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New Zealand

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North Island Circuit


Wellington : Tongariro National Park : Egmont National Park : New Plymouth : Northland

Mt. Ruapehu : Mt Ngauruhoe and Tongariro Traverse : Mt. Egmont



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Wellington


From Picton a calm 3 hour crossing of the Cook Strait on the Inter-Islander ferry service brought me back to the North Island and the windy capital of Wellington with its ultra modern high rise office blocks and "Bee Hive" at the Parliament Buildings.

After a day's shopping in Wellington I headed north through the green rolling countryside and over the 'Desert Road' to Turangi and hence by minibus across the 'Saddle' to the camp-site at Whakapapa in the Tongariro National Park. Leaflets on the local walks were obtained from the Visitor Centre.


Tongariro National Park.


Hikes and climbs from Whakapapa:-


Stratford and Egmont National Park


Leaving Tongariro National Park I travelled south to the pleasant coastal city of Wanganui and then west to the rural town of Stratford on the outskirts of Egmont National Park.


New Plymouth


Two days later a short bus ride brought me to New Plymouth on the west coast beneath the slopes of Mt. Egmont. After pitching my tent on a grassy terrace above the beach I walked along the front and climbed the rocks to the top of Paratutu , a prominent old volcanic plug, which provided a nice viewpoint over the Tasman Sea coastline and the nearby Sugar-loaf islets.

In the following days I wandered around the extensive lakes and gardens of the renowned Pukekura Park and admired the surfers from the black sands of Fitzroy beach.

On day 78 of my travels around New Zealand I returned to Aukland.


Northland


A fine view of the the city and its marina obtained on crossing Auckland Harbour Bridge on route to Paihia on the Bay of Islands.

It was a sunny but windy day when I took the ferry to visit the historic village of Russel with its old colonial buildings and walked up to the flagstaff on the hilltop above for a panoramic view of the Bay.

Another look-out over the picturesque Bay was from Mt. Bledisloe (490'), a small hill above Waitangi. I returned to my camp-site beside the Haruru Falls on the Waitangi River via an interesting bush walk through a mangrove swamp.

Leaving Paihia I journeyed further north to Kaitaia and from there made a one day safari to Cape Reinga at the "Tail of the Fish" as the far north peninsula is called by the Maoris.

The driver of the mini-coach was Sid, the Maori proprietor of Cuzzy Tours who regaled us with folklore and songs as he raced along the flat, firm, sands of 90 Mile Beach. Every Maori we met that day was a 'cuzzy' ( cousin ) of Sid's. At the end of the beach the exit back to the highway was via the quicksands of Te Paki Creek enclosed in a micro desert area of large sand dunes.

From Cape Reinga, where the waters of the Tasman Sea meet those of the South Pacific Ocean, we drove round to the secluded beach of Tapotupotu Bay for lunch before the return to Kaitaia.

My final camp-site in the Far North was at Cooper's Beach in Doubtless Bay with my tent in an idyllic situation on a grassy terrace above the beautiful beach looking out over the spreading pohutukawa trees and wide blue waters of the bay as they shimmered in the rays of the sub-tropical sun - a blissful respite before returning to the noisy, bustling congestion of downtown Auckland.


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