The Land of the Long White Cloud

We have left Australia for now, but we’ll soon return. We started our New Zealand tour in Auckland. We did not stay long enough. A little less than a day in this welcoming city was far too short to see anything more than the harbour (and its nice boats!).

To anyone who would like to visit Auckland : we recommend the de Breet Hotel. A nice and welcoming place. Everything you need, with a smile and good food. As close as you can get to Design + Family Hotel perfection.

We left the city for the countryside and headed to Rotorua in the middle of North Island, to discover the geothermal activity. A geyser, a lot of sulphur and a great walk in the forest  started our day, but our best souvenir will probably be our afternoon at the Rotorua “skyline” and luge. It was not planned and at first, we were second guessing the idea, but as there was not much to do, we gave the attraction a try. We went up and down the hills with our 2 luges, driving the excited children on the various slopes in the forest. A mountain feel, without the snow. Many laughs and a few thrills for the children (and parents too).

luge

Yesterday, it was a long drive. From Rotorua to Wellington. Shy of 500 km but through the mountains on very windy roads. We left at 8:30 and arrived at 17:30. The landscape is breathtaking : a succession of ancient forests, rural villages, great lakes, powerful falls and a desert.

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To finish with, our first glimpse of the Tasmanian sea : what a reward (hit the beach).

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Lalastine

Today, we took it easy in a sunny Wellington, visiting the great te Papa museum and playing on the Oriental Bay Beach and playground, surrounded by a magnificient bay. We also needed some time to do the laundry, sort out our itinerary and let Alvar catch up on some homework. Long days but what fun !

We know that the scenery is about to get more and more dramatic. Nature seems to grow stronger by the kilometre. It started with picturesque and rural setting and it is now getting grand and wild. Tomorrow  we will be crossing the Cook strait between the two islands and will keep our eyes wide open to savour each and every minute of our time on the South Island.

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