Why had I never been before? Bizarre. So close and cheap from Sydney.
Rob spent a month backpacking around before we met (16 years ago!) and told me how great it was. When we traveled we either did stuff in Oz or went further afield.
Everywhere was so god damn pretty and green. I'm sure there are ugly bits but we didn't see them.
Our first 2 nights were spent just outside of Auckland at a wonderful little B&B, the Lone Kauri Lodge. I totally recommend it, great hosts, beautiful views and very close to stunning beaches.
There is a couple of huge old Kauri trees covered in barnacles washed up high on the beach. We wondered how long they were floating around to accumulate them before being washed up.
We headed north away from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean to Leigh. Goat Island Marine Reserve is there, but sadly there was a storm system lurking which made it all choppy so the glass bottom boat wasn't going out. We still had a lovely morning poking around in rock pools. I'd love to go back and do some snorkling or diving in the area.
From there we headed back down towards Auckland, stopping at the Matakana farmer's markets, a couple of vineyards and a picnic on Snells beach. All very idyllic.
Sunday was a live day at Howick Historical Village, costumes, restored houses, arts, crafts and Queen Victoria. Moral failings all round. It was very cute and a interesting slice of Auckland history, not that much different from Australia's really. Bunch of poms trying to eke out an existence in a foreign land.
It rained on and off, but we always just got the sun long enough to do our thing before it came back. It was sunny long enough for our hour long horse trek, and our Xtreme luging before it hammered back down.
Kate's ipad was very useful. Everywhere we stayed had free wifi so we could find places to stay and things to do very easily.
Such a wonderful stress free holiday. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
More photos here