17 February 2017

NEW ZEALAND: North Island - Auckland to Paihai

Location: Paihia, New Zealand
Kia Ora ............ Be Well



Our longest flight; 9 hours 27 minutes. Also our nicest; Air New Zealand Rocks ... premium economy class, very comfortable seating, probably the highest quality food and wine we've had on any flight. 

We'll only be in Auckland long enough to catch up somewhat, on jet lag (there's a +18 hour total time difference from EST > NZDT) and to pick up a rental car. We'll return here at the end of our trip for a couple of nights and tour the city then.


Driving a right-hand drive car on the left side of the road is ... hmmm 'interesting'. Stay Left!

From a Government Website: 
' In New Zealand, you must drive on the left-hand side of the road. If you don't, there's a strong chance, you could be involved in a head-on collision. '

Some of the roadways here are quite narrow, but staying left is not that difficult. What's difficult, is keeping the drivers side of the car, close enough to the roads center-line, so as not to wander so far left that you 'hit a curb' or 'parked car'. I've only hit one so far ... a curb, not a parked car!

New Zealanders are courteous drivers

... compared to drivers in Spain and Portugal that is. For the most part, the driving here is much less agressive. Drivers obey the rules, use signals, don't treat round-abouts as free-for-alls and only use their horns if they have to.

Here's A MAP

... to orient yourself.

It shows part of the north easterly coastline of the North Island. The red line is our driving route, the blue lines are our water routes and the small red dots are a couple of the places we've stayed so far; Paihai and Tutukaka

Pron. [pie-HEE-uh]

Paihai is a vacation beach town.

All the water sports are here; there are helicopter tours, deep-sea fishing, shuttles to hiking and backpacking trails, cultural and historical tours and a good restaurant scene.


Signed on for a catamaran day trip with Great Sights Boat Charters. We sailed past several of the islands in this 144 island archipelago and the seas cooperated just enough that we were able to reach Motukokake (Hole in the Rock) at the northern extremity of Bay of Islands. Saw Bottle-nosed Dolphins along the way.

We've had a lot of rain in New Zealand so far; nice to get some clearing. A highlight of this day, was our extended stay at Urupukapuka Island in Otehei Bay where we hiked to the high points for some terrific views.  

We ended the day with a lunch stop in Russell. Formerly known as Kororāreka, this was the first permanent European settlement and sea port in New Zealand, was briefly its first capital and is considered the birthplace of the nation.

Note the scale of the Morton Bay Fig tree (look really close to see Wry standing at the base).

Other-Handed Stuff & Unusual Behaviour

Drivers: sit on the right
Vehicle Controls: many standard functions (but not all) are located on the opposite side of the steering column
Roadways: are built for driving on the left
Table Settings: primary setting is to the right and untensils are positioned in a different order out from the plate, the cutting edge of the knife still faces into the plate
Walking: out of courtesy New Zealanders stay left when passing on paths or sidewalks
In Russell: asked to pay bill before getting food and no service was provided, place operates like a takeout but looks like a restaurant, tip then requested - not sure what for, tip not given?  BTW, tipping is very rare, tip only for very exceptional service in NZ and then only tip a maximum of 10%.
The Locals: often go barefoot everywhere, but many wear flipflops (not sandals) 

Follow us by opening TRAVEL MAP 2016/2017 on the right sidebar ([view larger], zoom +/-, pan around).   
Click on any photo (some stock) in this post to launch a slideshow gallery of all the photos. 
Wikipedia provides some content. 

Crusty ...

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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty