After 2 weeks on the Kiwi Experience bus, we jumped into a rental car and are making our ways on the rainy, windy, highways of New Zealand's North Island. Rainy, cold (but not icy), and wet, Auckland is really, just another city. The Sky Tower is really not that impressive, unless of course you are one of the few that volunteers to jump off of it! A couple of city views, some shopping malls and an overenthusiastic Kiwi day trip driver were about all Auckland had to offer.
Thames was the next little town I spent a couple nights in, getting to know a some of Cherry's friends living there. Admittedly, the North Island seems a lot more geared towards learning about the Maori culture than the South, even though the South held most of the excitement! It's really an interesting culture to learn about, and the similarities to Canada (the Nature as well as the history and Native tribes) are stunning. Although, I can say, after a night at the pub watching rugby...hockey is MUCH less violent and much more exciting to watch. The intimidating Haka dance that starts off traditional festivals (and every rugby match) is quite the spectacle!
Thames: A small mining town, with houses that reminded me a bit of England, this town let us have a break from all the adrenaline excitement and expensive activites. I hung out with Rosie, the adorable spaniel/labrador cross, while Cherry volunteered at a school and cuddled the radiator!
Coromandel Pensinsula: This region is definitely a place that may have more beauty in the summer...if you imagined a sunny day, you'd find yourself in a gorgeous place, with mud pools, hot springs and surf beaches. In the winter it's a bit muddier, windier, and less like a beach.
Hot Water Beach was interesting though...believe it or not, the water in the sea was freezing cold but the water underground (situated on a volcanic fault line) was boiling hot! Cherry and I sunbathing on the beach...