This Blog is based on photos and notes taken by Alex Reid during a drive around New Zealand in February 2017, with Lynda and Michael Brooks.

Click on any image to get a higher-resolution version.

Tuesday, 7-Feb-17: Depart Sydney:
We flew from Perth (via Melbourne) to Auckland, New Zealand, to meet up with the Brooks and drive (in convoy) around the North and South Islands of NZ.
We arrived at about midnight on Monday, and stayed overnight in the Ibis hotel at Auckland airport.
First thing in the morning we collected our hire car, and then drove into Auckland, where we had arranged to meet up with the Brooks on Mount Edan.
View from Mt Eden over an extinct volcano to the city and harbour beyond.

Then we drove North to Paihia on the Bay of Islands, stopping on the eay to admire the view over Whangarei Heads, then taking a diversion to see Waipu Cave (but the walk turned out to be too long, so we just admired the rock formations next to the car park. We also took a small doiversion just before arriving into Paihia to Veronica Lookout, with geat views over the bay of Islands.
On the road North, view over Whangarei Heads.
Close-up view of Whangarei Heads.
Fascinating rocks and trees near the carpark for Waipu Cave.
Our hire cars at the carpark.
View from Point Veronica Lookout over Bay of Islands - a Princess cruise ship at anchor.
Another aspect of the view of Bay of Islands from Point Veronica.

Wednesday, 8-Feb-17: Paihia, Northland
We set out on Wednesday to explore To Puketi Forest (one of the largest tracks of native rainforest in the North), had lunch at Okaihau Dairy, then back to Kerikeri where we saw St James Church (oldest church in NZ, 1824, but this structure 1856), and the Stone Store, the first stone building in NZ, dated from 1832.
To Puketi Kauri forest.
Within the forest.
St James church, Kerikeri (1878).
The Stone Store (1832).

Thursday, 9-Feb-17: Waitangi Treaty Grounds:
Today we drove to the nearby Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the location for the Waitangi Treaty signed by the British respresentative (James Busby) and the Maori chiefs from the North Island in 1840. We had a guided tour given by Dan Busby (a descendant).
This was followed by a cultural performance by Maori singers/dancers in the Meeting House.
We then looked round the museum, and went for a short walk through nearby rainforest.
The Treaty House, the Residence of the British representative.
The study of the Residence where the treaty was signed.
The Waitangi Meeting House.
Interior of the Meeting House.
Carvings in the Meeting House.
The Maori cultural performance.
Waitangi War Canoes.
Nearby rainforest.
Silver fern in the rainforest.

Later that day, Michael and I went in search of nearby Haruru Falls.
Haruru Falls.

Friday, 10-Feb-17: Travelling South:
We left Paihia after 3 nights, travelling to the West coast and then South via Omapere (coffee), the giant kauri tree Tane Mahuta, the Kauri Museum in Matakohe, then bypassing Auckland over the Harbour Bridge (complete with traffic jam), to Hamilton (dinner @ Mercer McDonalds). Helen and I stayed with Darryl & Sue Smith, while the Brooks stayed at a nearby hotel with the intention of meeting up with a former colleague of Lynda's (and then to visit the glowworm caves).
The harbour at Omapere.
The West coastline at Omapere.
The Waipoua Rainforest.
Tane Mahuta: Lord of the Forest: 2,000 years old, 51m high, 14m girth; largest living Kauri.
The road cedes to the Kauri.
Matakohe Museum kauri root system stump (of a smaller kauri).
Matakohe Kauri Museum pioneer church.
Matakohe church interior - such splendid wood!
Auckland waterfront.
Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Saturday, 11-Feb-17: Hamilton:
We spent a lot of the day (accompanied by Suzanne, and later by Darryl) visiting Hamilton Gardens, including a Dahlia exhibition/competition. These gardens were extensive and most impressive, with many "rooms" in different "styles". Here are some examples. Then some dahlias, then the rose gadren.
Japanese raked garden.
Hedged Borders.
Flower Borders.
Chinese garden.
A Wild garden.
Arabic garden.
Italianate garden.
Knot garden.
Kitchen garden.
A Monet-style garden.

Dahlia Exhibition.
Wonderful dahlia blooms.
More wonderful blooms.
Great way to exhibit dahlia blooms.

Hamilton Rose Garden

Sunday, 12-Feb-17: Waitomo:

Alex Reid