Northern Iceland!

anna

Remember me telling you all about the sixty-five plus year old woman whose camper van we stayed in? Her name was Anna and she was such a lovely woman. She and her dog Shnorty (I know I’m mangling that spelling) live in a small town and host visitors every evening. Her front yard was twinkling with tea lights when we arrived and she showed us the amenities before leaving to great her final guests for the night as they arrived.

The van was comfortable and reminded me a lot of ours in New Zealand. The biggest difference being, we were told this one, “doesn’t move.” Just in case we wanted to get crazy in the middle of the night. So I got to experience once more the fun of climbing over Marc to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night and trying not to wipe out on the very slippery lader. There were tons of horses hanging out in the front yard, but the little stallion made sure no one got any love from me.

Didn’t take us long to get our stuff together and hit the road again. It also wasn’t long before we were stopping for another gorgeous waterfall. Got a nice little hike in through a well-worn sheep trail to get a little closer to the falls and traded taking pictures with some of the other folks.

waterfallWe continued to drive on through a landscape that became less and less green and more and more rocky. The mountains resolved into individual volcanos and the grass finally disappeared completely.

volcanos

It Looked Like This

Every so often, we would see little pools of toxic looking water either off in the distance or next to the side of the road. We kept going as we were starving. The potato chip supply began to dwindle. Our destination for the night was a homestay in the second largest town in Iceland, Akureyri. Before we got there though, we had to stop at a hot spring  everybody had been telling us about. Myvatn Nature Baths  are unique because there is a sandy bottom and the water itself is full of beneficial minerals that leaves your skin feeling silky smooth. The water stays at a comfortable 96 to 104 degrees and they warn you to take off any brass or silver before you enter as the water will literally turn them black during a visit. These pools were so amazing for lounging around in and people watching. The cafe was rather nice too and it meant we could lay off the chips for a while.

myvatn2

myvatn

Aftermath. Do we look relaxed, or what?

Marc had to drag me out so we could leave, but getting changed presented its own challenges. Although we had the option of renting towels, we decided to rough it. How do you dry off without one? Easy, after the shower… you use a hairdryer mostly all over and use paper towels for the delicate bits. Worked out pretty good actually and soon we were back in our seats and on the way to Akureyri.

Our hosts Paulina and Samuel showed us our room inside their beautiful home. Everywhere we looked art works were on display and it didn’t take long for us to find out Paulina and her husband (whom we didn’t get a chance to meet) were artists. I took many pictures inside their home.

paintings

I also took many outside their home as Akureyri had cool stuff to see everywhere we looked. Paulina’a husband we were told, teaches art in town and there was an art exhibit going on during our visit.

1917

Cute Little House. Not Our Homestay Though.

door

The Door of Akureyrarkirkja. A Prominent Lutheran Church.

art1

Paper Mache Monster from the art show

Our breakfast was included the next morning and it was neat to experience what an Icelander might normally have for breakfast. Of course, I always bring our own tea, but otherwise, we did as the locals do and enjoyed soft-boiled eggs, cucumbers, red pepper, oranges and banana’s and granola. Marc  even got to try a little of the local yogurt.

breakfast

Satiated, we did a little more poking about before we had to take off again. Just as well since Akureyri had more tourists and simply more of a sheer mass of people everywhere than any other place besides Reykjavik. After seeing the wild and wide expanses of nothing from the safety of our little car, being shuffled along with throngs of people palled quickly. Besides, we had another homestay lined up in Dalabyggo to get to. Off again we went!

end

This is how you know you’re leaving town… if it isn’t already obvious.

 

 

 

 

 

Iceland! The Golden Circle and Points East!

Breakfast Spot (1)

We got an almost early start our third day in Iceland, having to stop briefly for fresh croissants to eat in the car. The intention was to begin the drive around the ring road and hit the sites that  are highlighted along The Golden Circle. If you go for a tour, the buses do a loop out and back to Reykjavik that covers about 190 miles. We just went out and kept going.

Our first stop was premature, but we did finally locate Pingvellir National Park. The mass of cars and tour busses in the parking lot giving it away. This beautiful spot is where you can see a clear boundary between the North American and Eurasian Tectonic plates. Literally! There is a nice walking path but prior research had informed us that it’s also possible to skindive and see the break between the plates from underneath the very cold, very clear water. We chose the hike option. Lol.

PingvillierPlates

The path is directly between the plates

It wasn’t too far to the next stop but before we got to the Geysers, we had to stop so I could pet some horses. We saw so many horses in our travels around Iceland and it’s hard to believe that most of them are for riding. One of our homestays, has a hand in the industry and they educated us that it’s just the foals that are eaten, and the rest are used for riding. The horse I met seemed unsocialized, and I  well believed it could end up on a plate somewhere. No judgements here. About 10% of me wanted to try it but the majority said no and we didn’t actually see it on too many menu’s anyway.

Horses

Sorry, I have nothing to feed you. Let’s just say we’re even!

The next spot featured two geysers. One of which, Geysir, seems to have stopped erupting after an earthquake years ago. The other one though, is quite active. Stokkur erupts every 5-10 minutes and it was fun to stand outside the rope barrier along with 100 other people all going, “oh! oh!” every time the water would heave upwards. It always seemed to fake us out too, which led to much laughter.

After enjoying the show, we ended up climbing the small mountain behind the geysers for a little exercise and a different perspective. Quite beautiful from up there and you could seriously see for miles. TopOThe World

Our last interest point of the day was Gullfoss waterfall. This natural wonder is just an amazing site for tourists and even from a good half miles away, you cold feel the power from the rushing water and a definite drop in temperature from the spray hanging in the air. I understand that Iceland considered using if to generate power, but settled on just maintaining in as a tourist attraction instead.

Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss

Marc and I found our accommodations for the night pretty easily, but had a bit more trouble figuring out what to buy at the local grocery store for dinner. It’s hard to do when everything is in Icelandic and pictures can sometimes be misleading. We ended up with some pork ribs (they may have been heavily preserved, tasted like it) and some potato salad. Our digs had a hot tub so we had a great lazy evening of soaking, reading, having cocktails and dinner. The best part of the day, I cannot show you though. Marc woke me up and hurried me outside to see the Aurora Borealis. I had read that the earliest it could be seen was August 20th and so I wasn’t trying to get my hopes up, but there it was! A faint green glimmer in the sky that moved very fast and was gone in less than 10 minutes. How cool is that??!!

I’d like to say we got an early start the next day, but who am I kidding? After a breakfast of leftover croissant, bread and tea, we gathered up the trash, packed the car and took off. The sun was brilliant and the roads were sparsely traveled. We got gas and then found our first interest point of the day. Seljalandsfoss waterfall was beautiful and  is the location for a lot of wedding pictures. You can also hike up behind the falls and with our rain coats on, we were up to the challenge!Waterfall

Does anyone remember that volcano that erupted in Iceland back in 2010? It disrupted air travel for weeks and really brought attention to the whole country as newscasters tried (and mostly failed) to pronounce Eyjafjallajokull. We found it! Seems the buildings at the base all needed to be rebuilt, but a truck rumbling over the cattle gate and scaring the hell out of me seemed to mean that life was pretty much back to normal there.

eyjafjallajokull

How’d you like to live here? The offending volcano in the background.

We motored on and stopped when I saw this cute little house in the side of a mountain. Turns out, this is one of about 200 man-made caves that can only be found in the south of Iceland. This one is pretty deep and was used to store hay. It’s so deep, that another cave runs perpendicular to it and was used as a forge. We didn’t go in, having too many miles to go, but it’s really picturesque, eh?

Rutshellir

Tour buses led us to our next destination. The black sand beach  called Reynisfjara  is close to the southernmost tip of Iceland  and we were totally surprised to round a corner on the beach to see the basalt sea stacks  under the mountain. A small cave undercut the mountain and little sea birds called Puffins were constantly flying from the cliffs above out to the ocean.

BlackBeach1

BlackBeach2

Near the mouth of the cave. Good geological formations everywhere!

A word about food…. by now, we had a goodly supply of interesting potato chip flavors and we were trying to stay stocked up on apples, but we hadn’t quite clued in yet to the whole you can drive for miles and hours and never see a restaurant or a gas station. So we had a lot of lunches featuring paprika or Mexican peppers and cream chips or Doritos cool American  (read ranch flavor) chips. Dinners were usually much better! We were aiming for dinner in Hofn that night, as they are known as the best place for langoustines in the country. We just had to get there first.

Stream

A beautiful stream in the middle of nowhere.

After that pretty stream, we drove through some of the most monotonous countryside I’ve ever seen. Take rocks, cover them with moss, and then put that on both sides of the road for a couple of hours. Relieve the monotony by spotting the occasional big black bird perched on a rock but otherwise, that’s all there is. They even warn you somewhat on the maps. There is a big swath of green from the black sand beach all the way up to the Vatnajokull glacier. This is what it looks like in person:

Nothing

I never want to see this again and I’m pretty sure Marc feels the same way.

We did finally drive out of it and our attention was distracted by the massive glacier that loomed ever closer. We got out to stretch our legs and take a closer look at the first turn off we came to.  There are warnings posted to be careful and a plaque honoring two young Germans who went missing years ago and were never found. We picked our way over a rough path besides the glacier for some cool pictures.

Glacier

From there, it was another good hour or so to Hofn and that wonderful dinner. Then, another two hours or so to get to our stopping place for the evening. Thank goodness it doesn’t get dark until 10:30 or so at night. We were able to check out the mountains and the scenery almost until we arrived. Marc had booked a unique/ nostalgic spot for us and our host was this wonderful 65+ woman who seems to make her living as a homestay. Anna was great and so were the digs! Especially after the drive we had that day!

Hofn dinner

Langoustines with salad and potato. Marc chose the ‘Duck & Dive’ which included duck confit.

Camper:Eidur

Feeling great after a good nights sleep. Kind of like being in NZ again. Thank you Marc!

Best of New Zealand: Antique & Flash Auto’s

Right, so here’s number two in my best of series. Most of these are antiques, but a few are new. I think I even included one motorcycle. My criteria was basically that it just had to be special in my eyes.

72 Indy Pace Car. How did it get all the way over to here?

72 Indy Pace Car. How did it get all the way over to here?

3 for sale near Green Island

3 for sale near Green Island

110th edition Harley Davidson. Signed by a Davidson. Seen at the ferry crossing to the South island

110th edition Harley Davidson. Signed by a Davidson. Seen at the ferry crossing to the South island

Christine's Car

Christine’s Car

Ashburton ModelT

Ashburton ModelT

NZMCA members with an interest in classic cars. Beautiful roadster.

NZMCA members with an interest in classic cars. Beautiful roadster.

And one more.

And one more.

Nelson Caddy

Nelson Caddy

Our ride as seen from above.

Our ride as seen from above.

Our favorite.

Our favorite.

Look what was in the bed!

Look what was in the bed!

Love to go for a ride in this.

Love to go for a ride in this.

Drury Roadster

Drury Roadster

Reminded me of my dads.

Reminded me of my dads.

Cute! Kinda like a clown car.

Cute! Kinda like a clown car.

Indeed!

Indeed!

LynfieldCar

Morris Minor

Morris Minor

oldtruck.e

Neat theme for an Auckland restaurant

Neat theme for an Auckland restaurant

SICarsSICars2

SportsCar

In Wanaka

In Wanaka

UnknownSI.e

WojahWabit2

Woja Wabit. Real cool, eh?

Woja Wabit. Real cool, eh?

Getting Ready For The Jump

Half Moon Bay @ Sunset

Half Moon Bay @ Sunset

We returned to Auckland with two weeks remaining before the flight to Bali. We tried to make it all count. There were a flurry of text messages and phone calls to set up a loose plan at Jane’s before we set off again in the camper van. First stop was our friend Kevin’s for a dinner with him and his girlfriend Zylah. The roast chicken was so good and it was really nice to have a home cooked meal again. The fire in the fireplace was welcoming and it was great to catch up with the two of them.  I know we could have spent the night there but Marc had scouted out a good park up spot close by in Half Moon Bay and we were reluctant  to sleep anywhere else as our time in the van was getting short. The next day, we took Kevin’s advice and hit Musick Point for a short tramp before moving on.

Marc and I had been wanting to hit up the hot springs at Paraki one more time before we left so that was  the plan our first weekend back. We picked up some steaks and headed for a relaxing sojourn in Helensville. It was a bit warmer that day so our strategy was to go for the water slide first while we were dry and then do it again after we’d been soaking for an hour or so. While not that cold outside, it was still a bit nippy out of the sun. Man, were we relaxed after that trip!

He Is So Handsome

He Is So Handsome

Marc Shows A Finely Tuned Sense Of Style For The Walk Home

Marc Shows A Finely Tuned Sense Of Style For The Walk Home

Marc Grills Dinner

Marc Grills Dinner

We returned to Janes for a few days to start sorting out stuff before taking off again for Mangawhai Heads.This time though, I followed  him in the rental car. First stop was Te Arai Point for a short tramp to the point to check out a cool daredevil spot. When it’s warm and  the tide is in, people  like to jump into the slot between the two cliffs and let the tide wash them back and forth. It looked intriguing and maybe a spot to come back to the next time we’re here.

I So Want To Do This!

I So Want To Do This!

Atop Te Arai Point. Can You See My Shadow?

Atop Te Arai Point. Can You See My Shadow?

Pakari Beach Is Just To The North of The Point. Good Surfing Here

Pakari Beach Is Just To The North of The Point. Good Surfing Here

Marc had been wanting to see Murray and Olivia  again to tell them some of the places their old camper van had been and some of the sights we had seen along the way. We were shocked to discover Murray had a heart attack shortly after we bought the van from him, but he looked well during our visit. He even came out later to drink a couple of beers with us and  let us park in his yard for our last overnight. It was a great visit.

Following the Van

Following the Van

The next morning was spent depersonalizing, cleaning and moving the rest of our stuff out of the van before meeting the new owner at the garage. We’d heard Carl and Judy were still keen to buy it but wanted to get it checked out first. No worries mate! We put about nine thousand kilometers on it in our five months but it is still in really good condition. It will need a new radiator down the line but except for needing a regular service it’s good to go. They got a deal! Marc spent some time with Carl going over stuff before Judy came home and we went to make the transfer legal. They were so excited and Carl was thrilled that Marc threw in the BBQ grill too. He said he’d always wanted one. We hope they enjoy the camper van as much as we did. Happy Glamping Carl and Judy!

Old Owners and New

Old Owners and New

I had to get hit up by the rest stop roosters one more time on the way back to Janes. I tried to feed them breadcrumbs. Aren’t they pretty?

RestStopRoosters

I Tried To Snatch a Feather But They Were too Quick For Me

Soon after our return we headed out again to visit our friend Margaret in Drury. She was the first Kiwi we met in New Zealand and a flatmate as well for our first month here. Really good to stop by for  a cup of tea before we all went out for dinner. She’s been riding since she was small and currently shares second horse duties with her friend Annie for the Master of the Pakuranga Hunt. I really need to do a blog post just about Margaret some time. She is a fascinating woman and we’ve had some great meals and conversations with her.

Margaret, Marc and Me

Margaret, Marc and Me

We can’t go too long without a party and Jane thought our leaving would be a great excuse to have one. Wait…. THAT doesn’t sound right. *Laughs* In any case Jane decided to throw a Christmas in June party as they don’t get a chance to have a traditional Christmas here. It’s summer then and everyone’s on holiday. She made up the guest list, decorated and invited everyone. I made Jello Shooters and helped with the post party clean up. Marc wore the santa suit and I got to be head elf. Jane looked smashing as Mrs Claus. I think I’ve finally found someone with a more extensive wardrobe than mine. All told, about twenty-five or so made the bash and we had a blast! Now, what do I do with all the leftover shots?

Mr & Mrs Claus and the Head Elf

Mr & Mrs Claus and the Head Elf

Marc Dips Jane

Marc Dips Jane

Adrian Looked So Spify

Adrian Looked So Spify

Debs and Myself

Debs and Myself

Not much more to tell after that. We’ve just been sorting out our stuff really. What to take, what to leave behind, and what to give to friends. Also made a run to the op-shop for books as Marc says they’re expensive in Bali. Hopefully, we’ll have enough to last and we can leave them behind to make room for stuff we pick up there.

SallyAnn

So, that’s it for now, We’re going to meet Rach for dinner tomorrow night and our friend Debs is taking us to the airport very early Wednesday  morning. I’ve got a new supply of anti nausea medication and hopefully I’ll just be conked out for most of the flights. We do have a short layover in Brisbane, Australia though. Not sure we get off the plane but I can hope, eh? I won’t be taking my computer to Bali and it may take me a bit to work out the internet cafes there but my next post should be from Bali. OMG! OMG! OMG! I’m so excited!

One Last Look At Our Home On Wheels. It Was Awesome!

One Last Look At Our Home On Wheels. It Was Awesome!

Rotorua To Auckland

I ended last post with two disheveled, slightly smelly travellers showing up at Steve and Keiko’s in Rotorua. They turned out to be such neat people. They were wonderful hosts and we got to know each other at dinner before crashing at their place. We even slept in a real bed and everything! The next day Steve, an accomplished pilot, took Marc up in his plane to see Rotorua from the air while Keiko and Spooky and I went  tramping at  Whakarewarewa Forest Park to see the redwoods and an overview of Rotorua.

Damn tourists. They just park anywhere they want!

Damn tourists. They just park anywhere they want!

Here's The Bottom of The Redwood Tree

Here’s The Bottom of A Redwood Tree

Here's The Top

Here’s The Top

Keiko & Spooky. They Set A Mean Pace

Keiko & Spooky. They Set A Mean Pace

Rotorua and Pohutu Geyser

Rotorua and Pohutu Geyser

They were such wonderful hosts. We ended up staying most of the weekend with them and they took us to several more tourist sites  during the day and great dinners at night. Steve also treated us to an Eagles concert he had on disc. Think that is going on my wish list for Christmas. We hope to visit with them again and hopefully next time Debs can join us.

I think this is Lake Tarawera

I think this is Lake Tarawera

LtR: Keiko,Steve,me and Marc

LtR: Keiko,Steve,me and Marc

At Sulpher Point. Steve was very nice when he told me I couldn't step off the path.

At Sulphur Point. Steve was very nice when he told me I couldn’t step off the path.

Kuirau Park

Kuirau Park

Trust me, you do NOT want to go in there.

Trust me, you do NOT want to go in there.

The ride back to Auckland seemed fairly short although I think it was at least two hours long. We did spot something worth pulling over for along the way. In Matamata they have an I Site visitors center that’s built to look like a Hobbits home. Evidently, the exterior film sets for LoTR’s was on a dairy farm near here and the original facades of Hobbiton are still there. While we didn’t have time to tour those, the I Site tickled me silly.

Matamata aka Hobbiton

Matamata aka Hobbiton

How cool is this?

How cool is this?

We parked up back in Drury for our first night back. Ned’s Roasts was calling and we answered with a hungry attitude. That’s just one of the many things I’m going to miss about this country. Don’t think people in the states know what a roast shop is. I think it would take off in a hurry though. Where else could you get a nice meal of roast pork, lamb or beef with roast kumera, pumpkin and potatoes with peas and gravy for a descent price? Yum!

Taupo to Rotorua

 It Cought Our Eyes

It Caught Our Eyes

We headed inland after Napier, intent on checking out the warmer climate in Taupo and Rotorua.  More specifically, the many hot springs and geothermal areas operating there. Our introduction was  Tarawera Springs. This is a hot springs spot with a couple of old tubs in the side of the mountain. There used to be more till the landslide covered a couple more. The site is behind a gate and plenty of signs try to warn you off. The story we heard was someone tried to make a go of the place commercially over a hundred years ago but the locals wouldn’t allow it.  The DOC would like to get rid of it but they can’t because it’s considered  historic. So now it’s just a private, picturesque spot for those in the know. The water was a bit too cold for us though.

Tarawera Springs Source

Tarawera Springs Source

Tarawera2

Jim and Marie. Owners of The Tarawera Cafe. Go See Em For A Bite and Some History

Jim and Marie. Owners of The Tarawera Cafe. Go See Em For A Bite and Some History

Just down the road was the Waipunga Waterfall. So we stopped for a look.

WaipungaFalls

WaipungaFalls

After  a rather bizarre overnight at the National Equestrian Center which we spent  camped across from the power plant with huge clouds of steam billowing from the ground, we hit four cool spots in one day. Aratiatia Rapids used to be all natural, now there is a dam that is opened three times a day to the delight of tourists and the occasional local. What an awesome spectacle.

It Goes From This...

It Goes From This…

To This In About Ten Minutes

To This In About Ten Minutes

Continuing on, we hit up Craters of the Moon next. This is a geothermal walking path along a wooden walkway that takes you past craters, fumaroles and boiling mud pits. It’s kind of wild to be walking along and suddenly be enveloped in a cloud of sulphurous steam and actually hear steam hissing from vents in the ground. What’s even more amazing is that none of this was here before 1950 or so.

Craters1

Craters2

We met fellow NZMCA members Alan and Yumi on our way in to the park. Later, Alan rescued my sunglasses when they fell into a hole.

We met fellow NZMCA members Alan and Yumi on our way in to the park. Later, Alan rescued my sunglasses when they fell into a hole.

Huka Falls was another amazing stop that day. These falls guide the Waikato river into the damned lake behind Aratiatia Rapids. The noise is deafening and the energy  amazing as enough water to fill five Olympic sized swimming pools  flows over the falls every second.

Heading For The Falls

Heading For The Falls

View From Further Back

View From Further Back

Just before the sun set we found our next  to last destination. Spa Park Hot Springs is a natural hot springs in a neighborhood of Taupo. Really neat to walk through a park like the one in my moms backyard, go over a bridge and look down to see people enjoying the warm  water. If it had been a little earlier, I might have had a really good time!

Four diffierent nationalities in the pool.

Four different nationalities in the pool.

We ended up with a good soak that night anyway as Marc drove us to Waikite Valley Thermal Pools for the night. I think they have one of THE best deals going for folks in camper vans. Pay the price for parking up and entrance to the pools are free. They also have a check out time of noon which means you can even soak after breakfast. I think we closed them down that night. We left at quarter till and we were the last two out. They also had a nice little eco tour we took the next day that educates folks on where the water comes from, neat geological formations and how it gets to the pools. Marc and I both would love to come here again.

Overview of the spa. You can just see the steps they use to cool the water before it gets to the pools in the lower left hand corner.

Overview of the spa. You can just see the steps they use to cool the water before it gets to the pools in the lower left hand corner.

Waikite3

Waikite2

New day, new wonders. We pushed onwards towards Rotorua and a meeting with new friends. Along the way though we did stop to check out the mud pools. The mud makes the most disgustingly amusing sounds as it bursts from the watery mud and the smell of sulphur is strong. I think our guide Scott Cook had a happy hour here. I wish we could have but it was too early that day. Maybe for movie night?

 Mid Splatter!

Mid Splatter!

We had one more stop to make before returning to civilization again. The Cook book has an entry for a hot water waterfall the location for which is a secret. Scott says he doesn’t want to see it overrun by tourists so he wrote a little poem with clues inside for those stubborn enough to try to solve it. It wasn’t easy, but we did find it. For anyone else reading that book and wanting to follow the clues, I can tell you the pine trees are dead but still standing. Unfortunately, we didn’t bring towels or suits, but we did bring a sense of adventure. What a blast!

Ok, We've Got To Go In

Ok, We’ve Got To Go In

WFClothes

We headed into Rotorua after that. Our friend Debs in Auckland had given us the info for some friends of hers in Rotorua and told us to look them up. We arrived a bit disheveled from our afternoon to their house and just squeezed down their drive in the camper van. They turned out to be an amazing couple and I’ll like to  tell you more about them next post. In the meantime, the rain has stopped and I hope everyone is having a great evening!

More On The Return To Auckland

Dr Suess Tree

Dr Suess Tree

Time seems to have sped up lately as we continue to get closer to our leave date for Bali. As I write this, its June 16th here and we leave on the 19th at an ungodly early hour. We sold the camper van last week and it went smooth as silk. I think we both kept thinking it was going far too easily, but I’m not going to question it anymore. We’re both feeling it’s loss, but I think at this point that’s just compounded by last get togethers with friends here as well. Luckily, we will be coming back for ten days or so after Bali so there is still that to look forward to. I’m going to try to fill y’all in on the rest of the trip back to Auckland before we go. Lets see how far I can get today.

He Climbed All The Way To The Top

He Climbed All The Way To The Top

After looking in the Cook book, Marc drove to Deliverance Cove and Castle Point. On the map, it’s located straight east of Masterton on the coast. This is where we each got a free dermabrasion treatment courtesy of the wind  that intensified during our tramp up Castle Rock. I stuck to the trail, but Marc was more adventurous and struck out for the top of the rock. He made it too and got some scary pictures over the side. Once he returned, we fought our way over to the lighthouse. The wind was fierce by that time and we had to literally  hold onto the fence to keep from being blown to Africa! Great views though and in the lee it was awesome to see the wind literally lifting the sea and blowing it into little water spouts. Very cool.

Over The Edge. View From The Top of Castle Rock

Over The Edge. View From The Top of Castle Rock

Deliverance Cove next to Castle Rock

Deliverance Cove next to Castle Rock

Made It!

Made It!

Stopped by a graveyard while we were killing time looking for a place to camp for the night. *Face Palm*Groan* We’ve done that several times to check out the stones and read the dates. It was a very peaceful place with beautiful old graves  on the side of the mountain with only one opportunistic horse for a neigh…bor. All animals in this country have me pegged as an easy mark. I gave this one our last carrot.

Hey! How Ya Going?

Hey! How Ya Going?

Childsgrave2

Childsgrave

I LIke The Sentiment

I LIke The Sentiment

We kept heading north and our next scenic spot was Waihi Falls in Tararua. A long drive down a metal road ended with a short tramp along  a ridge to get to the falls. It was stunning! Even more amazing, we were the only ones there! If we’d had more time and it had been warmer, this would have definitely been a place to go for a skinny dip and  overnight.

WaihiFallsCara.e

WaihiFallsMarc

Don't You Want To Go For A Swim?

Don’t You Want To Go For A Swim?

The next spot was just a stop for a quick photo and some lunch. Taumatawhakatangihangakauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukopokaiwhenuakitanatahu holds the record for the longest place-name in the world. The name has something to do with a Maori chief grieving for the loss of his brother after they fought to get through the area.

Try and say it. I dare you.

Try and say it. I dare you.

Sometimes, even our camp sites were way scenic. On the way to Napier, we stayed at an apple orchard. Dick, the owner took me around and showed me NZ Splendor apples which can’t be bought in stores because they bruise too easily during shipping. Boy, were they good. An emigrant from the Netherlands, he  was such a nice, salt of the earth  guy. He showed me what a sugar core looks like in an apple. This is when liquid sugar collects in the center of an apple. Makes it that much sweeter.

Dick Eating Apples

Dick Eating Apples

A Little Fall Colour

A Little Fall Colour

I had been wanting to check out Napier since first hearing about all the art deco buildings there. You see, there was an earthquake in Napier in 1931 that basically destroyed most of the city. Art Deco was popular at the time and as a result the city was rebuilt in that style. We spent one full day and part of the next wandering about town looking at all the buildings and enjoying the ambiance. Dinner that night was fabulous too. If you’re ever in Napier I highly recommend  Milk and Honey.

Napier1

Napier3

I Got Some Great Vintage Patterns From Penelope at Charleston Chic

I Got Some Great Vintage Patterns From Penelope at Charleston Chic

Pania of The Reef

Pania of The Reef

NapierFountain

You Should See The Glass Dome Inside

You Should See The Glass Dome Inside

I think I’m going to end this post here today as our focus shifted after Napier. We headed for Taupo and Rotorua for the geothermal action next so that’s where I will start the next post. All, hot and steamy as it were. In the meantime, hope you enjoyed the pictures and hope the weather is not as rainy wherever you are  as it is here today. Cheers!