GRAND PACIFIC TOURS
HPP TOUR to NEW ZEALAND - March 13th - April 1st 2017
Installment #1 of 4
New Zealand North Island - Auckland, Cape Reinga to Auckland
Monday 13th March saw 16 fellow HPP members and friends gather at Sydney Airport to begin our Grand Pacific 19 day Showcase Tour. One more was to join us in Christchurch for the South Island.
Tuesday Day 1 was a free day so we toured Auckland as we desired by foot, finding lots of great sites to explore. That evening we dined with 21 others who were joining our tour. We also met Kenn our Guide.
Wednesday 6am wake-up call, buffet breakfast and on the coach. Our coach was very comfortable; driver Kevin and guide Kenn were an endless source of history, demographics, statistics and bad jokes. The Bay of Islands awaited us where we visited the Kauri Museum. Kauri is a tree grown in New Zealand used for everything and almost became extinct because of felling in excess over the years. Robert (Stone) had an urgent call of nature, no toilets - find a tree (we were in a Kauri forest). We also visited the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and had a very passionate Maori guide take us through and explain her ancestors' history.
The next day many of us took a coach trip to Cape Reinga the most northern tip of New Zealand. Lots of laughter and threats to those boarding the coach late. Along the way we saw wild turkeys, ostriches and wild horses. At Cape Reinga we saw where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea meet, quite a ripple on the water at that point. We sand-boarded down sand dunes that we also had to climb.
The coach drove along 90 mile beach, we had time to wander but had to watch for mad 4- wheel drive fisherman as the beach is a designated road and they were doing 80-90 km/h.
The next day we cruised aboard a luxury catamaran to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock, too much swell for us to cruise through. A pod of dolphins were putting on a display for the people on board the Radiance of the Seas and we soon realise this ship was stalking our tour. Then back to Auckland for the next leg of our tour.
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