Rotorua, centre of geothermal activity in New Zealand, we were both looking forward to our visit. The town is set on the side of Lake Rotorua, a flooded volcanic crater with a lava dome forming an island in the middle. When we got there our first task was to find a shop selling hats; we have been advised that the clear air and thin atmosphere in NZ means the sun can be very strong and you can burn very easily so we wanted to buy a couple of proper protective sun hats, we soon found the right shop and purchased factor 50 sun hats with built in insect repellence, perfect. Next we drove down to the waterfront, the weather was closing in and it was quite late so most places had closed down for the day so it felt a bit like English seaside out of season! We found a café and had coffee and a doughnut before getting back in the car and setting off to find the City Lights B&B. On the way we pulled into a park which showed on the map as having geothermal sites, we walked around a whole range of hot mud pools, steam vents and bubbling hot springs, the whole place felt very otherworldly and had a distinct aroma of sulphur. Continue reading Rotorua
The trip from Devonport across to the Coromandel Peninsula on the north east coast of the North Island was uneventful, we took the more scenic coast road skirting the Firth of Thames and dropped in to the historic gold mining town of Thames to have a look around. We drove around the centre of town trying to find the gold heritage but failed, all modern and nothing to see (apparently you can visit the old gold workings but we couldn’t find any sign of them. We stopped for coffee ans as we left it started to rain so we set of for our next stop Tairua on the east coast. Continue reading Coromandel Peninsula
Our first stop on our NZ road trip was Russell in the Bay of Islands, 250km north of Auckland. The drive up was really easy, we took the motorway part of the way then peeled off on the east coast road which wound through the hills and along the coast passing little bays and inlets. It was cloudy when we left and we had some heavy rain on the motorway but it cleared through and by the time we reached Russell it was blustery but mainly dry. Continue reading Russell
For our stay in Maui we were booked in to the Inn at Mama’s Fish House; a group of holiday cottages clustered around a famous fish restaurant. When we checked in we were upgraded to a two-bedroom garden cottage, it was beautiful, really spacious, tastefully furnished and recently fully refurbished at great expense. We discovered a welcome tray in the kitchen with the usual tea and coffee but also a loaf of homemade banana cake, a huge fresh papaya and a fresh lime – that was breakfast sorted for one morning. Having had an early start we didn’t stray far that afternoon, but we did walk through the restaurant to see the beach. The setting was idyllic, a beautiful tropical garden opened on to a grove of palm trees and a virtually private beach, technically all the beaches in Hawaii are open to the public but this was as private as could be. The beach was steep and there was a reef off shore which protected it from the surf, in between was an area of rock pools. Not really a swimming beach but great to sit and gaze at.
We have had two more great days before we all head home tomorrow.
Thursday Margaret and Carl stayed at the cottage while we others went out. We headed to Truro where Yvette had her hair done and spent some time doing her own thing and exploring Truro by herself. Kim and I went off to see Sean, a very good friend who was running an open day at his studio. We spent a couple of hours with him and then headed back. One of the highlights of going to see Sean (apart from seeing Sean himself and looking at his most recent paintings of course!) was crossing the River Fowey on the chain ferry! Back in Truro we met up with Yetti who was enjoying a lobster lunch and looking glamorous with her new hair do.
Today, we all had a bit of a lie-in and after breakfast went off to Penzance. We had a good look around and then headed to Marazion for a spot of lunch at the Godolphin Arms hotel. The food was fantastic and the views from the restaurant were spectacular. After lunch we headed back to the cottage for a bit of r and r!