A Travellerspoint blog

Hot spring

We were a bit worried about the weather impacting our flight back. We were told not to worry; I guess the locals can read the weather better than we can.

We explored a bit more of the island by car today, taking in the Kaitoke hot spring which involved a scenic hike.

By the time we got to the airfield in the afternoon, the weather was gorgeous.

There were more passengers than I expected. As it turned out, there were two aircraft operating at the same time by the same company. We were on the Islander again and were given a headstart. The second aircraft which was more modern overtook us midflight but we were back at North Shore Airfield soon enough, all the same.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Big drive-around


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large_5550_14283303406721.jpgPort Fitzroy has a sheltered harbour and is popular with yachties.
I woke up feeling like a brand new person compared to yesterday evening! I had more than 11 hours sleep instead of my usual 6!

We spent the day exploring as much of the island as we could. Lunch at Port Fitzroy consisted of a delicious burger but the staff were dippy beyond reality. First we were overcharged and short-changed then the goods didn't turn up. Eventually when we reminded them, they called out someone else's order but gave it to us. Perhaps funny cigarettes have killed some brain cells.

From a high lookout (which involved a short scenic walk) we could see most of the island. We continued downhill to some magnificent beaches butthe conditions weren't warm enough for me.

We returned to Shoal Bay and had dinner with our hosts.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Flying to the Barrier


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large_5550_1428330264686.jpgFlying to Great Barrier at low altitude.
It was only a 30 minute flight from Auckland [Auckland-travel-guide-1139106] to the Barrier on a Britten Norman Islander. We left from North Shore Airfield rather than Auckland Airport, not only because of the proximity to our home but also to avoid parking hassles/costs at a big airport.

Due to cloudy conditions, we flew rather low, below the clouds all the way to the Barrier before landing at Tryphena Airport. We picked up our rental car and drove to our accomodation at Shoal Bay.

The roads were windy and for some reason, I had become quite sensitive to motion. I nearly threw up.

We spent some time with our hosts (parents of a friend) before going to our own chalet. I was still feeling unwell. I forced dinner down at the pub and tried to keep it down through the car ride back.

It was an early night for me and I retired around 7pm!

A few things about the Barrier ... while on the face of it, people have a normal small town life, it gets more complicated than that:

1. There is no power supply and people rely on solar energy. That means that it is important to conserve energy; no big TVs, toasters, hairdryers, microwaves!
2. Locals are reliant on rainwater for drinking and washing. Roofs are kept clean and water is kept in tanks.
3. Provisions and fuel are expensive. A bag of breakfast muesli was about double the price of that on the mainland, at more than $10.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

On the live volcanic island!


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large_5550_1428329811269.jpgApproaching White Island.
We checked in at the office of Pee Jay White Island Tours in the morning and paid for our trip before heading to the boat. The 90 minute journey to White Island started with us leaving the Whakatane [Whakatane-travel-guide-1141264] River going past the sandbar (which can due to tidal conditions determine the departure time).

As we approached White Island we were issued with hard hats and gas masks.We were tendered on to the island by dinghies for a 2h walking tour with excellent commentaries about the geology and history of this privately owned island.

Due to the harsh and poisonous conditions, not many things grow here. There are exceptions with certain plants that seem to have adapted. And despite these conditions, there had been attempts to settle and mine the sulphur here. The conditions took its toll on the workers and the machinery (corrosion).

Back on board, we were given a box lunch. Some people swam but it wasn't warm enough for me. We headed back to Whakatane and drove home to Auckland [Auckland-travel-guide-1139106].

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Down to the Bay of Plenty


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We left Auckland [Auckland-travel-guide-1139106] late morning after my yoga class, for the 3.5h drive to Whakatane [Whakatane-travel-guide-1141264]. It was necessary to overnight because the starting time tomorrow was unconfirmed till the evening due to tidal conditions. It has been quite a while since I travelled outside of Auckland and it's nice to be reminded how beautiful New Zealand is.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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