“Traveler, your dreams are waiting” is the message with which you are welcomed at the airport in Auckland but the start of the trip to New Zealand has not been the best one ever. When we arrived at the check-in counter at the airport in Sydney we were asked for a return flight out of New Zealand because without one we were not allowed to check in. Because we wanted to stay flexible we have not bought a return ticket before but at this point we were advised to buy a fully refundable ticket and pay only the cancelation fees. We did this and hoped this would be the only impediment in travelling to New Zealand. But boy were we wrong. Once we arrived in Auckland we had to declare if we have any camping and hiking equipment and because we had, we were requested to go to a separate line where our luggage would be inspected. But once we got to this counter a short interview began with questions about what we plan to do in New Zealand and why we have a separate return ticket that we bought only on the day of departure… which I have to admit was kind of strange… After we told the officer about our trip and even offered to show him the papers that we are really returning to our jobs in June he believed our alibi and sent us to the next queue where our camping and hiking equipment was inspected. Because the hiking shoes and the tent were clean we were allowed to keep them, so… happy end of the airport story.
Fortunately from this moment on everything went more than perfect. We went to pick up our rental car and received a free upgrade to a huge brand new Toyota Highlander. By brand new I mean the odometer was showing only 7 (seven) kilometer.
First we decided to visit a region in the northern part of the North Island called Bay Of Islands. Here we decided to take a full day boat tour through the islands and the blue-greenish waters of the bay. The luck struck once again and we won a HOT-SEAT on the boat so one of us travelled for free. For me New Zealand did not have the image of perfect beaches and blue-greenish waters. But take a look at the pictures and see how wrong I was thinking that.
In the northern part we also visited Waitangi where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the Maori and the British. This Treaty is considered the founding document of New Zealand as a nation. At the Treaty Grounds we also watched a performance of Maori and even witnessed a Haka, the traditional Maori war dance which may be familiar to you as it is always performed by the National Rugby Team of New Zealand before their games.
After leaving the northern part of the island we headed for the Coromandel Peninsula which is famous for the Hot Water Beach. This beach is called like that because during the timeframe of 2 hours before and 2 hours after low tide you can go to the beach and dig your own pool which than is filled by hot water from the geothermal springs. The water is so hot that you have to be careful to build it in a place where it can mix with the sea water, otherwise the danger of burns is really high. Being able to sit in a self-made small pool with thermal water right on the beach… how cool(warm) is that???
Continue our journey on the North Island