As a child I was taught the tale of the Maori demigod Maui who, while standing in his canoe - Te Waka a Maui - caught a great fish - the North Island, Te Ika a Maui.
To me, the South Island has always been remote and somewhati inaccesible. But, blessed by the offer of my cousin's camper, in 2008 we went there. But of necessity we had to drive through the North Island first - and although we have travelled in the North Isand frequently, this time we were able to visit new places, particularly the Wairarapa, which allowed me to satisfy an old curiosity. The Wairarapa always featured in the naional weather forecasts, and never having been there, I knew nothing of it.
This is the North Island part of our journey.
We started by visiting old friends in Auckland, then our generous relatives in Tauranga and in Waipawa. Then we hastened south to the Wairarapa.
The Wairarapa is mostly farming and vineyards, with attractive countryside and equally attractive small towns.
We pressed on to visit Cape Palliser, which is the most southerly point in the North Isand. It seemed like a worthy objective, and we enjoyed visiting the many seals and the somewhat whimsical equipment the fishing fraternity in Ngawi uses to get their boats in and out of the water. Having no harbour, they have to haul their boats out to protect them from the stormy seas of Cook Strait.
Curiosity satisfied, it was on to Wellington where we finally took a ferry to the South Island. (After anxiously consulting the weather forecast, as we did not fancy a rough crossing after the somewhat stormy previous few days.)
Leaving the North Island
We had a wonderful time in the South Island and took so many photographs that they simply have to be presented separately (See Te Waka a Maui #1, #2, and #3.)
Returning north, we had to hurry along as we had lingered so long in the South Island. By then we didn't have much time left in NZ.
Otaki, Mangaweka and the Desert Road
Auckland War Memorial Museum