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New Zealand Trip Report Post #3 (Last); Dunedin, North Island, Bay of Islands, Auckland

New Zealand Trip Report Post #3 (Last); Dunedin, North Island, Bay of Islands, Auckland

Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 05:20 PM
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New Zealand Trip Report Post #3 (Last); Dunedin, North Island, Bay of Islands, Auckland

Post #3, Last Post
2 Nights Dunedin: We stayed at 755 Regal Motel, one bedroom with kitchen and sofa bed in the lounge area. The sofa bed was not good, otherwise the room was very nice, if basic and clean. This was the only place on our trip that I did not pre-book-called from Te Anau. Dinner that night at The Reef, and WOW, what a dinner of lobster (“crayfish” on the menu, but really a lobster without the “nippers.”), and giant shrimp on a skewer. Highly recommend this restaurant, especially for a special occasion type meal. http://www.thechallenge.co.nz/2003/s...efseafood.html
Much conversation with locals and based on our son’s knowledge, decided not to do Penguin Village as most penguins are molting and not active. Friday after doing some i/net and bank business, drove directly to the Albatross Center. Be sure to call ahead for a time; don’t want to get there at the same time as a couple of tour buses. One nesting chick right outside the hide (blind) and two flyers, one came to roost right in front of us – a rare treat. I think the ½ hour presentation and walk up to the hide is well worth it. They provide heavy rain coats. Lunch in their café was good. Drove back to Dunedin and 75km north to Moereki boulders. Had earlier determined low tide was at 4:30 pm. Stopped en route at a beach, hiked down a good hill and found two yellow eyed penguins standing in the bush molting away. They looked forlorn and unhappy. My son knew of this place, and almost guaranteed us penguins, but I could not direct you to it, nor find it again on my own. Then on to Moereki boulders and an almost deserted beach at this time of year. We hit the tide perfect and the weather cleared beautifully. The Fleurs Place, in the little town of Moereki, presented us with a wonderful epicurean delight in what seemed the middle of no where. (TIP: My son tried muttonbird. You don’t have to.) www.fleursplace.com outdoor dining with a view all the way to Banks Peninsula, weather permitting.

4 Nights Paihia. Bay of Islands: Day 15 Sat Done with the South Island, flew to Auckland on Air New Zealand. Arr 11:30 rented car and headed north. Books say 3-4 hour drive, but that’s not enough. Too many places to stop, roads get narrow and winding out of Auckland, and we were tired. A great stop for lunch in Warksworth at the Morris and James Pottery Co and Café. http://www.morrisandjames.co.nz/
I had prebooked Pioneer Apartments in Paihia, right across the street from the bay, steps from the wharf and town center. Turned out a perfect location, and again snacks and wine on the 1st (2nd) floor deck looking out on the Bay of Islands. http://www.pioneerapartments.co.nz/ A very nice 2 bedroom apt with a kitchen and laundry facilities in the room, a barbq on the deck. Jude, our hostess, was extremely friendly and helpful. Extended for 4th night. Recommend this hotel/apartment. Ask for the front units with the upstairs patio.
Day trip over to Russell by ferry from Paihia and an excellent lunch at Sallys on the water front (serves great breakfast til 3). Russell Museum is interesting. Waitangi Treaty Sight is worth a couple of hours. Swiss Café and Grill right next door to Pioneer is good for dinner. Bought steaks and groceries at the Woolworths (grocery chain, folks) and barbqued on our deck one night and watched a full moon come up over the Bay. Nice to be warm again. Beautiful! Washer dryer got a workout. Dolphins had babies, so no swimming with them. Decided not to go out and bother them. Had already seen them up close in Doubtful Sound. Weather was dodgy, with a bit of a wind and some rain. To windy to rent a Hobie Cat for a little spin on the bay. Darn!
Decided not to drive to Cape Reinga, the smartest decision we made on the trip. Got on board the Dune Rider at 0730 for a long but exhilarating day. http://www.dunerider.co.nz/capetour.htm (smaller bus recommended). The northern most point of the north island looks out on the violent meeting of the Tasman and Pacific, and is the departure point of the Maori souls on their way back to ancestral homes. Afterwards, a walk up (whew!) and ride down (WOW!) a 60 meter sand dune on a boogie board, drove 80 km on 90 mile beach where we dug up pipi’s, a little mussel/clam kind of thing. We stopped on the way back at Mangonui for fish and chips, and back at the apartment, steamed the pipi’s with a white wine cream sauce, and finished off a couple of bottles of wine in the moonlight. Excellent. I would also recommend the Landing, a wonderful restaurant in Kerikeri, along the water next to the Stone House. www.kerilanding.co.nz Great dinner our last night.

3 Nights in Auckland: Leaving Bay of Islands on Wed Day 19, we crossed over to the west side and had surprisingly good burgers at Poppa Jacks in Opunoni with a beautiful bay side setting. We got a watermelon because we spent more than $10. Stopped at Tane Mahuto, the big kauri tree. A great coffee stop at “Blah, blah, blah” in Dargaville. (Really, that’s the name of the café.) Then into Auckland.
Thurs and Fri in Auckland was spent shopping mostly on Queen Street and son getting organized for his next adventure into the jungles of Thailand and on to Nepal. Lunch in the sky tower was worth it. Dinner at acclaimed Cin Cin on the wharf was good, but the wine and desserts were priced outrageously. I recommend Mecca, a little café just off Queen Street for a very nice low key dinner, with another location in the Viaduct Basin., which contains several very “active” bars and cafes.

New Zealand is terrific, and while we saw a lot, there’s a lot left to see. Next Time. Sorry this is so long, but I didn’t know how much not to tell. I will address any questions you may have and hopefully help some one new to NZ and chime in my two cents worth on other threads.
End of Trip Report.
BillJ is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 06:01 PM
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Thanks for posting a great trip report! Glad you had a nice time.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 06:20 PM
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And thanks to you for your earlier report. It helped.
BillJ is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 09:30 PM
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Thanks, I'm going to track down your earlier posts.

I've just found out we will be going to a conference in Napier on the north island in December. We're going to try to take 10 days total and do want to get down to south island. I'm reviewing all the posts I can find but thanks for offering to answer questions too.
annw is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 09:31 PM
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Great trip report, with the right amount of details. Thanks so much!

Lee Ann
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