Islands of the Pacific
Los Angeles - Tahiti - Cook Islands - New Zealand - Fiji - London
Arriving to the city of sails just before midday, a bus with our New Zealand driver and guide Maxine was waiting.
|Leaving the airport||Drive-through shots of Auckland suburbs
from the passing bus
|The first stop coming from the airport was
Mount Eden, a view point over Auckland.
|Mount Eden is in fact an old
volcano, one of many around
|A few more panoramic shots of Auckland...|
|...and a few more. Didn't have my camera out for almost a whole day.||Auckland city center, near
the Sky City Hotel
|The Auckland Marina, location of the America Cup 2003
race. These are the docks where teams were based at.
|We stopped at the Auckland Aquarium, too.
They are quite proud of their penguins.
|Not just a fish. Piranhas.||A couple more Auckland beachfront shots.|
The next morning after breakfast, we are going by bus to Rotorua, some 200 km south-east of Auckland, a center of geothermal activities in New Zealand.
|Landscape south of Auckland. Lots of green, lots of hills. Lots of sheep, too.||Arriving to Whakarewarewa
(short name, see the pict for
a full one) Thermal Reserve,
this was our guide.
|A hot mood pool, up
to 98 degrees Celsius.
|Hot geysers in action|
|Everything is smoldering...||There is a distinct smell in the air, something between ammoniac, sulfur and boiling water...|
|More geyser shots||Maori battle canoe||It's a bird.
It's a kiwi.
|Replicas of traditional Maori
homes, a food chamber
on the left
|Maori Crafts Institute, open
for tourists to watch
|Supposedly the most beautiful
house in New Zealand
|Agrodome presentation - all
the sheep of New Zealand
|Shepherd dogs at work|
|Arriving back to Auckland
in the afternoon
The next bus trip is in the other direction, Paihia, Bay of Islands, the northern tip of New Zealand, where we will be spending the night before heading back the next day.
|Morning traffic jam
|Drive-through landscape||Waitangi, the place where the treaty was
signed between native Maori and conquesting
English, making New Zealand British.
|Treaty House, as originally
owned by James Busby
|A Maori temple, a gathering place and
history keeper for the whole village
|Nicely arranged flowers
on the premises
|Replicas of war canoes|
|A trunk of a large kauri
tree, used to make one
of the canoes.
|Arriving to Paihia||The evening was free, and a three of us
went on a dinner cruise up the river
with Darryl and Jenny.
|Landscape by the river|
|Our destination for the
|Dinner time. Enjoying Darryl's prime steak or fish, fresh from the grill,
and a beautiful sunset landscape while slowly floating back towards the sea.
|The next day, we are heading back to Auckland tracking by the west side
of the Northern Island. Golf is a popular game in New Zealand.
|One of the smaller towns
we were passing through.
|Sandy dunes on the way to
Waipoua Forest, a home
of kauri trees.
|More sandy dunes||Tane Mahuta, God of the Forest. The largest kauri tree in New Zealand.
It is hard to see from the photos how large it really is,
nearly 14 meters all around it.
|On the way back, we stopped at a local winery to
try out New Zealand's wines. Weren't impressed.
|Most known beach in Auckland,
it will be full in a month or two
|Our bus, taking us
around New Zealand
|Auckland landscape from the Sky Tower, visited on late afternoon after returning from Paihia.||Unique view from the tower
through a glass floor
|Leaving Auckland for the airport in the afternoon
next day, after having a day off for shopping
and individual sightseeing.
|A B-767 waiting to take us
back to the warm islands,
this time to Fiji.
Next page: Fiji