Haere mai and welcome to Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud. We’ve gone from Japanese winter straight into Kiwi summer! We started our journey in Auckland as most international travelers do, where we picked up a campervan and drove north first, to visit an area where N taught diving long, long ago. We’re about halfway through the North Island right now, with the intention of making it just to the northern tip of the South Island before we have to turn around and come back. To say that we’re in a different world than Japan would be an understatement.
Our sunrise view at Whangamata, where we freedom-camped on the beach.
Tauranga seen from the top of Mount Maunganui.
Oystercatchers on the dunes.
Surf school at Omanu Beach.
It’s easy to see why many fantasy movies have been filmed in these prehistoric forests.
New Zealand is home to an unusual number of “wild” chickens, seen here hiding from the rain at a picnic spot near Haruru Falls. Are they dumped in the woods by people who don’t want them? We have no idea, but we’ve seen (and heard) a lot of them!
Stormy day at the beach in Tauranga.
Next up for us: Lake Taupo and (hopefully) the legendary Tongariro Crossing!