Trip Start Feb 11, 2009
13Trip End May 17, 2009
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Jane & Gary took us to the bus station in Belleville and at 1pm the bus arrived to take us to Toronto. We were suppose to arrive at the airport shortly after 4pm but the bus got a flat tire. We got to the rest stop in Clarington where we waited to get the tire changed. We finally arrived at the airport about 5:30pm so we had the bus driver drop us off at our hotel. It was a very wet and foggy drive into the city. Went to the Keg for supper and then packed it in for the night.
Day 2 Feb.12th (Thursday)
Had an early trip to the airport as our flight was for 8:35am. We left Toronto on Air Canada in pouring rain only to arrive in L.A. in sunshine. We got our luggage and then checked in for our flight to Papeete,Tahiti. We flew Air Tahiti Nui. Our flight to L.A. took about 5 hours and our flight to Tahiti took 8hrs20mins. Upon arrival we were presented with leies made up of grasses and lotus blossoms. By the time we arrived we had been up for over 26 hours. Also getting off the plane was like walking into a sauna. We went to bed exhausted.
Day 3 Feb.13th (Friday)
Up and after breakfast wearing shorts and sandels we headed for the market which we were told was a must see. It wasn't very busy as most of the stalls were just getting set up. The flowers for the 14th were beautiful and so plentiful. It was very hot and humid so we had to have a rest and then continued on. We took the noon ferry across the harbour to Moorea Island where we rented a car to drive the 26 miles around the island. There was only one road so we couldn't get lost. There is some poverty here but the people are very friendly and very laid back. The smell on lotus blossoms, gardenias and hybiscus is overpowering but beautiful to look at. We returned the car and got the last ferry back to the mainland. I really liked seeing all the women and children with flowers in their hair.An early evening as it was 8:30pm Tahiti time and 1:30pm T.O. time. We were tired.
Days 4&5 Feb.14th/Feb.15th (Saturday/Sunday)
Another hot and humid day with brilliant sunshine. We had a good night's sleep and after breakfast we went for another walk around town. We stopped at the market and it was buzzing and the flowers were disappearing like hot cakes. We walked down to the harbour just to watch the world go by. Because it was the weekend there wasn't as much traffic. The streets were full of fathers with their children out getting something for their sweethearts. We went back to the room and packed up for our trip to the airport. We flew Air New Zealand to Auckland and arrived 30 minutes early. Now it is 7pm Sunday the 15th. (very confusing). John & Colleen picked us up and we made the hour and half journey to their home in Thames (pronounced Theems).
Day 6 Feb16th(Monday)
We had an early morning and followed the main road along the coast north to Coromandel Harbour and into the town. Here we took the Driving Creek Railway which was built by Barry Bickell over a period of a few decades (he is still alive at the age of 73). This 60 acres is now part of the N.Z. Trust and can never be sold or developed. The different trees that are native to N.Z. were all marked so it was interesting. The hillsides are beautiful with lots of farms. We then had a picnic lunch in the park and walked to a quaint little cafe for a coffee.
Continued our journey to Kuaotuna and then on to Whitianga where drove around exploring the sites. Continued to Kaimarama and on to Tairua. John had to cut the grass at his rental so Colleen took us to the beach--the water was cold. Got to see how macadamian nuts grow and ate alot of them. We eventually made it back to Thames for dinner. It was another interesting day of exploring. The weather was cool but enjoyable.
Day 7 Feb.17th (Tuesday)
John had to go off to work this morning so I was able to do laundry. Colleen had errands to run so we went off with her. She took us to see John at the vintage car place where he restores old cars and a couple of them were beauties , a 1927 Dodge and a '28 Hupmobile--getting ready for a wedding on the Saturday. We then went off to the Cheese Factory for lunch before following the Kauerangha River to the Hoffman swimming hole and the logging booms. During dinner we sat in the living room and watched a gorgeous sunset. Another interesting day.
Day8 Feb.18th (Wednesday)
We had an early start this morning (8am) as we were heading to Rotorua (a 2 hour drive). We saw more of the countryside and mountains which reminded us of some of the areas of Scotland. Upon arriving in Rotorua we stopped for a coffee break in the park along the water and watched people taking a heliocopter flight over the area.
We then drove through town to "Whakarewarewa, the Living Thermal Village". This geothermal activity allowa the Hangi people to live on the sitearound the sulphur springs. The geyser reminded me of "Old Faithful" in Yellowstone Nat'l Park. The smell of sulphur hit you as you arrived but seemed to be okay after a few minutes. There were several "Hangi Boxes" which were like ovens in the ground and the steam cooked the food which was wrapped in foil. We had some for lunch and it was delicious. The Hangi bathe together in the communal baths (nude) but women with their periods can't and must bathe in their homes. This village is owned and operated by the Hangi and they support themselves with the tourist trade. We missed the performance of their cultural singing and dancing unfortuntely but this was very interesting and we didn't reek of sulphur afterwards.
After lunch we drove to "Rainbow Springs Nature Park where we walked the grounds viewing the wildlife, flora and fauna native to N.Z. Then we went to the "Kiwi Encounter" and learned how they are trying to save this endangered flightless bird. They take the egg from the nest at night when the daddy bird is away as mommy flies the coop once the egg is delivered and brings it back to the hatchery and put in the incubators. Once the eggs hatch the chicks are nursed for 16-18 months and then released back into their natural habitat. They have released 260 succesfully since this was started. While we were there we saw the staff feeding some new chicks as well as seeing some full grown kiwis. As I mentioned they ar flightless and members of the osterich and emu families. We walked around the animal section of the park and then headed back to the car for our return journey to Thames. This was another fascinating day.
Day 9 Feb. 19th (Thursday)
Had to pack up this morning as we were heading for Auckland. The weather was overcast but warm. We stopped at the marina and were surprised at how many yachts were from Georgetown C.I. (Robbie there is some serious money still there). We went to the casino and Eric lost $2.00. Onward to the revolving tower restaurant for a delightful lunch and had a birdseye view of the city. It was helpful to have John and Colleen pointing out places of interest. As we were finishing up our lunch some people began bungie jumping of the side of the tower. The first one caught us by surprise but then we were prepared for the next one. After lunch John had a stop to make and then they delivered us to our hotel. We had an early flight the next morning so we stayed in Auckland.
So much for now, please let us know if you have received this, as we have had some computer problems. We will try and get caught up before too long
Eric & Judy
Where I stayed