• Keef Hellinger

Blog 162 HOLIDAY 2007-8 ✅USE MENU✅Pacific Islands, NZ, Oz, Singapore & Hong Kong recreated 21

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

By keef and annie hellinger, Dec 1 2021 08.21 am

This is a retrospective Blog, we were away from 26th October 2007 to 18th September 2008, visiting Fiji Islands ,Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, not quite a year but we have called it our GAP YEAR, didn't do it when we were younger as most do so did it as we retired 😉


Go to

1. Summary, Timeline & Calendar

2. Overall Recap Videos

3. Postcards & Letters home

4. Diary part 1 - Days 1 to 160

5. Diary part 2 - Days 161 to 329

6. Pre Travel

7. California - USA, LA & San Jose

8. The Pacific Islands

9. Fiji - Vitu Levu but mostly Vanua Levu

10. Western Samoa - Savaii & Upolu

11. Tonga, Tongatapu & Atata Islands

12. New Zealand

13. North Island, New Zealand

14. South Island, New Zealand

15. Stewart Island, New Zealand

16. Australia

17. New South Wales, Australia

18. Tasmania, Australia

19. Western Australia

20. Northern Territory, Australia featuring the Ghan

21. South Australia

22. Victoria, Australia

23. Queensland, Australia

24. Singapore

25. Hong Kong

26. Old Site Photo Page Downloads

As Moonfruit died on 7th December 2021 my previous HOLIDAY2007-8 site which contained our Gap year down under in 2007-8 was migrated by Yell to WIX. I have decided to incorporate it here into my motorhome-travels blog uk site as an insurance against Yell increasing site charges quite substantially once a year is up, it will then be easy to remove the migrated site if I chose to.

Note this is intrinsically linked to Blog 97, see the 3 associated blogs at end of post, thanks for looking


On the 31st July 2007 I had the opportunity to take early retirement and a redundancy package from my then employer, which afforded us the opportunity to travel and realise a life long dream of returning to Australia the place of both our youths. Whilst planning that opportunity and packing up our property (we let it through an agency to Polish railway workers, which helped provide additional funding for our adventures) we decided to also cover my cousin in California, New Zealand, Hong Kong and a few of the Pacific islands, namely Fifi, Western Samoa and Tonga (inspired initially by my love of Rugby, esp. the Fijian 7s rugby). Annie took early retirement as well, leaving her employ a couple of months after me during which time I had done most of the planning, bookings, hiring and packing, both house and travel stuff. So come the 26th October 2007 it was time for the off. What an adventure, what an opportunity to spend so much time together and the added bonus of the boys and Phoenix coming out to join us for Xmas in New Zealand. Use this website to read the diaries, see something of the planning that went into a gap year, study the timeline and most of all feast your eyes on all the supporting pictures, slideshows and videos with commentary.

Note now redundant (Dec21) I have kept the original website pages created on return from the gap year but by implication technology-wise they look and feel a bit old and clunky but you can get to them if you wish through the "go to oldschool" buttons where appropriate, many thanks for looking, maybe it will give you inspiration to undertake your own gap year, we reflect upon our fab times often even now!

Note there is a PDF download captured of the "old school pages" instead Dec21 should you so wish, thanks for looking

our gap year 2007-8 with very original intro image
our gap year 2007-8 with very original intro image

Headline images for each place visited

summary of our gap year in pictures and words
summary of our gap year in pictures and words

this is what our old Moonfruit HOLIDAY2007-8 website looked like pre dec21, old HOME page image
this is what our old Moonfruit HOLIDAY2007-8 website looked like pre dec21

GAP YEAR TRANSPORTATION : Below is the detailed summary of our round the world travels in 2007-8, where we travelled on trains, boats and planes and a whole lot more for 10½ months through America, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore & Hong Kong - starting and ending at Heathrow interestingly our Round The World (RTW) ticket said we started and arrived at Heathrow Terminal 1,but by the time we returned Heathrow had been reorganised and we came back to the now infamous Terminal 3 (T3 Tears as it is known in our family)

gap year transportation image
gap year transportation image

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Recap Videos of 2007-8 HOLIDAY

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Postcards & Letters Home

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Pre Travel

These words from 2007/8 were written before we left when we constructed the old photo website, which we used on our travels to let people back home know what we were doing or possibly more importantly that we were still alive. A few pictures and details were added pre-travel to show what we expected and had planned to do. The reality as always was probably slightly different but the big picture in the plan we fundamentally achieved and we are very proud of that fact! (Note our original words written on our travels are in ITALICS ;) ) You will see them at the start of each page. They were culled from our old Graphicorp website. NOTE: it was Polish railway workers who rented our house, we paid A$31 each for a 6 month Australian Visa and that Samoa has since swapped to the other side of the international date line, which makes travelling from Fiji to Samoa to Tonga, which we did a whole lot easier. “where did we lose that day?”

We leave on the 26/10/2007!!!! A few things as we prepare for our GREAT ADVENTURE. It has been interesting packing, getting lodgers (we now have a bunch of Austrian engineers) and generally booking the trip. In between we have been visiting / saying our goodbyes to various friends and relatives (you may be in the rogues gallery here!!!) we will miss you all but remember a year isn't that long and technology (one of Keef's favourite words) will keep us in touch. It just ain't like Vasco De Gama's day these days....Bon Voyage, and hopefully enjoy the site All overall feedback on this site should be directed to keef.hellinger@ntlworld.com Note: You can leave ratings against any photo, we would love to see them UPDATE 2020 You can no longer do this

Pre travel we had both a time difference chart and currency converters

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USA - California, Los Angeles & San Jose / Morgan Hills

NOTE all words in ITALICS were either written on the trip or before we left (labelled HISTORY) Cali-Forn-I-A here we come UPDATE 31/10/2007 Now left U S of A Arrived safely in Morgan Hill, CA. It's ace!!! Comms: both phones don't work but eMail OK Visited Monterey, Carmel & Big Sur with S&T along the fabulous Californian Highway 1, now one of our New Wonders of the modern world Went for a walk in the Santa Monica County Park and ate really, really well... Went up to the Henry Coe State Park on the back of Morgan Hill (wow, xclent)..Alas have to leave 31st Flight back to LAX, then on AirNZ to Fiji 2350 HIGHLIGHTS Seeing Sherree and Trung again, Monteray & Big Sur LOWLIGHTS None HISTORY Things are starting to shape up. We are staying with my Cousin Sherree and her husband Trung for 4 days and gonna see the Beach Boys coast. Big Sur, Monterey etc. Flight Delta Airlines 7772 LAX to SJC We will be staying in Morgan Hill at the bottom end of Santa Clara County 27/10-31/10 .... "Whatever"...."Awesome"!!! California is a lovely place and the coast along highway 1 truly spectacular. Some of those views will live in the memory forever and images of fields of pumkins, wow! Summary: USA 7 days , Day 1-7, 26/10/2007 - 1/11/2007 TIMELINE See Los Angeles and San Jose for diary write ups, thanks EXTRA INFORMATION From our travels, our Holidays, The Gap Year,USA 26 Oct-1 Nov 2007 - California, Los Angeles & San Jose, with family, video now broken into 2 parts in nov2020 ,morgan hills, Monterey, highway 1, carmel, san fransisco images, Californian state parks, santa clara county, leroy anderson lake, reservoir, fishing, quicksilver mercury mine, walks, snakes, henry w coe state park, outside loos, eagles, bald headed, kingfishers, birds & plants, candlestick park, cannery row, steinbeck, clam chowder, rocky creek bridge, sunsets, the big sur, sister hazel, pacific ocean, humming birds, Harley d’s, spindrift inn, jacuzzi’s, gazebos, Travelodge , lax, airports, bush fires, pelicans, bush turkeys, sunset restaurants, compulsory tips, cousins, pumpkins, Halloween, seals, sea otters, harbours, whale watching trips, marinas, arts and crafts market, museums, sardines, garden centres, wild life, town squares, panorama, tranquil, sheep, Japanese food, grits, brekkie out, wharfs, fun times catching up, sherree & trung’s hospitality, big tick

NOTE Diary days 1-7

out for a day trip with sherree & trung, nice times, californian coast
out for a day trip with sherree & trung, nice times

the talkies appears under both usa and fiji

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INTRODUCTION to the wonderful Pacific Islands.

From our travels, Pacific Islands Overall, 1 Nov-10 Dec 2007,featuring Fiji, Western Samoa, Tonga, such fun, travel to many parts on numerous islands,including 250 images being a summary of the much larger individual islands video now broken into 5 parts in nov2020, , covering plus a whole lot more the following,Savaii, aggie grey, apia, savusavu, atata island, alofaaga blowholes, my tongan driving license issued by the king (smile), captain james cook, sewaka platform, airports, harbours, town, tropical flowers, markets, music, outriggers hotel, insel fehrman hotel, vatu the dog, buses, ferries, auala harbour, salealonga, bougainvillea, boxing, fishing, breadfruit, pelehake, tongatapu main tongan island, nadi, cocktails, coconuts, cruise ships, cyclone daman, earthquakes, Richter scale 8.2, fale shook, nuku’alofa, traditional dancing, museums, cannibalism, hibiscus, local beers, water salination stations, festivals, carnivals, hot springs, Houma, tonga 5th most corrupt nation on earth signs, international dateline hotel, jean-michel cousteaux resort,kaati-ni, vunu road, kava, halafuolafa beach, upolu, seabreezes resort,banyan trees, 3 sisters café, labasa, sugar cane, lorries, conflicts, rocks, princess tui (yuk!), vailima, Robert Louis Stevenson, lovo meals, taro, kings palaces, lava rocks, garlands, vanua levu, miss pacific islands competition, maota, mapu'a 'a vaea blowholes, mongoose, urata, sopu, ports, orchids, pinapples, mangoes, guava, banana bread, samosas (best in the world), paradise cove, cross island road, outriggers boats & hotel, motootua, Savaii lagoon beach resort, pigs, restaurants, Roy & Lisa, music, black rose, roseiloa, peter the keyboard player, royal sunset island resort, rugby, leper colonies (sad!),strelitzia, bird of paradise,princesses & kings 7 palaces,traditional dress, straw skirting, viaola,waterfalls, xmas greetings 2007, coral quays, reefs

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NOTE all words in ITALICS were either written on the trip or before


Bula, Bula

UPDATE 13/11/2007 Now left the lovely Vanua Levu

We took the bi-plane Sun Pacific flight FJ105/106 from the main island (Vito Levu) to Savusavu on the southern coast of the second island (Vanua Levu) where we stayed in Sekawa Beach Cottages for 12 days (2/11-13/11/2007) Excellent local Fijian beer and we had 2 sessions on the grog, 'mind expanding' local Kava.... Juicy in the Sky with Diamonds..with Roy & Lisa (our hosts)...comes from a pepper plant root which is poundered to a powder which is rinsed in a muslin bag with water into a trad wooden bowl with 3 legs . Although 'ceremony' is common to all South Pacific Islands the bowls are different Contact phone was 011-679-822-0460 and Anne's mobile worked only for Text 2 Wifi Internet cafes in Savasavu Hired car for 3 days Went to Labasa (capital....Very Indian) , Jean Michel Cousteau (JMC) Dive resort and part of the Hibiscus highway. Rained a fair bit but managed 3 swims.

HIGHLIGHTS Roy & Lisa's company, Biplane flight (absolutely the best views ever), Tropical fruit, Trip to Vanda & Tukai's children's schools, Savusavu bay , Sugarcane Express, Banana cake and samosas at Nadi Airport

LOWLIGHTS None although JMC a little overated even if it is in the 1000 places to see before you die

My most vivid memories are of those clear blue skies, humidity, the rattle of thunder, greenery, fresh fruit delivered daily by Roy & Lisa, Fijian music especially Black Rose (Rosiloa) who we still listen to today and the lovely view from our balcony.

Summary: FIJI 12 days , Day 8-19, 2/11/2007-13/11/2007

keef near our Sewaka Beach Cottage, Near Savusavu, Venua Levu, Fiji, mountains, sea and tropical plants
keef near our Sewaka Beach Cottage, Near Savusavu, Venua Levu, Fiji

Days 8-19 of the diary for Fiji stay

flight views from from nadi, vitu levu to savusavu, venua levu, fiji
from nadi, vitu levu to savusavu, venua levu, fiji

map of vaua levu, 2nd island where most of our stay was on Fiji
map of vaua levu, 2nd island where most of our stay was on Fiji

image of fijian trad meal, lovo, special night out in savusavu, had to try it, cooked underground
special night out in savusavu, had to try it, cooked underground

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Day 19 to 34 in the diary

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip.

Talofa Lava Folks!

Western Samoa not American Samoa for us.......

UPDATE 28/11/2007 Now left Samoa Alas!!!

Final pictures for Samoa posted We are sad to leave but 15 days of this heat 90+ at night and humid, boy humid...is taking its toll We stayed 1 night on Upolu in the 1848 (that old?) Princess Tui Inn in Apai (13th) We had booked 2 but it was bad so stayed 2nd day in Insel Fehrman hotel (note previous big German influence in people and architecture) where we had lunch (if only) with the Ms South Pacific pageant, then we hired a car for 15 days and went by ferry to Savaii where we stay in the Savaii Lagoon Resort, Beach fale (idyllic). This was a beachfront cottage with its own private beach lagoon with snorkelling on the doorstep plus swimming with turtles 15mins away. 10 nights in paradise and a chance to tick off two of the top1000 things to do before you die! (RLStevenson House on Upolu, (ace) , Hotel Safua Savaii (crap). Take a look at Savaii Lagoon resort via your web browser to get an idea (2021 I unlinked it as the site is still not secure)....Then we came back to the main Island of Upolu to the Outrigger hotel for another few days and saw the whole of that island. The hire car enabled us to travel around all of Savaii & Upolu, we have seen more of it than most Samoans now (alas...they can't afford to travel) Because of the international dateline on our travels we have had no 1/11, 2 13/11's and only a smidgen of the 28/11. Our 16.5 hour epic at Falealo International Airport (45 mins from the capital Apia pronounced 'R-PEA-A') was a delight in how to get no sleep The Samoans sure know how to treat a family members arrival at the airport as a party...

HIGHLIGHTS Savaii Beach, Lava flow and blow holes, Ms Samoa, Villages and their gardens (fine if not immaculate) and Robert Louis Stevensons House

LOWLIGHTS Long wait at Apia airport in the heat & humidity for a 1hr flight to Tonga

Walking outside our beach fale for a private dip in the sea lives on as well as the pineapples growing there and the short hop to the restuarant next door for freshly caught fish with chips, yummy! oh and the taxi driver who ripped us off, git! can i say that, guess i just have, trying to drive us to the other side of the island to a hotel when insel fehrman apia was just down the road, oh and hot being able to close the window in our red jeep, luckily no tropical downpour at that time.

Summary: SAMOA 16 days , Day 19-34, 13/11/2007-28/11/2007

beauty contest at the insel fermanah hotel
beauty contest at the insel fermanah hotel

map of western samoa, american samoa we did not visit
map of western samoa, american samoa we did not visit

trad costume, on the way to work, samoan lady , broom, brolly, wrap
trad costume, on the way to work, samoa

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TONGA - Tongatapu Island & Atata Island

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip.

The Friendly Isles - Malo e lelei

UPDATE 10/12/2007 We have now left Tonga. Grim last day with cyclone and quake, plus we saw on the news from NZ some sort of coup/riot, we are investigating. Anyhow even though we enjoyed it pleased to have got out. Last day at 8.45pm house, tables and everything shook. seems to have been a quake nearby, deep underground , no tsunami warning, storms raging. Cyclone Daman. But apart from that things we did were,visted Atata , idyllic desert island, hired a car on the mainland (Tongatapu) for 3 days and leisurely went round everything over 2 days (i guess you could do it in a 1/2 day) and on the 3rd day went to the Cultural centre. Saw trad outrigger boat, Houma Blowholes (ace), National Holiday procession for King Tupou 1st on 4/12, village traditional dancing and a cultural dance eve at the International Dateline Hotel. Tonga is slightly different from Fiji and Samoa....All the ladies wear what appear to be mats over their skirts, and sometimes the chaps as well. Plus visible signs of protest against goverment in the streets. Great inequality , see some of our pictures! In Nuku'alofa town we saw the Kings Palace, had lunch in the 2 Sisters (often, its ace!) and Robinas Express cafe. She is half tongan/ quarter japanese and a quarter german and is gr8 (forceful business lady with 'high' connections) generally the town is not that inspiring but the market excellent

HIGHLIGHTS Atata Island, Blowholes, 2 Sisters restaurant and village dancing

LOWLIGHTS cockroach, rat, tongan tummy, dead sea krate (the worlds deadliest snake) on atata beach, cyclone daman & earthquake

HISTORY Boy most of the reviews we have read of Tonga denegrade its infrastructure and believe it or not their people...bad stuff...we keep an open mind and are really looking forward to it....We will be staying at Nukuma'anu cottages, Vuna Road Sopu (check it out on Google Maps below, near the Black Pearl appartments, it may well be closed 2020 but there is still an internet listing stating " Malo e lelei and welcome to Nukuma’anu Cottages. Ideal for a holiday getaway or business trip, Nukuma’anu provides four self contained cottages, just minutes from downtown Nuku’alofa. Children are welcome. Fully air-conditioned, oceanfront views and free parking, all surrounded by the privacy of a beautiful lush tropical garden and with our friendly & helpful staff, Nukuma’anu is perfect for the discerning traveller" ) on Tongatapu (the main southernmost group of islands) in the Executive fale cos guess what they have 24*7 internet....no water (joke)....now thats not bad for reports of a decaying infrastructure...more when we arrive. We are there 11 nights 29/11 to 10/12 ...have just found Nov is close of parliament and last year at this time there was civil unrest, fires and looting....Oh dear, let's hope no repeat this year....

Remember the Fale, Robina, Nuku'alofa market - coconut drinks, Black Rose (Rosiloa) album bought in market, New Eagles album downloaded, outsized washing,tonga's stonehenge,Captain Cook monument, cockroaches, earthquake & cyclone and getting out alive.

Summary: TONGA 11 days , Day 35-45, 29/11/2007 - 10/12/2007

blowholes on the western side of tongatapu, the main island
blowholes on the western side of tongatapu, the main island

map of tonga to help you find places mentioned
map of tonga to help you find places mentioned

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NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip.

New Zealand

HISTORY Arrive 10/12/2007 for 4 months including Xmas & New Year on the beach initially staying in the Greenlane Motel 7 nights 10/12/2007 onwards whilst we select a camper van. The best we have seen so far is a 4 berth Maui with a buy-back option on it....either you sell it privately or they take it back at a reduced price when we arrive in Christchurch

North Island

HIGHLIGHTS Too many but if we are forced to limit them Having the Boys and Phoenix over, Tongarira National Park, Akatarawa rd, Coromandel Peninsular, East Cape oh and trip on Vince & Greg's boat in Auckland Harbour with Phoenix

LOWLIGHTS hardly any but 2 days rain in nearly 2 months, oh and the latest Nick Cage movie

South Island

HIGHLIGHTS Again too many but Milford Sound, Mt Cook Nat Park, Queenstown, Stewart Island, Queen Charlotte Drive, Southern Alps & Glaciers, Our 30th Wedding Anniversary, Dunedin, the Weather (best summer / autumn for 10 years), Paul Henry (journalist) & oh the Poms beating the Blackcaps at Test Cricket

LOWLIGHTS Having to leave and some Kiwi drivers

CONTACT Our Kiwi mobile number was +642102226963

Most remember being with Doug,Craig & Phoenix, Boysenberry, wine, Sav Blanc,Mount Ruepehi,Havelock North, Te Mata, lovely Kiwi people, sunshine,warmth,bubbling hot spings, huka falls jet and a generally great time which meant we just had to go back in 2013. Reviewing the history we didn't buy a motorhome, far to expensive @ £76k and risky re selling it on at the end. We hired cars and bought camping gear instead which we sold onto an english couple at the end of the holiday. They lived just outside Christchurch. The nick cage movie was National Treasure. Best summer exceeded when we returned in 2013. Kiwi drivers are not that bad, no probs in 2013. We love the place even more now having been back for a second time, and now a third in 2017.

Summary: NEW ZEALAND 118 days , Day 46-163, 10/12/2007 - 5/4/2008

image of blenheim gardens, south island, nz
beautiful sunshine on south island, so love blenheim

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Including Auckland, Coromandel Peninsular, Hawkes Bay - Wairoa/Napier/Gisborne, Tongariro Nat. Park, Raglan & the East Cape

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip.

North Island

UPDATE 5/2/2008 We have now left North island. Te Ika-a-Maui (North Island): Weather quite choppy as we left via the Interislander for Picton. Before that we had travelled complete length of Wellington Harbour, Eastbourne to Lyle Bay (by airport) , ace views, read for hours in sunshine. Went to Parliament buildings and art gallery plus saw National Treasure Nick Cage movie (DON'T). Saw start of IRB Rugby Sevens in Wellington Camped 5 nights at Seaview, Wellington. Went to Te Papa Museum and 7's concert Stayed o/night in Greytown, went across 42k single track mountain pass (Akatarawa rd), oh what views! plus car stuck in sand on beach(oops) Camped in Levin and visiting local beaches, went to Uni & Rugby museum Palmerston North!!! Gr8. Stayed at Havelock North, Hawkes Bay wine region outside Hastings for 3 days. Was 32c & humid. Camped at Wairoa and went to Lake Waikaremoana (ace). Travelled down East Cape in drizzle from Hicks bay to Gisborne, some interesting stuff including longest wharf in NZ. Stayed in motel overlooking Hick's bay on the East Cape having travelled from Coromandel down the splendid Pacific Coast highway (mountainous, rugged and remote). Spent 3 days camping on the Coromandel peninsular, ace weather (28c) and scenery, Driving Creek Bush railway a must!!! Chillin day spent mostly doing 'retail therapy' at Slyvia Park Mall. Went out on the harbour on Greg & Vaughan's boat and did some seafishing....gr8 fun. plus we saw World Champs Windsurfing and played crazy golf on sea front! went up the sky tower and to the ice bar (Lenin's downtown) in eve and had sushi/ sashimi. Sad day (11/1), Sir Edmund Hillary (born Orewa NZ, resided Remuera just down the road) died (we have seen his statue and tributes!). been surfing at Raglan and seen Kiwi's (live) at Otorahanga as well as glowworms at Waitomo. Also New Plymouth (west coast) - ideal for Doug & Phoenix who went to Plymouth Uni...surfing, eating and chillin. Spent 7 days camping between Rotarua & Lake Taupo then onto the Tongariro Dual World Heritage National Park (Beyond ace!) Plus spent new year in Finn McCoulls' Irish Bar in Taupo with Boys & Phoenix. Seen and done loads, boys & P did sky diving. We all went on Hukafalls Jet boat (360deg spins - ahhhh!) Nice Xmas day initially on beach surfing the waves, then rain so Xmas dinner inside. Completed working our way around Northlands, via Twin Coasts discovery route ending in Orewa. Swimming with Dolphins, Whangarai Falls , amazingly after the boys arrived they stayed up and we all visited beaches & aquarium. Doug searched in City of Angels for having a UK passport and being born in Wellington (shropshire not NZ ,LAPD!!!!), booked campsites including 'swimming with dolphins' Visited Piha and Karekare beaches (site of Jane Campion's the Piano) on Tasman coast, W.Auckland, Previously Chatted online to Doug on his B'day,plus spent day on St Helier's beach. Harbour cruise, Auckland Botanic Gardens, Orewa, Warksworth and coast from Martin's bay to Sandspit. We have just booked ourselves in for Xmas & Boxing day on the beach in Orewa with Craig, Doug and Phoenix. Take a look at The Waves Website to get an idea....Currently based in Remuera, 5 mins from downtown Auckland Its good to be back in civilisation.

We love the place even more now having been back for a second time in 2013 which was spent in the top half of North island. We remember Remuera, travelling with the boys and Phoenix, under canvas for 55 nights, experts in putting up and taking down a family tent, our Toyota estate, Tongariro, shark poo, boysenberry wine, sheep shearing, Came gates and Old for New Plymouth. We also returned again in 2017.

Summary: NORTH ISLAND 58 days , Day 46-103, 10/12/2007 - 5/2/2008


From our travels, our Holidays, North Island New Zealand, Gap Year 2007-8, 10 Dec-31 Jan, with family, summary of the much larger video now broken into 5 parts in nov2020 , auckland, family visiting, xmas, coromandel, wellington, rotorua, lake taupo, fishing, sky dive, sky tower, fishing with wayne & greg, remuera, the piano, camping, driving creek railway, Dargaville, baileys beach, mangonui, botanic gardens Auckland, marina, harbour, skytower, Papamoa beach, te papa, orwea, ohope, coalville, discos and thai birthday meal,are te uri, bottle nose dolphins, new Plymouth, sheep shearing, boysenberry wine, icecream, taupo, marina, aquarium, waves motel,the mad butcher, te kuiti, sheep, karekare, huraru falls, golden springs, waiwere, whangarai falls,raglan, surfing, hi di hi, matakohe, kauri museum, puhoi, Palliser bay, sky diving, tree lookouts, hastings, greenlane motel, waihi beach, hastings, hobbits, wairoa, strange bbqs,interisland ferry, northlands, kiwi fruit, gorges, shark poo, missing brulee, tairua, mount paka, manawatu gorge, paihai, Waitangi treaty, blue lakes, Tongariro, whakapapa village, mount doom, lower tama lakes, skydiving, napier, Gisborne, Opotiki, Wanganui, pohutakawa trees and blossom, piha,te marua, te mata, tuhirangi rugby, lake onoke, akatarawa road views & smells, wai-o-tapu geothermal wonderland, waipu cove, chicken and hen islands, waitekeri ranges, Westpac stadium wellington

North Island, The Talkies i.e with speech

Message home to Mum from North Island NZ, postcards via that link in the Menu

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Including Christchurch (Before the Quake), Akaroa, Milford & Doubtful Sounds, Mount Cook & Queen Charlotte Sound via Interisland Ferry

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip. South Island UPDATE 5/4/2008 We have now left the 'Shaky Isles' Finished with 4 days in Christchurch. This included Hagley Park, Botanic gardens, City Centre Art gallery, Cathederal, beaches and Gondola. Sold campgear via Trade Me to Andy & Family, Rangiora. Asburton, visited Peel Forest / Mt Hutt and the Big Tree Timaru for 3 days, nice motel / restuarant..Aspen on Kings! Went to the SUPERB Mt Cook Nat Park Camped at Lake Benmore for 3 days (with own en-suite ....'bloody luxury' Camped in Oamaru (home of the penguins) for 4 days Dunedin (Celtic for Edinburgh, and yes it does have a Princes St & a Fringe) for 3 days Gr8 City Take a look at our baby royal albatross @ the Webcam Website Stayed o/night in Balclutha. Drove thru a v hot Central Otago (32c) upto Alexandra and back out. Visited the Catlins Awesome!! 4 days in Invercargill and 2 on Stewart Island We really liked SI Went to Bluff Visited gr8 museum with Henry the Tuatara@ Invercargill. Went to Milford Sound (best yet!) wet in morning/ sun in afternoon, best way to see it. We took 350 pictures, shows it was ACE!!! Camped in Te Anau (Fjordland Nat Park), for 4 days. Visited Doubtful Sound Camped in Queenstown (Shotover gorge) for 4 nights. Went on a 4WD offroad LOTRs tour (ace!) Visited Arrowtown, the great road to Glenorchy and went up gondola to the home of tandem parscending, luge, heli bike and bungy (Wow we did none of these dangerous sports!)Travelled thru the Haast pass and thru glorious Glacier Lakes in Mt Aspiring Nat Park. Stayed in Haast overnight having seen the wonderful Glaciers & Lake Matheson. Travelled thru a very wet Arthurs Pass (ace with imagination!) and spent 2 days in Hokitika on West Coast. Camped for 4 days at Akaroa, on Bank's peninsular. 30th Wedding Anniversary, really enjoyed the Tranzalpine train & our drunken meal in the eve!!! sightseeing in Christchurch (best city in NZ for me!). 5th ODI Blackcaps Vs England in Christchurch , we would have won if rain and Duckworth Lewis didnt intervene! Visited Oxford via scenic highway 72, stayed in Kaiapoa. Went from St Arnaud to Lake Rotarua (ace) and then via SH67 down to Springs Junction and across Lewis pass (again) to Amberley. Visited Marlborough wine region, Blenheim stayed in St Arnaud (ski area) near the oh-so-lovely Lake Roto-Iti. We were in a log cabin which Annie loved. Spent 3 days camping in Kaikoura . Went whale watching and saw sperm whale, hector dolphin (rare), albatross and NZ furry seals Saw Atonement in 1930's hall (with Intermission), thought film had broken! Went to Reefton Rodeo, ace! Then on thru Lewis pass to Hamner Springs. It has been wet, wet , wet spent night in 'electric light' motel in Reefton. Plus 2nd night (so far) in car after mega electrical storm. Camped in Greymouth. Saw Pancake rocks and SH6 to Greymouth - better in our opinion than 12 Apostles and gr8 ocean rd. Plus stayed o/night in Westport and then drove to Kamerea, fun area. Very wet day and night again, such bad electrical storm we had to sleep in car for 2 hrs at Pakawua. Drove to Westport via Buller river gorge (wet but superb!) 2.5 in of rain overnight in Pakewua, needed - Went on Farewell Spit Eco Tour, 6.5 hrs across sand to farest north on South Island west coast. Camping at Pawawau beach for 3 days. Caught 2 salmon on Anatoki river and ate them Visited the Abel Tasman national Park via a 5&1/2 hr boat trip in hot sunshine, spectacular Arrived via ferry, choppy in Cook Straights but gr8 views in Queen Charlotte Sound. Nelson (which we both liked) where we saw WOW (World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars) Amazingly different and classy!!! Take a look yourself @ The WOW Website to get an idea....Anne has the 2006 official programme which we will bring back with us but it has IPR so we cannot reproduce here There was also a spin off exhibition in Christchurch based on wearable flowers The Jenny Gillies Website I haven't yet made reference to the wonderful Dunedin which we both really liked and the lovely little penguins, a magical moment. Summary: SOUTH ISLAND 58 days , Day 103-163, 5/2/2008 - 5/4/2008, incl 2 on Stewart Island