Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bays,Beaches and White Sand

 This post is sooo very long overdue, lets say by about 4 months! Wowzzer, where has the time gone??  I could make up all sorts of excuses but lets just go with the planning and implementing of getting a very large container from one Continent to another, or maybe moving houses for a 4th time in 4 years, or better yet, husband being out of the country for 3 months. or all the other great opportunities that life has to offer.  All good reasons, but I have missed this blog and my writing so I have returned :) 

This is the area of New Zealand that is referred to as "North Land", the area north of Auckland. I don't remember why we planned this trip, but I am guessing it was just another area of NZ that we had not explored and wanted to check it off our list. This area, like all the others in this amazingly beautiful country was stunning. It did not disappoint. 

We meet our good friends on the coast and spent the day together. This whole coastal area is called Tutukaka, and National Geographic, ranks it the second best coastal destination on the planet. This is one big planet we live on, so to acquire this rating, we knew it must be spectacular. 

 These photos are taken from an all day boat trip called "The Perfect Day", the boat took us out to some islands called The Poor Knights Islands for some snorkeling, paddle boarding, and swimming. The Poor knights islands are rated as one of the worlds top ten diving spots. The water here was crystal clear with no pollution or sediment problems. There were many varieties of tropical and subtropical fish, because of the currents from the Coral sea. The kids got to swim with a seal, snorkel through a tunnel carved in the rocks and visit the worlds largest sea cave. 

Owen taking advantage of the acoustics's in the cave. 

This was a great hike we did near Sandy Bay that had these fun mermaid pools for the brave ones in our family to take a swim in. I was busy taking photos and Brad was busy life guarding, so our children were the only braves ones on this day.

If you squint your eyes and look real close you might see 4 crazy Americans waving their arms on the left side of the waterfall. We thought it would be fun to swim across the little lake and hike up into the waterfall. After I felt the temp. of the water I did not think it would be fun anymore! However Owen reeaallyy wanted Mom to swim as well, so off I went smiling and shivering the whole time. Lindsey was the smart one this time and offered to stay behind and take the picture. This is Wharepuke Falls located near KeriKeri.

Happy to be warm again!

This is the Monument of  the Rainbow Warrior at Matauri Bay. In 1985 french secret service agents planted two bombs and sank the Greenpeace ship called the Rainbow Warrior. One crew member was killed. The ship was moored in Auckland and headed to Moruroa Atoll to oppose the french nuclear testing. Initially the French Government denied all knowledge of the operation, but eventually the Prime minister told the public that "yes, our agents sank this boat". Both agents pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and willful damages. A 10 year sentence was handed down, however the french government threatened to to embargo NZ goods from entering the European Economic Community- which would of crippled NZ economy. A deal was struck. The French paid 13 million to NZ and apologized. The prisoners were were returned to the French and served 3 years on a French Military base in the South Pacific. The wreck of the Rainbow Warrior was sunk here at Cavalli Islands, where it can be explored by scuba divers.

                                                            CAPE REINGA

This is what one would expect to be the northern most tip of New Zealand, however it is not. The honor belongs to Surville Cliffs farther to the east. Cape Reinga is where the wild waters of the Tasman and the calmer more serene waters of Pacific Ocean meet. The Maori consider Cape Reinga the jumping off point for souls as they depart on the journey to their spiritual homeland.

Another fun mermaid pool we came across unexpectedly, so Owen just shimmed on down to his birthday suit and took a swim.  The water was chilly and as he jumped in some folks came walking over, so he had to stay in the water until they left. He was a blue when he got out! SO funny, the girls and I could not stop giggling. 

 These next shots of us flying down the huge sand dunes was maybe the best part of the bus tour that we did to Cape Reinga. Anytime a little thrilling adventure is part of a tour, we are keen. And this is what you get.......                                          SPEED

                                                LOOKS OF TERROR

                      RACING Out of Control

                   The tour included driving back down the coast along 90 mile beach.

We rested our heads for 3 nights in a lovely, sleepy little surf town called Ahipara. Ahipara is located at the bottom of 90 mile beach. I rented us a true kiwi bach for $100 a night, the restroom was outside the front door. Not kidding, I had to go outside to use the loo. It was classic kiwi. All we did for 3 days was surf, Brad and I could set on the deck of the house and watch the kids surf. It was great fun, and aahhhh so relaxing!

Shipwreck Bay, some beautiful left handers come right off the point. 

We then made our way to Hokianga Harbour, a truely underdevelped part of NZ. The colours of the Harbour looked they were painted in every shade of green and blue. We came across this hike to these round boulders that were laying on the lakes edge, and decided to have some fun.

This shoot took us more time than I care to admit. The camera was precariously placed on another boulder directly across from us. The longest we could set the timer for was 6 seconds. SO someone in the family had to push the button, without moving the camera, jump off the boulder and then scramble up onto the other boulder and quickly get into position. Well, everyone in our family thought they were the ones for the job. WE all tried a few times, and this is best we ever got. Yes, Owen is in there somewhere, you just have to look harder. 

Another beautiful hike we did up above Hokianga Harbor. 

We got a little obsessed with mermaid pools on this trip. Every time we saw one,  someone in the family(not naming names........OWEN) had to go in sans clothes. He is going to make a good frat boy one day. 

What is wrong with this picture??