Some thoughts from The South end of the North Island of New Zealand. First of all, for heaven's sake, it's pretty hard to drive here. Besides being on the "other" side of the road, everything is so beautiful as to constitute a major distraction. Sheesh!
One big upside was that Andy got to busk at the Happy Hippy iced cream shop at the Flat White Cafe and made a few bucks, plus free coffee and iced cream so that really made it a net win. Willy, the proprietress, was a delight. Check her out on Facebook at Bohemia Recycled Treasures. She does great henna art and made me a nice sign for my guitar case. This sign too!
The redwood forest, was breathtaking. I'm SO glad they let that be planted in 1910. You'd never get away with that now with the biosecurity laws here. No bringing in non-native species.
polynesian spa and hot springs was welcome after a long hike. The public pools and spas were delightful as well. The trip through Taupo was broken up by the Waiotapu volcanic wonderland and Huka Falls. We didn't stay in Taupo since there wasn't much to do that wasn't "extreme sport" related.
Mt Doom) and down into the amazingly sunny and beautiful Wanganui river region. See the first picture above. In fact, MANY more pictures at our instagrams HERE and HERE.
A day in Wanganui was a delightful day indeed. The black sandy beach was rough and tumble but there were many nice restaurants in town and we were there during a steam/vintage fest so there were old cars and steam engines and costumes and bands and it was quite fun to see how the kiwis did a festival. Even included a stand with "American" hot dogs.