New Zealand North Island Feb 2013

February 5 – March 4, 2013

As that song goes, Rangitoto, Kauaeranga Valley, Rotorua, Napier, Tora Track etc. We travelled everywhere on the North Island a total of 3600 kms. NZ is known as the shaky isles and this group of senior citizens started out a little shaky on Auckland’s Rangitoto Is as some took tumbles, received volcanic rock autographs and a staked leg, but soon stepped up to the climbs encountered on the walks .

The 1st walk was to the Pinnacles and return via Billy Goat Track. On reaching the river, Milton informed us we still had a 260 m drop to go, when we had thought it a flat walk out.

On to Rotorua experiencing the hot pools up to 42ºc, wishing we could take it with us to soak in after our walks.

On to Napier a lovely little city with Art Decor buildings of an age matching the shaky 12.

Our first farm stay of 3 days was the Tora Walk staying at 3 different houses and all meals supplied. The first day’s walk was across farmland to Tora beach with a few ups and good views, the second along the beachfront being the easiest. The third day out was through farmland and natural scrub and the opportunity to climb the bugler.

Then to New Plymouth via Wellington and Whanganui to climb Mt Taranaki on a perfect day. 6 attempted the 1600 m altitude gain, Donald reached the top with David and Barbara reaching the rim, whilst Sue and Fay getting within 1½ hours from the top, then it was down the scree slope which had proved hard to climb but coming down the feet just went from under you.

We then travelled to National Park for the Tongariro Crossing via the Forgotten World Highway through grassed volcanic shaped peaks interconnecting at all points of the compass. The Crossing was still closed and we could only go to a point overlooking Emerald Lakes and return, 22 kms instead of 19 km through. The weather closed in, views limited, windy and cold. Donald, David and Sue stayed and climbed Mt Tongariro in the cloud and were rewarded at the top with clear views. The others were down from the high point by then.

We continued northwards being the tourist, sand boarding down a dune on the 90 mile beach then to do the Bream Head coast walks, like the Tora, with the excellent meals supplied, venison, lamb, fish, beef and those deserts.

Our 28 days were entirely sunny except for 2 days of some mist. In no time we were repacking for our trip home. Thanks to Geoff and Bev for all the cooking, driving and organising.                                       By Ian.