Wednesday, 30 January 2008
Here's the view the previous evening and then another of the same mountain once we got up close.
There were some fabulous views on the way back down. On the left are the Emerald Lakes ( you would not want to drink this water ) and on the right is a view all the way back to Lake Taupo.
Here's a quick video vista from the tops.
First thing you need to know about Rotorua is that it smells. Bad eggs. Sulphur. A tag-team chuff off with Baz and Lav..
It's about 3 hours drive south from Auckland and it is one of the main geo-thermal areas in New Zealand. The town is surrounded by bubbling mud pools, smelly fumeroles, sulphur pools, geysers, old craters and such like. We visited place called Waimangu Thermal Park and by the time we walked around it, we were ready for something less smelly.......
Which is fortunate, 'cos Rotorua is also the major adrenalin activity centre for the North Island. We decided to raft down the Kaituna River. It was quoted as grade 5 ( which is supposed to be quite bumpy ), but the major selling point was the bit where the raft careers off a seven metre high waterfall. Not too much to say about it, other than have a look at the following sequence of photos..... ( it's us honest ! )
Too late to change our minds...
Touch down !
Submerged somewhere. And breathe !
It's also worth including this photo from a later rapid. The foot poking out of the water on the left of the image is Athena's ! Don't worry folks, we fished her out.
Monday, 28 January 2008
Saturday, 26 January 2008
Unfortunately, just like Cornwall the weather can be fickle. We had hoped to spend the next day sailing on a tall ship, but we were met with a Grimsby Drizzle. So, we hopped into the car and drove across to the North coast, where we found some lovely deserted beaches. The waves were pretty fierce, but it was great fun frolicing about in them as they tried to batter us into submission.
For the evening, we headed back into Paihia and then caught a ferry across to the posh town of Russel. Lovely spot with nice old colonial buildings, just across the water from the spot where the British Crown signed a treaty with the Maoris to initiate modern New Zealand. We had a very expensive fancy pants tea on the water front, but look at the view we had..
We broke the trip home by dropping into Goat Island. Great fun in the surf, especially when the local ducks joined us. I kid you not. Those fellas were bloody good at it too, but a couple took some nasty hits when the hit the beach at too higher rate of knots....
Sunday, 20 January 2008
Friday, 18 January 2008
They now live on a cattle farm about half an hour from the coast and about half hour from Bega, the nearest town. The house is fantastic. We saw some photos of the property when they first moved out and there's certainly been a lot of thought and effort put into it over the last few years.
The farm covers about two hundred and seventy acres of beautiful countryside. They keep about seventy head of low maintenance beef cattle on the farm, though Malcolm reckons that this is really more of a hobby at the moment, rather than a serious attempt at making a profit. There are also six horses which Joey, Charlotte and Chloe compete with in local and national events. I counted about five cats too, including one with only one eye. There was also a great selection of HUGE spiders.....
Malcolm has also built a great bloke's shed on the farm for his toys. The Auto Union's at one end, the current hot-rod project is in the middle and a variety of tools, benders, drills and a drawing board live at the other. Happy as a pig in shit just about sums it up.
For visitors, Hotel Oastler offers a penthouse apartment on the highest point of their property. It's called the Murray Shack after Malcolm's brother and the views from it are awesome. One of my fondest memories would be sitting on chemical loo at the back of the shack in the morning and admiring the scenery. We forgot to take the camera the first day, and the second morning was a bit overcast, so I've borrowed some of Malcolm's photo's to show it off. There's a sweep of video at the bottom of the post too.
We had a great time there. For those of you that knew Malcolm in the UK, rest assured that he's still pleasantly unhinged. Joey, Charlotte, Chloe and Boo were great fun and made us feel very welcome. It was a real shame that we had to move on back to Sydney, but our time in Oz is now running out fast.
Murray Shack Vista.
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
It pretty much lived up to it's billing. Have a squiz at the photos.
I'm not going to attempt to describe the coastline !
And the forests ( including more Koala bears than you could shake a stick at ) were pretty good too. Whatcha reckon about that fern Dr Bob ?
Here a couple of vids. First a sweep of the coast near Torquay and then some high speed Koala manouvres.
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Deep sea fishing for chickens with Cap'n Skippy...
Monday, 7 January 2008
I could waffle on about what we did for the rest of the day, but other than the great old pubs in the Rocks, it doesn't really compare to the harbour, so I'm not going to attempt to jazz it up.
Just in case you're unsure about which is our favourite bit of the city, here's some video...
Saturday, 5 January 2008
Just up the road from Sawtell is Coff's Harbour. As well as being the home to the Big Banana ( thus attracting the common Smythe Gibbon ) it also gave us our first taste of the cyclone that was building just off the east coast. The surf was pretty huge by this point ( way bigger than surf guru Vince thought safe to brave ) and was breaking over the top of the harbour wall. Walking back was going to be a bit dicey...
After a couple of days around Coff's, Tristan, Shelby, Zara, Athena and I carried on further north to the famous beach town of Byron Bay ( it was named after the poet by Captain Cook apparantly ). We got there late afternoon on New Years Eve, but we were so knackered by the 5 hour trog in appalling weather that we were all in bed by 10:30pm. Rock and roll !!
The following day we started to explore some of the awesome beaches, though the pesky cyclone was making its presence felt and the weather was becoming very English ( The two photos below were only taken a few minutes apart ) ..... It didn't stop us having a great few days bobbing around in the bays, though surfing was definately out for sane humans as the waves were very vicious. Byron as a town made me feel a bit old to be honest. I think we'd have fitted in a bit better about 10 years ago !