded core of an ancient volcano.  

Instead with only one passing place and little in the way of parking a 7 metre long motorhome at the official start point, we decided to park along the pretty shore and walk the entire route up.

F84AE1C7-CC95-4E00-BD15-EB8C90449C64

Humid conditions meant sweating man was in overdrive before we had even got to the top of the road, I have to admit it was a real leg burner. Occasionally as we got higher a breeze would waft over us. Beautiful property and gardens with the best views out, gave us something else to focus on.

05DD4E61-EAED-48E0-912A-76D0EA8812C1

DB561F8B-A366-4214-8621-18C1B6D90E20

Eventually the marked narrow steep track up started, over a stile and then almost straight up approximately 492 feet….

Loose gravel and displaced divits of grass underfoot as we climbed, sent feet slipping backwards. Looking up to the bare rock perched above the grassy slopes, Long-suffering continually repeated ‘there was no way we could get up there’ I must admit secretly I had reservations too.

C976EEAB-BC3B-4A35-B81C-A88B6F7983C3

 

B1C435F7-9EFA-4AA0-B9E1-B69E3B5A7BFA

4A255437-80DB-4B55-B46F-C503AE38EE9E

7F9903D9-9CCC-4DA7-9C57-F391A6120B32

We pressed on and here the ‘fun’ really started. The final climb up rock with a few hand and footholds was challenging enough, but then we were faced with a series of chains to haul and pull our tired body’s up through a zig zag rock track.

8F2CC374-20F1-4DBD-BEB6-F1261152A3B4

AEA2378B-6D4D-4ACF-B454-BEBD97A8F153

09D9E065-2A7D-4BDF-AC8E-77930CB00F79

Still in one piece a short gravelly track led to the summit and wow, wow, wow….it was so worth it, truly the best 360 degree views over the Whangaroa Harbour and the many rock formations, remnants of ancient volcanos that erupted millions of years ago. Again another climb and not another soul in sight!

30DFD0A3-B4C3-4AE2-AE0E-3B2B4DD5E679

 

888CB270-B09F-4C9B-BB33-01F8F627A98C

641B70E2-47F8-4B91-AB3E-262818706BB5

499121F3-0AAD-4651-A9AF-39963BDBC1AC

Drone practice….

EA5DEC95-86A4-42E0-93F3-684FBC66C304

 

 

3F8F4805-111B-4A1F-8F9B-3FCF0324E9FD

CF1C5FD2-C670-4819-AF1A-AD00266B4A47

Back down the way we came abseiling down the zigzag using the chains seemed less tricky, as for the rest it was certainly quicker and less huff and puff was needed…

56BD4D91-426D-40F7-A598-550C952DB4F9

Tauranga Bay Camp – seafront pitch overlooking bay and out to Stephenson Island.

Long beach, soft golden sand with nesting sand pipits on guard in front of the roped off sand dunes – we already knew to give these dainty little birds a wide berth from other visited beaches.

FF547CA4-F763-4F30-A30A-E432EEABDB7B

As we walked the beach, the sea had thrown up the usual shore line debris including Jellyfish and the unusual – a dead goat! What I wondered was his story, did the poor animal fall from a cliff edge into the sea, or perish in transit? We would never know!

 

 

 

 

Forest Giants, Lakes and Boulders

Day 51. Drive to Kauri Museum at Matakohe. Our fascination with these magnificent trees started three years previous on our first trip to the North Island.

1729E503-7DDB-4B65-9927-A421D74B6996

The Kauri tree is NZ largest native tree, a type of pine from the conifer family it only grows in the subtropical north of the North Island.

Kauri Trees had been found to die on the inside, this hollowing out of the trunk eventually led to their collapse as the outer wood failed to keep them upright.

929A5D07-1CD5-4345-8E9B-02053A65ED61

The museum contains an extensive collection of old working and stationery milling equipment, kept in pristine condition by the efforts of a volunteer group of engine enthusiasts.

An original Caterpillar 60 1929 used for hauling logs, taking the place of eight teams of bullocks – 112 animals!

65101D15-208C-4411-8E24-953FCB876393

For anyone interested in the history of the now protected Kauri Tree I cannot recommend the museum highly enough – and photos cannot do it justice. The many rooms are packed full of extensive artefacts on its timber, gum and charts the early pioneers in New Zealand.

Baylys Beach the gateway to Ripiro Beach – New Zealand’s longest drivable Beach.

0B384AE4-62F4-47FC-80D1-2DBA03E1152B

Not for us though! There were very few places in NZ our hardy wilderness motorhome – Aramoana Two – could not tackle but this was one of them.

Even if we could have, weather had changed significantly and rain was lashing down as we arrived, strong winds only served to make the 100km long beach drive look very uninviting for driving. However we did park up and venture out for a chilly, windy, sand blast along the beach….

Beautiful scenic drive on to….

DB54AB72-7C0F-4D64-BF65-806B95C31604

7055FC19-5437-451F-947A-BD7777B46FB5

Kai Iwi Lakes Pine Beach Camp – nestled amongst 538 hectares of recreation reserve and three white sand freshwater dune lakes, again with few other visitors we were spoilt for choice and parked up with a glimpse through to the Caribbean like splendour of Lake Taharoa.

4321104A-C6D9-4E2D-8359-A821A101E016

We arrived in light rain, not to be deterred with all the beauty around us a walk was in order. Luckily there are a number of walking tracks available. We chose to circuit the beautiful Lake Taharoa a mere 5 miles round trip.

B8690203-15AA-4DF3-8186-7BD6A8F72789

The track was clearly marked and took us on gravel paths through forest always within a short distance from the lakes edge.

709A616E-E3E0-4661-9C21-7A3B7399CBC7

CB712D43-CB4B-4B22-8891-87AF755F58C5

BA7602DB-6D3F-459E-A2F2-778B4208B499

Weaving in an out we followed the tracks down onto the white sandy beaches and inviting jewel like emerald waters of the lake.

FC66FFC3-84A8-4986-B75F-9251B039E96E

DF693A58-4FA7-46F4-8294-2FACC1EE99AF

5D818623-436E-49D9-981D-F7C5AD9EEC12

At it’s deepest the lake is 38.8m and is the second biggest lake in New Zealand.

5070EDC4-0B61-4A03-8F9A-D58BA217B710

A well deserved swim at the end, later followed by a beautiful sunset lakeside.

18930F43-B40C-4575-AFF1-F167D556784B

6184428A-FAF4-4FFE-A080-D353F76D680B

0D81B6B1-8D0F-4C3B-BD64-0EA1AAFB4A44

Day 52. Taking advantage of the warm early sun another swim in the beautiful clear turquoise waters of Lake Taharoa before reluctantly moving on to our next stop.

4ED16D7A-EAE6-45CA-B495-2070E82441BB

Beautiful drive through Waipere Kauri Forest and a stop to see Te Matua Ngahere – Father of the Forest. 50 minute return walk through native Kauri Forest.

First though a boot wash turnstile to help prevent spread of Kauri dieback disease.

CE980420-FFED-4171-BF61-847614B5D8F5

Wide gravel tracks wound through thick forest…

Eventually leading to long boardwalks lined by Kauri trees ageing trunks clear of branches soaring skywards ending in a mass of foliage topped dense branches. It is almost impossible to convey in an image the sheer scale of these trees in height and girth. 

B0FB78FE-5A33-41E9-A80A-83C19565325B

6A45F871-344D-49C0-9441-C8A033416D22

We were in awe and wonder once again as we had been three years before on other Kauri tracks.

4E90A931-5A08-4805-AEC7-E1135FDFFB21

DDCCD776-9CAE-49CC-9090-5C3A73A8DF82

Suddenly at the end of the boardwalk Te Matua Ngahere ‘Father of the Forest’ stood filling the space with its huge presence. 

B5C3AC88-2648-40CC-9CF1-7027EF73F575

It’s girth measures an incredible 16.41m Total height is 29.29m and trunk height before the first if its branches start is 10.21m. Estimated age between 2000 and 3000 years old

9E8E1AED-3574-476C-BF83-FA0AB767929C

 

The top was lost in a severe storm in 2007 therefore it is not the tallest of the Kauri, nevertheless even without its top the muse felt like Alice through the looking glass by comparison…

823334F2-AC8F-4854-BFF9-23D358C30767

Wairere Boulders – private nature reserve. A long, winding, dusty gravel road took us to this unique place for our camp for the night. 2 hour loop walk.

DF86BAE8-21D2-4F9F-A808-42DD56DE0EA5

Starting out from the back of the information point and cafe we followed a well marked track using a handy map for guidance, through thick native bush and young Kauri trees 250-300 years old….

Wow a bush walk with a difference as huge boulders from volcanic activity had literally exploded out and overtime dropped into this huge cavernous valley, stacking up to create a black abyss. 

1A4BD7A7-55C8-42F0-B776-6AA925427C22

B184962A-3C22-4A94-BBF8-68C4C62F57FA

Caves had been carved out by the rain over thousands of years….

38D01E7F-C76B-44E6-A08F-80EFEFC54B12

Under and over massive boulders….

756A9468-B1FA-44A0-9D4D-872CBC719562

3AE22B52-C36B-428C-9783-F809CB79E948

2AE2FC32-17EB-40D2-8D0C-7C5F1DF63D82

Over bridges, rushing rivers and small swimming pools….

84CFDCC8-835E-49E5-9F42-26C8DB6187D0

10287B89-190F-4A4A-A841-EEE3268E92F9

 

24A53357-9F89-4257-9D33-F17A3CE092A6

An added bonus for the muse was the plant labels and information points along the way…

4A38172B-6971-4732-A689-2C4C9915DC13

Towering boulders lining the route

F813D792-569E-4F16-9364-9B3E19A3BCF0

Eventually after some steep climbing – when is there not a climb – we came to the lookout, a suspended platform over the valley and boulders below.

59F84D93-3794-4727-B8E5-48E19A8BF070

3113A8AF-32C7-48B7-846B-814AAF0F478D

4E99E5E4-82D9-4883-ACBA-1AD0BC72F89D

Then back to our camp spot for the night surrounded by quiet and peaceful beauty….

A91FCF3D-5949-4C08-9E15-07C2E8DB9DC0

 

 

 

 

Lion, Fall & a near miss!

Day 49. Early drive out from Fletcher Bay, stop at Port Jackson for a last long stroll on  this beautiful beach. Find a rare whole Sand Dollar – Sea Urchin – all the ones previous had been broken and scattered into separate triangular pieces. Bleached white in death, it was light and delicate to the touch in our palm.

F173FAE7-DAD5-482A-9B04-3360F29E7200

Another beautiful scenic drive out along the winding gravel drive to the main road….

92B6E625-7ACF-4E41-BA31-3F917EC5F43C

 

62E5393F-E971-4695-810B-C118D5137F2E

Ohana Farm Lookout – over the Firth of Thames….

 

707A4246-2C0E-45E7-8233-DC15BDDDB763Miranda Holiday Park – after four days non-powered Aramoana Two needed a top up of essentials and after a couple of weeks we needed some clean clothes and linen. As a  bonus this park also had a thermal pool to soothe our aching muscles after weeks of daily walks.

Day 50. Drive to Piha Beach. Lion Rock Tramp – shaped like a reclining lion seen from the south beach – this huge rock divides the beach. 

4FD9FD8F-87AD-4CA7-AB92-85C8C17CCED1

8F38A1D2-3FD6-4464-B1CA-A32F4FD25056

A short steep stepped track took us up the lions back….

Carved rock shapes, spaces between providing lookouts over the south beach. 

FF5A406E-9087-4FD5-B37C-C397E4841248

A perfectly placed seat at the stopping point, thankfully not all the way up this time – a rockfall had made further ascent too dangerous. A Carved Pou stood sentinel attributed to a Maki ancestress who once loved the spot.

F50BF075-B200-4598-AC54-13C8A0A1F313

C7F24E92-CCE1-42BB-B94A-E5749597B7D7

The North Beach….

12F7008A-118D-4BC3-8CE8-DCFB21A5B96C

Kitekite Falls – 90m fall 1 hour return.

A walk taking us through native Kauri forest walking a track often over boardwalks to protect the shallow feeding roots of these protected statuesque trees…

We followed and crossed the winding river over bridges…..

A172CF72-24D1-4AC4-90A6-3B48EF75E079

and wet rocky crossings…..

2B2CFCC5-9090-42F5-BD9E-E238B109EBF8

61ADCF36-B4B9-4E70-BA03-51D61389723B

Steep steps took us up to the top of the falls and swimming holes, thankfully the muse was not needed to stand precariously on the edge….

 

2A847C54-A945-47B7-BE95-4A22CA335901

9EC5FDC3-887B-4DF0-8F73-9728A1914556

 

Back into forest, steps down and out to a spectacular three tiered falls into a rocky turquoise pool below, a photographers dream…..

1B55A2E0-F2BE-4C3A-8AE1-8ED998724699

B21142C6-5F0D-412B-8726-8DF03DA6D376

ED103BEF-9E25-4656-A57F-1A38B5C8B00A

EFEB7EF5-9A48-4761-A7A0-D803AA4F108F

Perils of a forest walk, dead and dying plant matter from a canopy way above just missed falling on our heads. The crashing sound of a huge, heavy frond falling through the dense layers sent the muse surging forward almost knocking long-suffering over in the process!

1A22CA28-A50D-44FF-8927-CA786F2C34E1

 

 

A Secluded Cove

Day 45. Early long drive to edge of Coromandel and Homunga Beach Walk – from Ngatitiangata Road above the bay, 1.5 hour return.

We packed our swim things, lunch, and plenty of water for an easy walk down to a beach we hoped would not disappoint.

A hop over a style before starting our descent down a gravel lane and out onto open hills, the grassy track was well marked and easy to follow.

A sea mist had rolled in giving an eerie feel, and making the coast line almost invisible from our headland vantage track.

908D8E8E-6F20-4C0D-AB62-FEFB3706F7DB

B3899500-7EFA-4C9F-95D8-9A81D833CC93The track changed as we headed down into a valley before changing again as we hiked through thick native bush with glimpses of the bay under the mist as it cleared.

C6884916-A97E-4971-954A-E9C7279C7EAD

46E9755E-F6F8-4C29-9133-5A608B7F92FF

4D1703D9-D875-4EEE-993E-B930590D1720

A34531DC-072B-403B-99E7-E438F3EB78B7

A final narrow zigzag path dropped us down and out onto Homunga Beach….Wow, a stunning beauty, silky soft, white sand, fine particles dusting our hiking boots. Hopping about we scrambled to get them off, not believing this beautiful cove was deserted! Our own private paradise. Turquoise waters, waves rushing in over rocks to shore, frothing, creating patterns on the sand.

FE58BBAE-4D13-4309-A39F-0D00CA662827

A16DE848-D8CF-43B0-8CE5-5B2930014B17

 

E7151DCA-C8CC-482A-A11F-7501B1530998

We dumped our bags and paddled the waters of the steeply sloping beach, waves breaking knee high before the undercurrent tried to pull our legs out from under us.

AFA12950-AEAD-4BFB-A2AC-F29A4AA1A425

Strolling in and out of the surf exploring, at one end we found the trickle of a waterfall….

4670F5D3-EFEB-436E-AB67-0238235EE893

2CA8DCAA-5C0B-46BB-B233-11C363874324

The view from above through the ever present sea mist….

A37EDDD8-F677-43CA-9226-3EF66A40A84E

 

Mid-afternoon we made our way back up – pay back time for our rest and relaxation in the peaceful cove. Unlike the ease of our descent the return back up was anything but. A hot, hard, huff and puff taking us over an hour to reach Aromoana Two.

However, despite our cooled, sea washed skin running in sweat washed rivulets down our necks, we both agreed it had been well worth the effort to get there and back!

66318296-A1FA-4F35-A033-4C6E30CA1A9C

Waihi Beach Freedom Camp – a car park set back from the road but not on the beach.

East Cape and the Bay of Plenty

Day 42. East Cape Road to Lighthouse, eastern most Point we could drive to in NZ.

A5141519-C939-4F33-95AF-45BE23BA831B

Beautiful scenic coastal drive mostly on gravel, lots of dust on this boiling hot day.

BD17FF03-438E-4970-8C79-77FA13677A47

Reaching the end of the road below the lighthouse we decided against climbing the 800 steps up to the actual lighthouse on account of sweating man and dodgy hip.

5C8CA2C2-DB42-4399-94A5-AD294798CD3B

Ohiwa Beach Resort – one of the cleanest, smartest powered sites we had been too. Beautiful spot, plenty of room and great facilities for young and old.

3E1F8620-1F74-4D96-B584-F8105CDE0BE6

A short two minute walk through dunes took us onto the beautiful beach and crashing waves. 

DE49E7AF-4DB8-42D6-BB1A-05E37482EDBC

E649373E-5F98-4243-839C-8B4D12B35BCE

9188D112-04E8-4B0D-9724-9A4573A5921E

Day 43. Ohiwa Beach Scenic Reserve Peninsula Loop Walk 2.5 hour 4 miles.

This was an interesting route right from the start, walking through native bush, alongside the track, many plant markers helped with identification giving us a botany lesson on NZ Native species. 

EFA225B8-BA67-4495-B441-DE5B5B0DF8B4

Out from the confines of the bush, open ground and coastal views over the Pacific Ocean and White Island views.

9508E32F-8844-498A-9123-A52CD2FAC0F7

9E97532E-C61B-4853-9C38-2F81C59CD272

516A4DB2-98E8-413A-A76A-B550F03FB0E8

Up here a flat expanse had been converted into an small Arboretum for rare and endangered plants from the Bay of Plenty.

F4438614-7777-40E1-B876-97B68F541DAF

EE99E876-79B7-48EE-BEBA-347810473C38

The terrain changed to lush hilly pasture land affording the most amazing 360 degree views and Mount monganuii -our next challenge – in the distance.

612B51C6-7412-4737-B667-04E9C4458F7A

 

A2FCEE3E-649F-4EBE-801C-049C3A4601CC

 

D3FAB865-B8ED-426B-91C3-0E1259FE7895

530A5EA6-0933-4B1D-98AF-F7B8AF3501BF

B3CD46CB-BA90-42EB-98A0-B41BAB2A37E0

Through a gate we then started the descent down and back towards the beach.

D80C095E-925A-44F8-B67D-2914243C3638

66984226-6F8D-442B-A68D-6327AF67E9CD

Verbena bonariensis grows wild here….

C0C052B7-B7DF-4070-ABD5-7320D7BC476A

Jasmine, its scent heavenly sweet covering a property’s perimeter fence as we walked past….

F4001573-EFDB-4C42-AB20-DA907BDA6085

And then we had dropped right down roadside and on to Bryan’s beach where an unopened makeshift bar was set up.

2A3F2EE7-4D93-4636-A927-D7087912D23F

721E022B-1DA3-4C7F-AEC4-7ED843B24272

A walk back along Ohiwa beach through the dunes and back to Aramoana. 

Swim in the sea, waves crashing over us rest and reading….

4BA634CF-6F21-4B21-AC37-16688AE7009F

7ED9871A-04BE-43CB-9341-D64194E8A1C4

Beautiful Sunset….

4E9D9CD8-06F7-456B-875E-0DBCFFA6F669

B634D1C5-5258-4D43-89EA-7F2417DB2D12

Day 44. Drive to Mount Maunganui Tauranga for our overnight stop. White sand beach stretched as far as the eye could see, busy with surfers.

39A9B0D1-2A77-4D8B-8C41-CF9026B1FE2C

01541FC1-5061-48F0-9220-3715F053EA34

Mount Maunganui summit track 40 minutes to the top height 761ft

A hard walk up this extinct volcano rising up above the town and beach.

9E64F6CA-9736-4EBF-90C8-6EE880F2AD04

Flights of steep steps and rocky tracks, the heat made for a gruelling climb.

E46AF584-B703-4509-8447-617A8F4C0D89

On a clear day our efforts would have been amply rewarded, as it was, the mist had refused to budge making the amazing 360 degree views over the entire length of the Bay of Plenty a bit murky.

2624C6F4-F02E-4937-970F-7BE80C699C93

DD9D65EF-A60C-48F4-8DAC-E4358FDF2DF9

773F74F5-7DBA-41D6-980F-B4304251ABAB

4839399A-F459-4909-BEB1-3988680BD965

0BCF7D75-1F50-4241-A0FB-150E21473FC8

Later in town a barber and hair salon were sought – after seven weeks travelling we were both in need of haircuts. Both striking lucky with choice, the muse especially so, who was cut and preened to perfection by a very conscientious German lady working in Adore Hair Design. 

Long-suffering seemed very pleased the muse was no longer sporting the shaggy sheepdog look!

D3A5AD9F-8932-4088-BF48-41E7960C51A3

 

 

Stunning Peak, Hill, Lake, Beach, Sea & Church!

Day 39. Te Mata Peak Track. 2 hour return 3.47 miles, summit 1,320ft 

Beautiful walk taking us through Redwood forest on well marked tracks. This was a popular walk/run track for locals as well as visitors. A run here everyday on any of the tracks would ensure optimum workout. Not for me though….

5D91FA65-49EF-4BF5-A5D7-CDE1601E2586

43A64B80-AA89-461A-ADDC-D5B8464D7C3C

B0B6DD9F-A552-4A6F-B098-73B3195A6C52

Not quite coming out unscathed from my recent acrobatics in Tongariro National Park, an old nerve issue had reared its ugly head. Electric shock like pain and burning pulsed through my glute whenever pressure was applied especially steps up or steep inclines, of which this walk had plenty!

4C07C41F-F18B-48AE-96EE-AB07929F6629

Although sudden and painful the shocks only last for seconds. The past seven years have seen them come and go, I was hopeful as before, they would soon be gone. NZ still had a lot of walking tracks in store for us according to Long-sufferings full  itinerary! His hipster muse must walk on…..

Steep grassy slopes covered with self seeding Erigeron karvinskianus – a weed in NZ, Valerian and Fennel.

DFB7A0ED-536C-4B90-B3B3-F48A903755AB

B4B2ED74-8D7F-4A79-B14F-CDD899C79C2B

Beautiful undulating hills and views in every direction as we climbed up gently meandering pathways.

AF65153A-DA7D-41D3-BA68-C9C165055463

38DA64F7-9964-46CC-985B-F4E1EA94B68F

Green green valleys….

D9AB86E5-6AFE-48E1-A974-8EFC8414296A

In the rock beneath our feet and hillsides evidence of fossilised shells….

As always, a challenge was faced – I forgot my hiking pole – as we clambered up steep rock-faces.

C7704DCB-AEA2-4109-A23B-062C7786FB4C

9457FEFC-AECC-4D1C-84D0-6784CC76A944

Nearing the top, we could see Mount Ruahupea in the far distance it’s snow cap prominent even amongst the clouds in the sky. 

A20DC5E3-2834-433F-A578-C1C847F6B758

From the summit we were greeted with stunning 360 degree head swivelling views for miles around. 

4F81B611-164D-40FD-9AB9-05AF9A77A972

D8EF33D3-11E6-4A1B-B524-4E8032807B65

Looking down from the peak our route to the top….

9D78E288-86F5-463D-81CC-E2E7D6C7240E

The peak was busy with people, the red faced walkers/runners laying prone catching their breath and the car/coach travellers – anyone less able/inclined a road winds all the way up to the top – fresh as they snapped away. Of course for Long-suffering and his hipster muse, that was never going to be an option!

F86AC395-A862-4834-BD63-4184FC300E9D

Lake Tutira…Lunch stop and drone practice….

E7118250-B554-41B2-A26A-AC0FC43F46A5

 

B527B869-B8EA-408B-8457-7F45F2E0C2CB

52AB50BA-CACA-4F16-9D99-FE99A840FA99

DBF075B6-CD34-4AF5-9895-BF3DC7E3EBC5

F0FEDA30-1F8B-43C8-B147-B8DC2867941F

It would seem even here in beautiful and unspoilt NZ fly-tipping is happening!

FB743534-A9DF-449A-8551-44B40E3FECED

Overnight stop, Hawkes Bay Mahia Beach Freedom Camp….

95DABA1E-8B65-491C-84D7-4BF36F77C901

Watercolour and drone practice….

35023079-5EAF-4F91-977D-4117C3570A30

338C7BEB-5CFE-411F-8D39-1208155D946B

Day 40. Early drive out to Hawkes Bay Peninsula and short half hour climb of Mokotahi Hill.

23CF56DC-BC92-4D6A-8BFC-7053D46F19DD

National Trust look after this track, recently upgraded for our walk.

FCBFD7F8-2F5B-4A3D-AEDE-A118CFEF966A

02661940-1E04-48E1-BA5F-197AF63671F3

Worth the steep winding zigzag track for the panoramic views from the top over Hawkes Bay.

D182D643-FE4C-4007-9F8B-7E13C273AB0E

61CC4E72-BC79-4788-B12A-1A1272AC0582

A6D46D45-7295-4D55-AEFB-B5B8E3A01FAF

Small copper butterflies enjoying the wild flowers on the hillside.

Wainui Beach, tea stop, beautiful long golden sands….

296513B9-C7C8-46B9-8A89-B947C73CF0C8

6491A017-C6D4-4D64-819B-E188B262A2AE

3385CA03-F0D8-43CD-9D0A-DCACCD487EA8

Anaura Bay Campsite. Beautiful long beach two mile return walk.

73132B46-96D3-46EC-89AD-2504C0FAD9C0

64E680E3-41D2-4A21-B6A6-E1F3212043D5

87B358CA-0F8F-4F69-98EE-179FA61B3741

4CBC860F-97E4-4EE9-B4DA-BF3F3B8A5299

39EE3F43-0B9A-443F-8DA7-8C75BF1E2011

Day 41. Drive to Waipiro, originally to visit picturesque church. Very hot and getting hotter…

CC60CD55-B3AE-4E0B-B883-B41D9D202346

Below the pretty church a track led to a beautiful empty beach and freedom camp. 

0B4025F7-C3BA-4497-BDD7-96ED442C10DD

Instead of driving on we decided to stay and have some rest and relaxation time, well almost except for ‘Muse’ duties! We strolled on golden sands and dipped ourselves in the still chilly but vigourating turquoise waters.

1F0A32D6-6763-48B0-B5F1-4D45CDC0F1FF

C1B83EB5-46C6-4981-A1A0-C318FE063AD7

559DCF61-C337-4D56-A059-0C22A4E862B8

5E2B4D63-8E5B-4368-8493-6280A694FB1B

FBDB4037-D8A0-440F-B418-2CD2C0E805D2

3855B818-EA27-497F-A306-A29975AD16DA

Fisherman only other person on the beach…

4CE94CB8-BEB3-45E8-A3FB-3C9B3E60BEFB

watercolours and drone practice….

A41FB5E6-4A49-4FA7-BE0C-FF994A3D2D92

EE437F48-C0A2-47F1-A35B-7F5198017275

 

C143552B-C3C2-402C-BE44-E17F4A25E9F7