Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri

New Zealand Waterfalls

Paul here.

During our last tour of New Zealand we hardly saw any waterfalls apart from the ones in Milford Sound. We sure are making up for it this trip.

So far we’ve seen three really impressive ones – Whangarai Falls, Rainbow Falls in Kerikeri, and Haruru Falls near Paihia.

We’ve been pretty lucky​ for viewing as we are touring just after the remnants of Cyclone Debbie passed through. This has badly affected some areas in New Zealand, but has filled the rivers up.

It would be pretty hard to pick a favourite waterfall so far. All are quite different and appeal in different ways.

Click on any of the smaller photos for a bigger view.

Whangarei Falls

Whangarei Falls

Whangarai Falls

Whangarai Falls

Haruru Falls

Haruru Falls

Whangarei Falls

Rain Delayed Play

Anne here…

Okay, so our holiday got slightly put on hold for a day and a half. But there was also widespread flooding and general chaos so our thoughts are with the local inhabitants who were affected more than us.

Whangarei Town Basin

Whangarei Town Basin

The photo here is Whangarei Town Basin in the rain. We coped by having coffee and cake. It’s a hard life being on holiday. Lol.

The up side of the rain was that Whangarei waterfall (at the top of this post) was totally spectacular. It’s right on the edge of the town and literally two minutes walk from the car park. But it is one of the most dramatic waterfalls I have ever seen. I was amazed and slightly mesmerised by it.

Craters of the Moon, Taupo


Easter Monday – 21st April

Anne here . . .

So we are back on the tourist trail again. In fact we are on the “Thermal Explorer Highway” from Napier to Taupo. Fantastic weather which is lucky as the scenery is unexpectedly awesome and breathtaking. Just as splendiferous as anything in the South Island, and that was totally awesome.

Today is a serious competitor for the title of “best day so far . . .”

The scenery that we passed through was just awesome, high, high hills with the steepest sides that you have ever seen, usually covered by trees, and plunging into deep ravines. Oohs and aahs from me every few minutes. Just the last few miles into Taupo were flatter, farming plains.

Then Lake Taupo itself. I instantly fell in love with the Lake. It is just beautiful, a deep blue colour with mountains all around and lots of people just enjoying themselves.

Huka Falls

Huka Falls

Then we meandered off to Huka Falls, not quite sure what to expect but they were awesome. Sorry, I am running out of superlatives. Literally ice blue water rushing through the narrowest of gorges. It is not the height of the falls that is so impressive but the speed and volume of the water and the piercing ice white and blue colour. It is popular but there are several excellent viewing points.

An aside: I love the way that New Zealanders don’t charge for car parking at tourist sites and often don’t charge an entrance fee for natural wonders, maybe just a donations box. We have always been happy to donate willingly.

Finally we stopped at “Craters of the Moon”. Definitely worth adding a geothermal boardwalk to your “things to do before I die bucket list”. Although there is no big hype here, in fact it is quite understated. It is run by a charitable trust and is a 45 minute boardwalk around loads of craters and holes in the ground that are producing geothermal steam. It is totally eerie but at the same time awesome to see all these wisps, puffs, clouds and columns of hot steam coming out of gorse and bracken covered ground. We were fascinated, as were all the other tourists.

The only downside of the last few days is that I seem to be deliciously tasty to mosquitos unlike Paul. Only DEET jungle formula seems to deter them!

Ocean Beach

Hawkes Bay

Friday 18th April to Sunday 20th April – the Easter weekend

Anne here . . . Sorry we were so busy having a fantastic time with our relatives in the Hawkes Bay Area that we didn’t have time to blog.

The first day or so we were there, a tropical storm came through most of New Zealand and the weather was poor but then thankfully normal weather returned and Hawkes Bay was a lot warmer and more tropical than we expected. By Easter Sunday we needed high factor suncream – yippee.

Some of our highlights were:

– Napier – rebuilt in the Art Deco style after a devastating earthquake in 1931. As well as lovely buildings and Art Deco signs, there were loads of classic old cars. Very stylish.

– Fantastic views of Hawkes Bay from Bluff Cliff in Napier including logs waiting to be exported.

– Te Mata peak near Havelock North – breathtaking views from the top of vineyards, wineries, fruit orchards and a figgery, we went up on three occasions we liked it so much.

– Ocean Beach – rolling Pacific white foamy waves onto soft sand, a safe lagoon for the kids, blue skies, warm/hot sunshine and miles of sandy beach.

– The Keirunga Park Miniature railway trains, there were so many trains and a huge band of train enthusiasts to drive them (all men, funny that). Although one train did have a slight mishap, thankfully not when we were on it and also none of the passengers were seriously hurt.

– Hawkes Bay itself is lovely – wide roads, lots and lots of vineyards and wineries with names I know well, fruit trees, very little traffic and a general feeling that all is right with the world.

It was wonderful beyond words to spend time with all our distant relatives. I wondered whether we were destined never to meet but we have and our lives are very much richer for it. 🙂


Birds of New Zealand

Anne here . . .

Lots of things in New Zealand feel incredibly familiar and yet there are enough differences to remind you that you are definitely on the other side of the world, for example wooden houses. But also as soon as you wake up, the bird song is noticeably different. An early morning reminder that we are away from home.

So on Sunday 13th April, Chris, Belinda and the kids took us to Zealandia Eco-sanctuary in Wellington. Really, really interesting and a great way to become much more familiar with the different types of birds that up until now we had only had random sightings of. Most of the native birds are much larger than ours, some look as though they are too heavy to fly, and some are too heavy to fly. We saw: Tui, Shags, Takahe and Kaka.

Really cool.