Sunday 30 Dec
A very wet day. We got up late then went to downtown Pahia and walked around the main area of town. Had lunch and coffee in town, then strolled around the Sunday Craft Markets, and spoke to a couple of people who were off the cruise ship (America Hollandia) anchored in the harbour. Made a new friend, Ross, at the place we are staying. I was feeling a little off-colour after lunch so had an afternoon nap.
Monday 31 Dec
A beautiful day! We drove over to Russell via a gravel road, and did the Kauri Grove walk, which was only short but still quite enjoyable, as the Kauri trees are majestic.
We thoroughly enjoyed Russell in 2005, so wandered around this very historic village again, going up to Flagstaff Hill, out to the heads, and across to Long Beach on the east side for lunch.
This was away from the hub-bub of the village, and very quiet and peaceful. People were surfing and fishing. We drove south to Whangerei, and checked in to our motel (Kensington)..although we were a bit hesitant about our choice when we discovered the tavern just at the back! Whangerei Quarry Gardens were supposed to be very good, so we walked there, and were impressed with the amount of work that volunteers have put in to making these gardens very pleasant. There are two waterfalls, a lake, and lots of interesting feature areas.
Luckily the Tavern did not seem to be hosting a New Year's event so all was quiet on the Western Front! There was a fair bit of emergency vehicle activity up and down the street early, and someone let off their fireworks early, but eventually we heard the main fireworks and wished each other a 'Happy New Year'.
Tuesday 1 Jan
I had a great sleep, and Kensington was the best place we had for a one-night stay. We drove south to Waipu Cave.
Our information was scant, but the map got us to the correct place. This would be a great place to camp, with a large grassy area and a toilet and shower. We were lucky we arrived early, as lots of people seemed to also think this was a great place to visit on this lovely holiday. This cave really was impressive. The entrance was large, and very muddy and slippery, but we took off our shoes and paddled in to the main cavern, where there was a beautiful glow-worm display, along with many stalactites and stalagmites.