Thursday, February 10, 2011

Russell and On the Road Again

Friday, February 11th (Happy Birthday, Mom!), 2011
Bay of Islands
2:00 PM

As soon as I finish posting this, we are taking off on the next step of our journey, leaving Northland after two and a half weeks of amazing travels north of Auckland. We’ve had such an amazing time up north, and here on the farm as well. We’ve had a lovely stay, ending with a really fun dinner up at Lloyd & Laura’s last night. We weren’t able to get the gate post replaced in the time we were here, but we did spent a fair bit of time doing other work to help out, grubbing thistles and clearing windfall branches from the recent storms out of the cattle paddocks.

Yesterday afternoon we drove into Paihia, which is the tourist hub of the Bay of Islands, left the van, and took the foot ferry across the Bay to Russell, which is a really sweet, quiet little town right on the water there. It was a major relief after Paihia, which was bursting at the seams with throngs of American tourists off of two cruise ships that were in port. We were pretty glad to clear out and take the peaceful ride across the harbour, looking at the hundreds of sailboats, charters, and everything else there was to see. Russell was beautiful, we just hung around and wandered the town, poking into shops and admiring the gorgeous buildings. We splurged and treated ourselves to a wood-fired pizza, which was worth every penny, and I finally bought new sunglasses. Mine were literally falling apart, and having only paid $10 for them in the first place and having worn them all day, every day, for the last 4 months, I think I got my money’s worth!

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)
Enjoying the ferry ride.

 Huge cruise ships in the bay. 

 Paihia from the water. 

 We think this is the R. Tucker Thompson.

We saw this boat moored in Auckland!

We had a nice relaxing afternoon and really enjoyed being out on the water a bit and seeing a few more sights before leaving the Bay of Islands.

 Amazing old tree in Russell. The building behind it is the Duke of Marlborough, the oldest pub in NZ (I think). 

The Russell Waterfront. 

 A crazy junk-rigged catamaran on the bay. 

 Russell from the ferry. 

A cool candid that I didn't know Matt took until I uploaded the photos from the camera! 

We got a slow start today, having not packed at all until late morning! But we don’t have more than a few hours’ driving today, so we’re not really on a tight schedule or anything. The next leg of our journey will take us to Napier, in Hawke’s Bay, on the far eastern coast of New Zealand. We will make the trip over 3 days (including today), camping just north of Auckland tonight, then staying with Lyn & Kate in Opotiki tomorrow night! We are really stoked to see them and their place again; our three weeks there at the beginning of our travels was such a formative and wonderful experience for us. Unfortunately, Lyn will be away in Wellington while we’re there, but it will be nice to see Kate and Opotiki again nonetheless. On Sunday we’ll cross East Cape through the Waioeka Gorge to Gisborne and drive south to Hawke’s Bay. The backpackers we’ll be staying at in Napier has (theoretically, although there was no signed guarantee or anything) arranged picking work for us, which we’ll be doing for the next month or so. Ten-hour days in the orchards will be a huge and probably difficult change from the paradisiacal weeks we’ve had since leaving New Plymouth, but we need the money and it will be good experience. It will be another new phase in our journey, but may be a bit of a shock after all the relaxation we’ve had recently.

So we’ll raise our glass to Northland, say thanks for the good times, and then look forward to the next phase of our time in this lovely country.

1 comment:

Simply Authentic said...

Just refound your blog again and will be following your NZ travels! Sounds amazing! Originally had read one of your posts via Rhonda's page. :) Pretty sure you were at UP part of the same time I was??....always nice to see other simple, earthy folks out of that school. Have safe and enjoyable travels!! :)