Hey all-

This is the second part of the New Zealand post, aka go back and read the other first if you have not yet done so :).

As mentioned in the previous post after landing in Auckland and grabbing food we returned to our hotel to prep for the next 24+ hours with limited food options. And we got creative, hard boiled eggs in a teapot (the kind that plugs in).

Then it was up with the sun and on the road for our first destination…

Rotorua.

After walking around to stretch our legs and eat some breakfast it was back on the road. Driving in New Zealand was the best, little to no cars on the road once we got out of Auckland and animals running freely.

After about 2 hours of driving on a dirt road winding through mountains we arrived to Lake Waikaremoana.  We quickly checked into our tourist cabin-for a few extra dollars you are given a fully equipped kitchen, towels, and linens-and then went for a hike before the sun set. I knew we were given linens but wasn’t aware of the fully stocked kitchen, otherwise we would have brought more substantial food items. Instead we had hardboiled eggs, pb and jelly sandwiches, etc. C’est la vie…

The next morning we slept in a little and then got back on the road for the next 3 hour stretch of driving to wine country-Hastings.

From mountain to coast.

We stayed in an area about 20-30 minutes outside of Hastings- Napier: an area known for it’s art deco inspired architecture.  In 1931 an earthquake and the following fires destroyed the town, which was later rebuilt in Art Deco and Spanish Mission styles.

Hotel-Art Deco Masonic:

Direct access to the patio.

First black beach experience!

After 2 nights and 3 days relaxing in Hastings/Hawkes Bay/Napier area we were back on the road for a night in Lake Taupo.

Day hike:

The view from our room thanks to B and B:

Another day, another location:Whitianga for a scallop festival. This would have been a great area for watersports and we did see quite a few people kayaking but it was too cold for us.

So we ate and sampled a few more wines instead.

We missed the memo but apparently the cool thing to do was group themed costumes.

Shells everywhere.

So plentiful that everyone can fish, but with limit to preserve the populations of shellfish. Probably the thing I loved most about New Zealand, respect for the environment and future generations.

Wild turkeys.

View from the back of our accommodations.

Evening walk.

Morning walk. Waters so blue.

Luck ran out and we finally had a day of rain. We had planned to stop in Hamilton region on the way back to Auckland, but with rain that seemed less ideal so we headed to the northern region of Auckland to checkout a few other wineries.

Brick Bay Sculpture: sculpture garden, winery, restaurant.

Around sunset we headed back to the downtown region of Auckland where we would stay for our final days in New Zealand.

Hawaii, final post to come.

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