This will be our last day and we will have to ride back to Auckland, but not without tackling one of the best motorcycle roads in all of New Zealand -- the Old Russell Road. It is outrageously curvy and hardly sees any traffic at all because most people leave Russell by ferry and take Highway 1.
If you are exhausted from all those curves, or if you're just not ready yet to finish the tour, you could spend some quality time in Mangawhai, a small seaside resort just 60 miles north of Auckland. The broad empty beaches and the relaxed atmosphere will make you want to stay, just for another five minutes. Just one more minute. Just a little bit longer..
breakfast again in the Duke of Malborough hotel - thank you Manfred
the Christchurch in Russell - one of the oldest churches in NZ
the grave of the first white woman born in NZ
last picture on the old Russell road
dinner on the terrace of famous "Duke of Malborough" hotel on Russell`s waterfront
food is art here
but maybe the cook had parkinson
what a romantic evening
an artist, an original - Rick Taylor - the Kauri turner. Thanky you Rick for your präsentation
State Highway 12 is known as the Gumdigger Highway, after the diggers who searched for Kauri gum, a precious amber-like substance. Past Ripiro Beach, the Gumdigger will take us up to Waipua Kauri Forest, where several short walks bring us face to face with the biggest and oldest Kauris in all of New Zealand - stunning.
Further north we use a small ferry to cross Hokianga Harbor. The roads are small and narrow there, with essentially no traffic whatsoever. And last not least the Mangamuka Gorge - maybe one of the best roads on this planet.
fist stop in Dargaville at Rick Taylor`s Kauri shop
Rick is an artist and he works on the Kauris with on 80 year old turning lathe from Ludwigshafen, Germany.
half of his life he spent with turning Kauris. He can "read" the wood, he can see the grain and his products are of an extreme beauty
and the Kauris came to him! A farmer further north had Swamp Kauris on his property and wanted to get rid of them and wanted to burn them down. Rick was told that. It took him 3 years to get the trees out. They are stored in containers behind his house now with the right humidity and right temperature.
and Jane got a beautiful souvenir
to fight the Kauri Die-back a fungus who affects the leaves and later the whole tree
the 4 sisters
these trees where blueprint for Avatar and the "Baumbarts" in Lord of the Ring
the Lord - Tane Mahuta, sprang from seed nearly 2000 years ago during the lifetime of Jesus Christ.
Trunk girth: 14 m, total height: 52 m
Opo was a bottlenose dolphin who became famous throughout New Zealand during the summer of 1955/56 for playing with the children of the small town of Opononi on the Hokianga harbour.
Unlike the majority of dolphins, she had no qualms about human company, and would perform stunts for locals, play with objects like beach balls and beer bottles, and allow children to swim alongside her and make contact
The dolphin became a local celebrity but news of her soon spread, and visitors from throughout the country would come to watch her.
the ferry in Hokiango harbour
A long ride of 420 km, with countless curves and two highlights. Piha Beach and the Kauri Museum
The ride takes us along the coast at Kawakawa Bay, and looking across the Firth of Thames we will see the forested peaks of the Coromandel Range. After crossing the River Thames on the newly built two-lane bridge we turn left and follow the west coast of the Coromandel. It is a spectacular ride. The narrow road is so close to the ocean that you can touch it if you lean your bike over far enough. Well, almost.
a view back to Auckland from Mission Bay
a sunday lunch in the Mussel Kitchen
Jo is enjoying his fish....
....and we are sharing delicious green-lip mussels
If you don’t want to ride today you can spend your time in Auckland, and don’t worry, the city offers more than enough sights and attractions to keep you busy for a day. Why not take the ferry out to Waiheke Island and sample some of the outstanding local wines? Or hike from volcano to volcano (there are 50 of them in the city, all extinct) to take in the amazing views of skyline, islands and ocean. Or take a trip on an America’s Cup yacht. Or bungy jump from the Sky Tower. Or spend some time in a museum or an aquarium
Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and main transport hub. The region is home to some 1.5 million people and Auckland is also the largest Polynesian city in the world. Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland, New Zealand's largest and most diverse city.
the Pohutukawa - the "Christmas Tree" is about starting to bloom. These trees are everywhere and they are looking very special, over and over covered in red.