In my element

I am up in the Bay of Islands now, staying in a place called Paihia. It is so relaxed here, and really, really pretty – pics to come when I’m on a better computer. Such a pleasant change from Auckland, of which I am not a huge fan, although I did enjoy the Auckland Museum, where I looked at Maori carvings and learned a bit of history, of the natural and human varieties. The Domain, where the museum is set, is a really nice park and the Wintergarden has some lovely plant houses you can visit.

But Paihia! I am staying in a nice hostel where I received a free upgrade to a deluxe dorm. I have the feeling the dorm will be full tonight and that it’s mixed – just heard a guy saying to reception that he’s moved into the room number where I’m staying. I hope he doesn’t snore, I had enough noise last night from the karaoke bar next door. Indeed. Well, today was easily my favourite day in NZ so far. I went on a sailing excursion: spent the day barefoot on a boat and on an island, helping to sail, beachcombing, walking, lounging, eating tasty treats. Plus I met people from all over the world and made a couple of friends (with the British contingent, of which I am a semi-member I guess). Again, pics to come when I am on a less annoying computer.

I promised to talk about the Blue Mountains. Well, I went on a little tour there, which was great because my feet, as I may have mentioned before, have been suffering and it was a really, really hot day. So being taken round some highlights suited me fine. Did you know there are 93 species of eucalyptus (gum) tree in the Blue Mountains? And did you know the Blue Mountains are more ancient than the Grand Canyon? Factoids of the day, amaze a friend. Some photos should be on Flickr, click below to see. I’m not sure my pics of kangaroos are there. Coming soon, like so much else? And I went on the steepest railway in the world. I aim to amaze.

Time for dinner now and then a drink with friends. Tomorrow I’m on an early coach back to Auckland…then down to Wellington on the train on Sunday!