A Travellerspoint blog

Paihia

Snapper Fishing

sunny 24 °C

Sunday 21.2
After a tasty continental breakfast we walked to the wharf where we got the Blue Pacific fishing boat for a half day’s snapper fishing. There were two others on the boat with the three of us; one chap was from Fleet, Hampshire – only 16 miles from Basingstoke (what a coincidence!). The boat took us far out into the bay where stopped and caste off. We used small fish for bait, like sardines which were hooked and weighted. It was fantastic weather – a clear blue sky and about 25 degrees. It didn’t take long before we started catching some – but they were not great sizes so we threw them back. After about half an hour I caught a fairly big one (about 10 lbs), one of the men caught a whopper (18 lbs) and all except Thomas landed large ones; we had a catch of twelve big ones between us. Thomas was looking into the water pulling in a small one when he dropped his glasses in the water and couldn’t retrieve them; we joked that the next one he’d catch would be wearing his glasses. Before going back to the harbour we had photos taken with our largest catch. Thomas has his photo with one of the bait fish wearing sunglasses! Back at the harbour the crew filleted and prepared the catch for us, which we took to a restaurant near our B&B and asked them to cook it for us. The cook there did a platter of the fish cooked in three different ways, which we had with chips and salad – a lovely meal. We even had some left over to give to our hosts at the B&B. Bloated after our meal we drove and took the ferry across to Russell, an old colonial town which was the first capital of N. Zealand and had an energetic walk along the beach and up to the historic flagstaff from which there was a fantastic panoramic view. ‘Came back to the B&B and after a few glasses of wine had an early night.

Posted by JShevlin 02:48 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

90 Mile Beach

The Northern Peninsula

sunny 24 °C

Saturday 20.2
Checked out of our motel (the most popular form of accommodation in NZ) after a quick breakfast and caught the coach outside the motel for a tour of 90 Mile Beach. The coach was almost full and Danny, our driver, gave a running commentary as he drove; he gave us the history of the beach area. He actually drove on to the beach close to the water. The breakers were great but after about a half an hour we had a blowout – the rear inner side tyre had a huge gash in it. Danny tried to contact the coach office by phone but had no signal on his mobile; however one of the passengers did have a signal and he was advised to continue as the other tyres would be adequate for the load – anyway if he didn’t we would get trapped by the incoming tide. In fact with the delay we just about made it at one point where there was a narrow gap between an outcrop of rock and the incoming tide. We stopped after a further tenuous drive for a swim and a bite of lunch. Swimming among the breakers was really exhilarating. We continued on until we reached a range of mountainous sand dunes where we stopped, climbed to the top of one of them and tobogganed down. I wasn’t prepared for such an increase of speed on te way down – my cap blew off and when I reached the bottom I continued on into a small stream and got soaked. After drying off we continued on towards the northern tip of the peninsula where we stopped and walked down to the lighthouse while Danny and some of the other coach drivers, who had also stopped there, changed the tyre. It turned out that Danny’s main job was a teacher and he was a coach driver on some of his days off. We eventually got back to base, tired after a long but exciting day. We drove on to Paihia and eventually found our B & B after driving up and down the seafront a few times; although it was situated over a liquor store it was a great standard both for accommodation and food. Gillian and Vaughan, our hosts, were very helpful.

Posted by JShevlin 23:58 Archived in New Zealand Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Auckland

The City and its Surrounds

semi-overcast 24 °C

Thursday 18.2
We met up with Kieran and he took us for a tour of the city and the environs; we walked along the popular surfing beaches outside the city and also through its national park - a scenic subtropical forest with a wide variety of dense foliage. The marina in the city was a great sight of luxury yachts and speed boats. We had a tasty fish meal by the marina before going back to the hotel. Jet lag hit me early in the evening and I found myself falling to sleep no matter what I did. 'Woke up in the morning with a headache - I think it may have been due to noisy people leaving through the night for the airport!

Friday 19.2
Followin a disagreement with the hotel re overpayment for our breakfast we picked up a hire car and drove nort out of the city. We tried to buy some sim cards for our mobiles so we could use them locally but they were too expensive. We took a wrong turning and added milage to our trip; however after a cross country drive we got to Tutukaka - a marine reserve and peaceful scenic area. It's one of the top diving spots in the world and has a wonderful marina - the forest of masts in the harbour was a sight. We had a lovely fish and chips meal in a restaurant facing the marina. Along theway we came across a herd of cattle in the road being transferred to another pasture; they were controlled from behind by a farmer on a quad bike with dogs and another in front with a tractor and more dogs; they created a passage for us to get through. We stopped briefly to watch the surfers ride the breakers near Matapouri. We continued on to Kaitaia, arriving about 9:00, much later than expected. Jet lag hit me again so had an early night.

Posted by JShevlin 01:50 Archived in New Zealand Tagged lodging Comments (0)

Brunei to Auckland

Long Journeys & Jetlag

semi-overcast 36 °C

Jetlag hit me quite badly when we eventually got to Auckland and each evening when i began the blog I found myself falling asleep so this is the first real opportunity I've had to catch up; so here goes.........

Wednesday 17.2
We had an early breakfast and caught a taxi to the airport; the taxi driver was a chatty lady from Brunei - she has six children, two at university in U.K. (Imperial College and UCL) sponsored by the Brunei Government (each have a signed contract to return and work for the government); they also get financial incentives according to how well they achieve. However she needs to send them $500 each a month to cover accomodation & food.
We had some time to spare when we reached the airport so we checked hotels on-line for when we return to Brunei. However we got a good recommendation and a better deal than on-line for a four star hotel near the centre of the city.
The flight was smooth; it stopped for refuelling at Brisbane (which we didn't expect!) but by the time we got off the plane & had gone though security we had only about ten minutes before going back on again. 'Landed in Auckland about 4:30 (Thursday) local time & eventually got a transfer to our hotel (Garden Inn) where we had a 6:30 breakfast and a few hours sleep before meeting up with Kieran Davis (cousin who lives just outside Auckland with his family)

Posted by JShevlin 23:50 Archived in Brunei Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Brunei

En route to New Zealand

sunny 36 °C

After a long flight with a refueling stop at Dubai we touched down in Brunei - a big shock walking out into the stifling heat. Checked into our hotel (10:30 am) in the centre of the city and caught up with some sleep, then browsed around the main shopping area. 'Went to the city museum and took a motor boat for a tour around the water village. The latter was very interesting - 30,000 people living in houses on stilts over the river; they have their own schools, police & fire stations etc. English is widely spoken so no difficulty with communication. After a nap and a shower back at the hotel we had a meal around the corner and took a taxi to the night market - a huge range of foods (cooked & raw) plus vegetables on sale - cooking on site. We bought a freshly cooked pancake... very tasty with nuts, raisens etc.
Now waiting to board our plane for Auckland...... everything smooth so far!

Posted by JShevlin 17:54 Archived in Brunei Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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