Trip Start Jun 06, 2005
Trip End May 31, 2006

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ok so we are finally off on our New Zealand leg of the journey. We had been in Auckland for about 10 days already with Rob, Mary, Ian, Katie and the kids taking it easy but it was time to get on the road. We picked up our Limo which is going to take around both islands, not just any limo but a Super Extra Limo......

What is this Limo I hear you it a stretch Limo.....well here it is.

More like a squashed limo.

We left sunny Auckland and headed south to Lake Taupo, which is about 280 kms away.

The countryside is very similar to England, what do you think.....?

Three hours later and just before Taupo we pulled in to take a look at Haku Falls. The water is running so fast you wouldn't want to fall in but rafting it would be fun!!

We found our campsite, (this brings back memories) which is a Top Ten, similar to KOA sites in the states. The place is very good and better than any we had seen before. The facilities are fantastic and very clean (Kelly liked that). There was a huge bouncy air pillow for the kids which we couldn't resist having a go on.

We drove in to town (5 mins) and took a look at Lake Taupo. The lake is huge and looks great and there happened to be a little bar that looks out over it so we had to have a quick pint.

We then returned to the campsite and prepared for our first night in the sleepervan.
The area is a hotbed of geothermal activity and as the sky darkened and the air cooled large plumes of steam can be seen all around the campsite. The sleepervan is quite small and cosy as you can see.

We had a very interesting nights sleep and after stretching for a while we set off to catch a replica steam boat across Lake Taupo to some Maori carvings only accessible by boat.

The ancient carvings were carved in 1979, so not so ancient at all and were basically done by a local artist. It was still interesting and any excuse for Kelly to take a boat ride.

We headed out after lunch for Napier about 2 hours away to the east. Napier was flattened by an earthquake in the 1950's and was rebuilt with lots of Art deco architecture.

Again we stayed at a Top Ten which was good.

There is not much to Napier really (ok Ian you were right) but it was a stop off before we headed down to Wellington.

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and we liked it a lot. We were staying just outside in a place called Lower Hutt and on the way we had another tyre incident.

Another flat tyre right on a mountain pass road with nowhere to stop so we had to drive on a flat for about 10 mins...not good...and to top it off it was raining too.

We visited the Te Papa museum in Wellington, one of my favorite exhibits was a cow made out of corned beef tins.

The museum is at the wharf which itself is a great place to see.

After a quick wonder around town we took a cable car up to the botanical gardens.

There is also a cable car museum at the top.

The view of the city is great from up here!!

That night it really rained heavy and we thought we hadn't pack any wet weather gear when we remembered that Mary had put a couple of rain coats in for us. We search for the coats and Kelly had a red one as seen here...

And I had a green...SHOWER CURTAIN!!!!!!!!

After we rolled around laughing for a while we made our plans for the next few days.

We had booked the ferry across to the south island for 7.45 am and only just made it in time...the last car on!!! The ferry crossing was very rough.

But as we entered the Marlborough Sounds the water calmed and we took some great pics from the boat.

We arrived in Picton about 3 1/2 hours later and drove to a little place called Havelock. It became apparent very quickly that the south islands scenery is much more dramatic than anything we had seen so far. Here are some photos of the journey to Havelock.

We arrived about 2 pm and found a local pub called The Clansman and started chatting to Emma, from Gibraltar. We ended up staying there all day watching a rugby match and getting a little drunk.

On our way home we popped in to another pub for a final beer and ended up there till 12 as karaoke was on. Needless to say I got up a few times, and all in all it was a good night.

After a slow start to the morning we headed off to Nelson only 1 hour away to meet up with Emma again. The 200 years celebration of the Battle of Trafalgar was on and the opening of Nelsons new provincial museum. The road to Nelson also provided us with some great views.

There were lots of people in period costume and I got picture taken with Lord Nelson himself.

He wasn't the only famous person there.....

The Prime Minister Helen Clarke was there as well.

And this person should be famous for the worlds worst comb-over.

Nelson is very pretty and it been our favorite place so far, Christ Church Cathedral is lovely too.

The celebrations went on into the night with music, the firing of cannons,

all culminating with a fireworks display.

So now we are off towards the west coast to a little place called Kaiteriteri and work our way down to Queenstown for Chris's birthday.

So bye for now and keep your emails coming we really appreciate them.
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