We've been in New Zealand now for almost four months, from the middle of November to the first of March. The first few months were taken up by getting located, buying a vehicle, catching up with boat maintenance, and saying hello to loads of other cruisers whom we had met coming across the South Pacific. Also, the weather in November and December was quite rainy and cold, which delayed things, especially the boat maintenance.
For the past six weeks we have been on the road exploring the North Island and creating some new adventures on land rather than on the ocean. In addition to sight -seeing, we have hiked over a mountain, canoed down the Whanganui River, caught brown trout on flies in the Tongariro River, and taken bikes through the forest on old stagecoach roads. Some of these adventures have been on our own, some with other cruisers, and some with friends who flew in from the US to visit. The most significant of these adventures was the 20 kilometre Tongariro Alpine Crossing, an infamous hike over Mount Tongariro. It is located next to Mount Ngauruhoe (known as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movie). We went with our good friends Liliane and Mike Mabee from the sailboat Meikyo. It was definitely a long day, but we all shared a sense of accomplishment when we finished. The scenery was really spectacular, so we have provided two new photo albums – one for the North Island, and a separate one just for the Tongariro Alpine Hike.
New Zealand is a beautiful country with geography very similar to the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. The people here are generally very friendly, easy to talk to, and have a unique sense of humor. With the exception of Auckland and a few other cities most of New Zealand is rural in nature, with tons of sheep and cattle everywhere.
We are now heading for the South Island for about three weeks. It is slightly larger than the North Island, and more mountainous and dramatic in it's geography. We'll update the website when we return, and then we will need to start getting ready for our next destination.