New Zealand August 2000

From 10/8/00 - 20/8/00 I travelled to New Zealand with a friend Joe, for our friend Paul and Tonya's enagement party. We also took in the sights of Auckland, and toured around the North Island for a week.

Touring Around

I left on an early Air NZ flight 06:50AM, this meant getting up far too early. I picked up Joe on the way to the airport. He was flying Qantas, and departed 10 minutes later. On the way I saw his plane pass us, as it was a larger, higher flying aircraft. We met up again outside customs in Auckland, and were met by our now local mate Paul.

We had a quick tour around Auckland and checked out Paul and Tonyas 'homestead'. The Auckland City YHA was to be our home for the next few days and we booked in and checked it out. It was a very well equipped YHA with tour info, large kitchen, TV room, internet terminal and so on.

The weather was looking a bit bleak on Friday, so instead of going to Waiheke Island, we took a shorter harbour cruise. In the evening we had dinner at Kens Japanese Restaurant up on 'K' road, not far from the YHA. The service was a bit slow and we drank copious quantities of sake while waiting for the food.

Saturday was the big party day. The party was held at the 'homestead' and a good time was had by all. The beer was on tap, accompanied by lamb on a spit and other food.

We didnt get back to the YHA until later on Sunday, and got ourselves packed up ready to hit the road Monday morning.

The rent-a-car people picked us up and took us out to pick up the car. We scored an upgrade and collected an older model Nissan Bluebird with power windows, stereo, etc. We were heading for Rotorua, but not in any hurry. We stopped in Matamata, and the decided to head to the coast to see Mt Maunganui. We arrived at the mountain and convinced each other to climb it in our somewhat unfit states. On the way up we could see smoke and a fire on the side of the mountain. We continued anyway, and by the time we got to the top there were helicopters dropping water on it. I took several photos of the action, and we wandered back down.

By the time we got to the bottom there were police, fire engines and news crews running around. We had a chat to a reporter from the NZ Herald and showed her the photos on the digital camera. She was interested in them, and we managed to load them onto the photographers G3 Mac laptop. I was hoping to get one in the paper, but the photographer used her own, taken from ground with a 300mm lens. However we did get a mention in the paper the next day! See the picture of the article below.

After all that excitement we headed on to Rotorua and got in just on dusk. We stayed YHA again and found it excellent. It had a bar(!), pool table, hot pool, TV room etc etc. We had our own upstairs room with balcony and bathroom.

In the morning we headed out to see the Geiser and thermal area south of Rotorua. Paul drove down from Auckland and we met him in the carpark. The geiser went off on time at 10:15, after the ranger had poured a packet of soap in it! We did the big walk around the thermal area and took a few photos. After this it was off to the 'Pig and Whistle' pub in Rotorua for lunch. After lunch we did the Skyline Luge rides and then farm bike rides. The farm bikes were the best value, we got a long ride for our NZ$50. After riding out of the farm, and through muddy forest tracks, the guy who took us out let us hoon about on the grassy area at the top of the farm. After all that we recovered at the Polynesian Spa pools, before dinner in Rotorua. The town was very quiet, being off season and only a couple of resaurants had more than a couple of patrons.

On Wednesday we headed went to Taupo and then headed north for Te Aroha. I did the big bungy jump at Taupo which was great! We also checked out the lake and the geothermal power station. The Te Aroha YHA was a small house, and we were the only guests. We had a huge meal of chinese takeaway after relaxing in the hot pools in town.

Thursday we continued up the Coromandel Peninsula. We rode the small railway, and drove along the coastal road. The Peninsula was very scenic, but unfortunately the weather was not so good in the afternoon. Coromandel YHA was our stop for the night. The YHA was part of a caravan park with cabins, and was on the water.

Friday we crossed the Peninsular to the East, and headed south down the coast. We had planned to stay at Thames, but as the weather was looking bleak, and we were not too far away, we headed back to Auckland instead. The hire car was dropped off on the way in, and we were given a lift back to town. Being back early gave us the full day to look around Auckland, and we went up the tower, and spent some time relaxing at the top before continuing our exploration of Auckland City. Saturday night was Tonyas birthday party at a pub in Auckland.

On Sunday, our last day we checked out and had brunch at the harbour. The scene was very different to the nightclub running last night. The music was low, and tables and chairs were set out. Later we were dropped back at the airport for the flights home.


1. Penguins at Underwater World
2. Auckland from the harbour
3. The 'Homestead'
4. The party getting underway
5. Party in full swing
6. Fire on Mt Maunganui
7. Mt Maunganui
8. Bar at YHA Rotorua
9. Rotorua Thermal Area
10. Bungy Jumping at Taupo
11. Thermal Power Station near Taupo
12. Bush walk near Te Aroha
13. Coromandel Peninsula
14. Coromandel Peninsula
15. Narrow Railway, Coromandel Peninsula
16. Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula
17. Party at the pub
18. Auckland City view from Auckland YHA
19. Auckland Tower
20. Ackland Harbour from Tower
21. NZ Herald Newspaper Story (138K)

Click on the pictures for a larger image