Today we said goodbye to Auckland and picked up our rental to drive to Paihia in the north. The beautiful Bay Of Islands.
We were collected at the hotel by Europecar and taken to sign our rental agreement and pick up our vehicle.
The car was nice and practically brand new with only about 4,000 kilometers on it. Built in sat nav and all the amenities.
We loaded up and pulled out and before we had gotten too far I noticed the oil light was on. We drove back to the rental place and the manager suggested topping off the oil and I suggested that driving off into the remote wilds in a car that had low oil combined with low mileage didn’t fill me with confidence so they swapped cars for us. It was the least they could do.
The new car was not as new, but was a Mitsubishi Outlander with very low mileage.
I like this vehicle much more that the precious one so I am quite happy now.
We packed up the replacement and drove off.
The weather was good and we made good time on our 140 mile journey to Paihia. After clearing the city we pulled off at a service station to get some road snacks and so I could start wiring the car to charge our various devices like iPhones, iPads, the GoPro and my spare camera batteries.
The drive was fantastic and the scenery was spectacular. Sadly, there was not an abundance of places to pull of and photograph the views. I especially enjoyed the windy mountain roads that climbed and dove through the mountains. Cynthia, on the other hand, was not so thrilled. Especially after seeing the warning signs.
Before arriving in Paihia we stopped to view and photograph the Whangarei Falls.
After that we drove on to Paihia and checked into our hotel. Once that was done we went exploring and found some dinner.
I have to say, Paihia is a beautiful town and we are happy to be here. Tomorrow we explore the area in greater detail.
We woke up around 4 am due to the jet lag. Hopefully by tomorrow we will have our sleep cycles under control.
On this day we were scheduled to spend it in Auckland City. Frankly, Auckland is not all that exciting. It’s much like any other big city and we’ve seen plenty of big cities. As we pondered our options Cynthia found a brochure in our literature that talked about Waiheke Island which is only a 40 minute ferry ride from the harbor here in Auckland. We thought we would give it a go and off we went.
Buying tickets for the ferry we spotted (and Cynthia photographed) this sign.
They are very protective of the island and don’t want any pests carried over. Cynthia pointed out that if she had any skinks hidden in her bag they came from New Zealand and not from home.
We boarded the ferry, skink free, and before we knew it, we were at Waiheke.
The sky was overcast but we didn’t let that stop us from renting a car and heading off to explore.
Right off the bat, we were overjoyed with our decision. The island is relatively small and filled with twisty, turny roads. Each turn brought us to something amazing. Beaches, hidden coves, hills and valleys…
Cynthia was happy to see her first sheep of the journey and she captured this wonderful image of two lambs.
We had a great time exploring the island. Though small, it was sometimes confusing and we did get a little lost…
(photo by Cynthia)
But we didn’t mind because we knew it was a small island and we’d eventually get back on track.
We wrapped up the journey at a lovely little restaurant with a deck that looked out over one of the many bays on the island. And toward the end the sun even peeked out and gave us a glimpse of the the true beauty of the island
The restaurant also featured some rather fearless seagulls which swarmed the table as soon as we got up to leave and devoured all of our scraps.
While waiting on the ferry to go back to the mainland I did manage to drop and smash my iPhone. Fortunately there was a repair shop near the hotel and I was back up and running in less than an hour after returning back to base.
We took some time and got some rest before heading out to dinner and going to the top of the Sky Tower which towers some 1076 feet over the city and offers some amazing views of Auckland.
It was pretty cool to see, but we didn’t stay long as we are pretty tired and have a big day tomorrow as we head off to the Bay Of Islands in the north.
We made it to Auckland. The flights were uneventful for the most part. The first leg from Houston to Los Angeles was delayed by about 30 minutes which was not a real problem as we had plenty of time before the flight from Los Angeles to Auckland.
We arrived in Auckland quite early, but the hotel allowed us to check in right away which is always a huge bonus, especially after over 20 hours of travel time.
We did get some sleep on the plane so were were not totally wiped out when we arrived, but we’re still tired and taking it easy today.
New Zealand here we come! 23 days and almost 3,000 miles of new adventures as we drive the north and the south islands.
After the first phase of restoration on the Cutlass I took a small break. The Cutlass was drivable and running great, but there was a the matter of an oil leak in the rear main seal.
Repairing it meant pulling the engine. It was suggested by my mechanic that if I was going to do this I might as well replace the timing chain. The summer heat was not conducive to driving so before long I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and get the main seal replaced.
While the engine was out I was talked into a paint job and some Hooker performance headers. Since the engine was out I only paid for the parts, which wasn’t all that expensive.
I have to say, the GM 455 never looked better.
Cynthia was given a recipe for honey glazed, bacon wrapped pork loin. It was easy to make and it came out very well. I thought it might be a little disgusting, but it ended up being very tender and flavorful
Cynthia and I went outside Friday evening and we heard a very loud, very distinctive squawk coming from the neighbor’s tree. After a minute a green Quaker Parrot flew out and landed in another tree. I tried to coax him down, but he was very timid. After I started to walk away he flew out of the tree and landed on my shoulder. Obviously this is someone’s pet. Cynthia has named him Murphy.