Thursday, July 20, 2006

Winter in New Zealand

We had a great holiday in Northland. The weather was really good for mid winter.

We spent a few days in Pahia, where the Shudall family joined us for a couple of nights and visited Russell the one time capital of New Zealand.

Much of the early history of european settlers, an interesting mixture of whalers, time served convicts and missionaries is centred in this area. We saw the oldest stone building in New Zealand and the earliest wooden building still standing. We visited the treaty grounds where the treaty of Waitangi was signed and Samuel Marsden's mission station.

We had time to take a boat out to explore the bay of islands and saw Gannets diving and blue penguins swimming. We also did a little kayaking as the holiday house we were in was by the Waitangi River and had a couple of kayaks which we could use. It's only a matter of time till we are at Fred Nelson standard.

We went all the way to the top of New Zealnd at Cape Reinga where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea and you can see the waves meeting from two directions. We found sound sand dunes which provided excellent entertainment.

90 Mile Beach was another highlight, driving on the beach (officially part of the state highway system), watching the sunset and meeting a stray seal.

It felt strange coming back to Wellington after our first holiday in New Zealand. It felt like we should be going back to Edinburgh. As I write the wind is howling, the rain is hammering on the window and visibility is about ten yards. Watching the British Open on TV there is a heatwave sweeping Scotland. It's funny feeling at home and far away at the same time.
For those who may be missing us as we miss you, a few more photos!

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