A quick catch-up post

Yes.. I am crap at keeping these things up to date!  So here is a very brief run through of the last few days.

Tues 2nd Dec
Arrive Auckland about noon, have a boozy lunch, caught the tour bus for the circular tour, fall asleep.

Weds 3rd Dec
Busy day, wandering around Auckland.  Up the SkyTower (hence the photo of the fella in the air in an earlier post), the Auckland Museum, catching the ferry over to Devonport for an early dinner

Thurs 4th
RNZB Guest Artist Shannon Dawson as Kitri's father, Act I Photo by Maarten HollPicked up the hire car, a rather battered Toyota Corolla 1.8l Auto, which isn’t like the UK Corollas, it’s probably closer to a cross between the UK Avensis and the Corolla.  A trip to the Auckland Botanical Gardens, then the evening spent watching the truly excellent Royal New Zealand Ballet.  More info/piccys:

Fri 5th Dec
KauriLong drive from Auckland to our next stop, the Bay of Islands.  We are staying in a town called Harura Falls, which is on the outskirts of Paihia, in a B&B called Crisdon Castle.  We drove up the West coast (Tasman Sea), through the Kauri forests, where we saw the ancient and huge (as in 13 metres wide trunk type of huge) Kauri trees.  Gift shops all over the place seem to sell 101 things made from the wood, it’s impressive there are any left at all.  We got to the B&B around 6pm, where we were met by our hostess Donna, who informed us we had been upgraded.  Rather than the one bed apartment we had booked, we have a three bedroom detached house!  The view from the house is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/orionesque/3087074239/

The town of Paihia is tiny, a few restaurants, dozens of motels and lots of people selling the same half-dozen or so different boat trips, scenic flights, parasails and trip on crazy fast boats.

Sat 6th Dec
Chillout day, huge breakfast, followed by a wander about Paihia town/village/hamlet buying a hat.  Took the ferry boat over to the township of Russell, where more eating and drinking was involved (are you sensing a theme here?).

Sun 7th Dec
My birthday.. yay.. turned the rather senior age of 30.  Yes.. I am looking at cardigans, slippers and smoking jackets in a whole new light.
We drove to Kawakawa, steam-trains and weird toilets etc (see the other post).  In the evening we went on a river cruise dinner boat type thing.  Not at all what were expect (not that I am sure what that was exactly), but was a really fun night with plenty of white wine (yay! what a suprise), and meeting and chatting to new folk from all over the globe.