Mangonui, Far North

We have got internet again. We drove up here from Russell today with a couple of stops along the way: we visited the Treaty House at Waitangi and stopped for pies and slices at the Bake House in Kerikeri, saw the Stone Store and enjoyed the beautiful Taupo Bay.

We had our accommodation all picked out for Doubtless Bay, but when we got there it turned out the owners went banktrupt and the hotel was closed down. So we checked our different guides and nothing sounded quite good. We went to 2 places but neither one looked particularly inviting – names withheld. So we stopped at one we had seen while driving: good choice. We have a wonderfull new room, with an incredible view – more sunset pictures! – over the bay.

I am writing this on a laptop kindly lend to surf a bit. We got a “chilly bag” to pack a picknick for our trip to Cape Reinga tomorrow, a map, tons of tips where to go and what to do and why not to do the bus tour to the cape, which I was not in favor of anyway. And we got a really nice TV for tomorrow’s rugby finals. Rolland already declared he wants to get a six pack and watch. I still think we should find the local pub (they always say tavern but the sign always says pub …) for that occasion.

On a different note: I got totally eaten by sandflies in Russell. I have 22 bites on the right foot and 16 on the left, legs not counted. It really hurts. At night I have to get up every couple of hours to cool down my feet with cold water. Only other thing that helps a bit is tiger balm. I think I am allergic to the salve I got at the pharmacy. Sandfly bites are not like moskito bites! They sometimes start bleeding without me even scratching them right after I was bitten!

Our Bay of Islands cruise the other day was also very nice, we could not go through the hole in the rock because there was too much wind and waves but we did see dolphins and baby dolphins and I think I got a couple of nice shots. According to the crew they were not very playful that day but it is nice enough to see so many wild dolphins swim alongside the ship.

The Treaty House was well worth that trip as well. After all it is one of “the” historic sites of NZ. The grounds are very nice and they have a lot of information on the Treaty of Waitangi, the history surrounding the treaty, the times and the people.

Kerikeri was not quite as cool as it is made out to be for the bus tours they offer – of course we did not visit all the places but we have already seen a winery (ate at one actually) and plan to go to Waiheke on our last day. The historic sites are nice.

So now we need to go do some shopping for breakfast and picknick and of course get us some dinner – if I can get Rolland away from watching Simpsons.

Greatings from the Far North!

PS: we saw a pink and yellow katamaran anchored near Russell yesterday. We named it Sponge Bob.