Short but Sweet: NZ's North Island
Trip Start Jan 14, 2009
57Trip End May 2010
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Don and Dorothy's house swap!!
The Hamilton Gardens house wonderful gardens that represent garden scenes from all over the world. This is the Italy Garden display.
Our tribe making Maori faces in the Maori garden
Emily has a special touch; we call it the chicken touch. No matter where we are in the world, she can befriend the local chickens and even pick them up!
We spent a lovely day exploring the west coast near the famous surf town of Raglan
The gang enjoying the surf on our toes at Raglan's best surf beach!
The splendid 55-meter Bridalveil Falls near Raglan! The North Island is so lush in places it reminds one of Hawaii!
Don catching the falls' water in his hat!
The Coromandel Peninsula is home to beautiful beaches and kauri forests (a type of gum tree that is up there with the Sequoia as one of the world's largest trees). The Coromandel range of mountains forms a spine along the peninsula rising to nearly 900 metres, which means some seriously windy roads.
Emily and Sally deep in a kauri forest
Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula - its name comes from underground hot springs that filter up through the sand between the high and low water tidal reaches. All you have to do is dig a hole and you've got a hot tub.
The scene really picks up when a good hot water pool has been dug!
Of course, we found a way to get some rock climbing in near Hamitlon - a place called Froggart Edge.
Lindsey leading up Monsterpiece Theater (NZ grade 20)
This cool rock climbing area is nestled between beautiful farm country, making for a quiet, peaceful place to crimp holds on these volcanic outcrops--that is, in between the outer-worldly sounds of the mooing cows grazing below.
We also toured the area to see glowworm caves, kiwi birds and ostrich farms!
Ben racing an ostrich (video)!
We couldn't take photos of the kiwi birds - the funniest birds you'll ever see! Here's a native NZ owl instead- the Morepork Owl, named for the sound it makes!
Our farewell dinner in Hamilton with (Left to RIght) Emily, Sally, Don, Dorothy and Lindsey
More photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benkunz/sets/72157623352816915/