Rotorua, Aukland, Paihia

Arrived in Rotorua mid-morning, leaving the afternoon free to go see the geysers. Went to the Whakarewarerare Thermal Park, home of the Pohutu geyser. Also saw some hot mud pools. The whole of Rotorua smells because of all the sulhpur in the air so was quite glad to be leaving the next morning.

Stopped en route to Auckland at Matamata, also known as Hobbiton from the Lord of the Rings. Then carried on to Auckland, which despite only having 1.4m people is the third largest city in the world based on area covered. Saw it all from the top the following day as I went up the skytower, the highest building in the Southern Hemisphere.

The following day, my birthday, caught the bus up to Paihia, the gateway to the Bay of Islands. For the first time ever, had a hot sunny birthday. Spent the afternoon cruising around the islands out as far as the Hole in the Rock, which we sailed through. Stopped at Urupukapuka Island on the way back and climbed a hill to get views out over the whole bay and many of the 144 islands.

Yesterday, took a day trip up to Cape Reinga, one of the most Northerly points of the island. Went up as far as the lighthouse, then left there to go to 90 mile beach (actually only 87km, or 56 miles long). Just before arriving on the beach we stopped at some sand dunes for a spot of sand boarding. Was a lot of fun, depsite flipping off the board twice and eating rather a lot of sand. Then we drove along most of the beach before heading back onto proper roads and driving back to Paihia.

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