Sunday, December 6, 2009

A lightning tour of Northern New Zealand

As mentioned previously, we rented a car for a few days to go on a tour of the northern part of the North Island of New Zealand. We didn't really know where we were going except that we were expected back at our next WWOOF hosts by Monday evening.

We rented a car in Warkworth from the chattiest rental person ever - he told us that the USA used to drive on the "correct" side of the road until Henry Ford for some reason put steering wheels on the left-hand side of the car. He also insisted on going over all of New Zealand traffic laws before letting us part with his Toyota Starlet (we learned that you can only get a Starlet if you import it specially to New Zealand) rental, as seen here by a bush along the ocean:

As it turned out we ended up driving 850 km (530 miles) all the way to the tip of New Zealand and back. We used our Spot device to check-in at various points of interest and I created a map with some of the photos geo-tagged to where we took them here.

We actually had great weather for this trip - lots of sun with clouds scattered around but no rain. Northern New Zealand is beautiful. It's super rural with lots of little towns and beaches around every corner. It reminded us of Whidbey Island in Washington.

Here's the link to the full album of our trip:

Northland Whirlwind

We are now in Mangawhai Heads for another WWOOF stint. It's a beautiful setting - olive groves and a small farm amongst rolling hills. There's also a swimming pool and hot tub. I'm not sure what the work will be like though as our host asked us if we'd "done much concrete work before." I guess "organic farming" can take many shapes around here. And he drank a low-carb beer before jumping in the pool to get his exercise. We should be in for an interesting time...

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