Happy Christmas and 2010!!! seeing as we haven't written since before then! The festive season made me a tad lazy so sorry if we have been out of touch! and I (Gina) have not answered any e mails lately!! We are now in Taupo in the middle of the North Island New Zealand. We did the Tonogariro Crossing yesterday (Mordor!) got picked up at 5.40am started walking at 7am and finished at 2.30pm 19km later up as high as 1900m we climbed 1000m up!! oh yes my legs are aching today and last night I was sound asleep by 9.30pm and didn't surface until 8.30am this morning. It was stunning though even with all the other coach loads that do the day hike (apparently NZ best one day hike). We will post some photos when we get the chance, but it went through volcano craters and glacier lakes stunning.
We are going back to Auckland tomorrow to stay just one night with Bridget and Craig (from Africa overland trip) before we go and try our hand at Eco farming check out http://www.otamatea.org.nz/ - we are staying with Paul.
We had a fantastic Christmas in the Bay of Islands staying at the Pickled Parrot near the beach we went swimming on Christmas morning followed by champagne brunch then all the backpackers cooked something and we ate far too much and drank plenty just like a normal Christmas day except in the sunshine!!! (sorry I know it is snowing badly in Europe!). We did a few things in the Bay of Islands though we where very lazy too! We did a great sailing trip in the bay and stopped at one of the islands - Martin had a go sailing too. We went and checked out the Wangarei Treaty house where NZ as we know it now was born! we saw a cultural dance Maori style - Martin got up to try out the haka (sorry to say the photos haven't come out too well!). After the show we did a nice little walk to the local falls via mangroves. From Paiha we got back on the bus to Kahoe farm http://www.kahoefarms.co.nz/ which was fantastic we highly recommend it there. We stayed for New Yrs (change of plans from ninety mile beach). The rooms where fantastic value and the hosts friendly and good fun. One of the owners is Italian and every yr on new yrs puts on a football tournament - he slits the guests and local friends into teams give them names ( we where Manchester City - didn't bode well now really!) and even shirts to wear! and from 9.30pm (with plenty of vino and beer ingested) the foot ball matches started! Martin and I made great defense believe it or not! Martin is a great goalie (learn something new every day!!) and I took on the side throws and back defense. After 5 games we hadn't let in a single goal! unfortunately our attack wasn't so good and only had one goal (lots on 0-0's). If we'd won our last game we would have made the final so we both tried to help out the attack and ended up conceding a goal and lost! true to Man city style I think (not that I follow football at all!). anyway the final was held at midnight (minus our team) - the first football match in the world of 2010! apart from fun and games we also did a fantastic days kayaking in the majestic Whangaroa Harbour. Climbed the dukes nose to get fantastic views of the harbour and bay. We walked to some rock pools on new yrs day to sooth our aching legs (from the football and arms from the kayaking!) check out the pic here www.kahoefarms.co.nz/kfrockpools.jpg (not us).
What else have we done in New Zealand since we last wrote!! We went to the Coromandel Peninsula which was also beautiful - we stayed at another good farm stay http://www.colvillefarmholidays.co.nz/ Colville farm and camped in their big field had fresh chicken eggs in the morning, walked up the surrounding hills (didn't find the glow worm caves though!!). We stayed one night in Coromandel town to hire a car to drive round the peninsular and check out hot water beach where we dug our own hot water spa right on the beach (cool stuff!).
We've been back to Auckland a few times and last week Martin's good friend popped over from his holiday in Australia to see us (Peter). We had a great time climbed Rangitoto Island (volcanic island in Auckland bay), chilled on mission beach bay and ate lots of Asian food - thanks to Bridget and Craig x
Well I think that's it!! off to do some work for a change now! Then the South Island calls!!!!
Hope everyone is keeping warm and well x