Thursday 5 May 2016

New Zealand Adventures : 13. Last Sun Rise of Napier, Earth Plaster House of Gisborne, East Bro to the Ends of The Earth, Toko Bay Maori Community and Return to Rotorua....

Kia Ora!

Good morning! and thanks for tuning into my latest blog from my travels across New Zealand. Last time I wrote of my escapades would have been in Napier where I was picking apples to continue my travels further up the East Cape 'cuzzy' (how the Maori's affectionately address you), but here's a little video from my latest of which....was living on a BUS...

But hey, more about that in a tick....

On my last night in Napier, I persuaded someone in my hostel it being an absolutely beautiful night on the beachfront, to join me to snuggle down and experience sleeping on the beach itself to the crashing of the swelling waves underneath the rising red moon and a blanket of a thousand stars (with a blanket over us too!) so we would be the first to see the rising sun on planet earth - as crazy as it was, it was a beautiful experience and one I won't forget.....and a little bit chilly at that!

Before I left my memories of Napier behind forever, I was invited one last time to go horse riding with my Apple farmers nieces Becki and Kate on their beautiful black horse Beau (I love black horses) and a farewell lunch - great New Zealand hospitality to someone they only knew for a month! Kate worked as a Horse Therapy assistant for a trust in Hastings and Becki was studying wine making in Napier......mmmmm   

But like as with all things, as sad as it is, everything good must come to an end eventually. Over my month living by the sea in Hawkes Bay, I met some fascinating special people who have taught me alot of things about life, but life itself is very short and I must continue my travels across this great country as there is so much more to see and do!

So....I said my goodbyes and headed East, jumping on a bus further up the Pacific coast Highway to Gisborne......

Well.....not on this bus exactly....but kinda funny seeing a long whiskered dog sitting behind the steering wheel!

 Life 'Out East' begins

The road ahead....

Following the freight train tracks to Gisborne 

The 'Gizzy Bus' cute....

Now Gisborne is the first city of the 'Out East' Gisborne region on the East Coast of the North Island and is known as and very proud to show off - that they are the 'first to see the sun' and heavily a logging depot for trucks roaring down from up the east cape with kilos of felled pine logs to be sent to Asia on ships. I was told a truck carrying pine logs arrives at the East Port depot yard every 3 minutes, thats alot of pine logs destined to become someones dining room table in Japan!

Gisborne has some of New Zealands best surf spots!

Want to follow my footsteps?

Gisborne is the first place that European explorer, Captain James Cook (has a statue accordingly) sailed around with his famous tall ship Endeavour when he first encountered the Maori's of New Zealand. During their first meeting, the Maori chiefs misinterpreted the encounter and Captain Cook fled sailing away with no provisions, hence the name Poverty Bay...oh dear...not a great first impression!  

Home! Globe mapping out Captain Cooks exploration route across the world.....saw quite a few places that chap, I have alot of catching up to do!

'Young Nicks' statue, a deck boy on board Endevour who was the first to see land from the ship and shout it out - he therefore has the cliff named after him which he is possessively pointing at, being the first to spot it...and rightly so!

Now, I'm partial to drinking cider and I feel New Zealand is the King of what else to grab the opportunity to go to a Kiwi Cidery in Gisborne and see how the top stuff is made (and also where all those apples I had picked were likely to have gone too...)

You can't really go into the cidery itself and there was no Willy Wonka character to escort me around, but upstairs you can view the factory (and overhearing cider 'meetings' between the big bosses as if they are having a UN meeting about cider - serious business ha!). There's many different tanks used for the different stages of cider making and this is the jist of what happens........first apples are picked for juicing and crushed into a creamy pulp, yeast is then added to the apple sugar to turn it into alcohol, so, lots of apple sugar content - higher the alcohol content. The process of cider making from apples to bottled and labeled cider takes 10 days due to the high demand and the tanks in the cidery will take up to 35,000 litres of fermenting cider with the factory producing 19,000 litres of a flavour a day! wooh!

Trying the different flavoured factory products, some definitely stronger than others! and some interesting flavours....passionfruit and cucumber?

So, feeling slightly giddy...I was recommended to visit the Stone Studio NZ where you could go and view Greenstone necklaces being made in the workshop by local carvers

The process seemed really fascinating and maybe slightly off for them putting me staring through the glass at them bright eyed. They get a block of Greenstone which is found in the rivers of the West Coast on the South Island of New Zealand and break them down into smaller blocks with a large diamond blade saw and then sliced up like a loaf of bread. The shapes of the Greenstone are then cut out on a diamond blade trim saw and grinded down - they then use a small drill to do the intricate carving on it and give it a buff for a fine finish - basically like all carvings, its a constant delicate editing process of material till you get the right shape and look, wow!  The greenstone shapes meaning different strengths and powers - my necklace is a drop shape, symbolising strength, independence and freedom - sounds the shape chose me really!

The Maori of the East Coast, believe raw Greenstone holds incredible positive energy and healing powers for good health and well-being, lifts emotional stress from the mind and enhances dreams if it is slept on under a pillow - everybody get yourself one!


Earth Plaster House of Gisborne

I heard through the WWOOF program, that a family needed help on their property 10 mins out of Gisborne city out into the rural hills with their house which that had spent 3 years completing out of straw bale, wood, earth plaster and lime. This looked too cool to ignore so I went to spend 10 days out in the sticks to go and see this amazing dream they had made a reality. The Gaddum family had bought a plot of land and had this dream of building their own home from scratch and after alot of conflict with the council for planning and building permission they went for it with their bare hands. The house was pretty much complete with the family of Andrew, Kirsty and their four children living comfortably inside, but needed a few more fine tuning tasks to be done, so that's where I came onboard!

Can you believe this house was made mainly of straw, plaster, lime and wood? It was situated right on the top of the hill with stunning views of Gisbornes hills and beaches....kind a bit of a house on haunted hill feel about it when night came!

Bee-Bee the households little fox terrier! who had a strange habit of picking up rocks and barking at them? 

The back of the house faced west so we could watch the sunset over the hills of Gisborne - nearby were crop spraying planes that came very low to the ground, making us chase them and causing the house to rumble - the kids loved it

My super funky house bus! The family had lived in the Rainbow bus themselves during the construction of their house three years previously - I loved living on it, very cosy and that's all you need! Andrew, the father of the house had bought it from Wanganui and had driven it all the way back from there to the construction site - if walls could talk, I wonder of all the stories and people that had been onboard that bus, now I was one of them! At night I would sit in the drivers seat and read books by a dim light under a thousand stars - magic...

Morning views around my new abode in the hills!

One of the main jobs that needed to be completed on the house was the earth floor - it needed waxing to make it not so porous and easier to clean (plus it looked nicer) and we did it by scraping bees wax left to solidify overnight and then buffed it smooth with a very shaky powered buffer - hard work!

The outside of the house still needed some work so I helped dig shallow holes outside the window sills for wooden steps to be slotted in in the future when they can be evened out by sand - all part of the legacy.

The Gaddum family were pretty entertaining to live with, with all the dramas of four children and their needs and busy lives which I got to be a part of sometimes. Kirsty and Andrew were into eco-friendly living, the only TV contact for the children was a rented weekend movie and were passionate about building their own home and had travelled the world in their youth. Naturally, I was very interested in hearing their tales about when they bought a car and drove across Africa. They showed me many photos of the house build over the years which they planned to make into a book and had used the building of the house as a learning experience through trial and error and boy, hearing the stories and seeing the pictures of the house, I think they are very glad its eventually livable as the whole family had spent three years of their life building it using books, advice and good old fashioned determination and hard graft - anything is possible....very inspiring.

Babysitting whilst mowing the lawn lol!

The mad Gaddum Family of Gisborne, Olivia (10), Max (7), Mum Kirsty, Benny (18 mnths), Sam (9) (minus dad Andrew who was off in the hills hunting grrr......) 

East Bro up The Cape

After my time with the Gaddums, it was time for me to hit the road and continue travelling further up the mysterious and remote East Cape of New Zealand and lucky for me, a company called East Bro where local guides took adventurous wee travellers like myself who wanted to see the more authentic side of Aotearoa up the East Cape, off the beaten track on a 4 day tour. We were heading 'Out East' into the pure heart of Maori New Zealand.

 So with my Maori driver Kelz, we left Gisborne and headed up The East Coast...

Hitting State Highway 35 with Kelz behind the wheel and a small handful of us travellers from Europe - Kelz wanted to show us Tologa Bay passing the region on Whangara which is well known as being the filming location for the famous 2002 New Zealand film 'Whale Rider' based on the powerful book by Witi Ihimaera about a young 12 year old Maori girl 'Pai' who is the direct descendant of Paikea who rode on top of a whale to New Zealand from the spiritual homeland of Hawaiki. As she is a girl, she struggles to get acceptance from her grandfather who is against her become the eventual chief of the Whangara people - if you haven't seen the movie, watch the trailer. I personally think its the best film New Zealand has produced..... The actress who played the young Maori girl, Keisha Castle-Hughes, had no previous acting experience and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress at the 76th Academy Awards for her role - just to show, who needs to go to drama school! 

Tologa Bay Wharf

45 kms North East of Gisborne is the small bay and town of Tologa Bay with the largest community on the East Cape and home to the Southern Hemispheres longest wharf at a whopping 660 metres longgggggg and a legendary place to dangle a fishing line. The wharf was built in the 1929 to accommodate visiting commercial vessels as the bay was too shallow for them to moor in.

So...we went for a little walk to the ends of the earth...

Somewhere out South America....10,000 km away!


Tokomaru Bay Maori Community  

Carrying on 30 miles further up the East Coast we came to Tokomaru Bay, a piece of unspoiled living paradise with a community of 70% Maori from the Ngati Porou Tribe....little did I know, I was going to jump of here, say Kia Ora! and not leave until 3 weeks later....

But first, we were taken to a friend of Kelz, a local Maori man named Kevin who was a bone carver in the community and gave us a workshop on designing and making our own Maori bone Maori could you get!

 Tokomaru Bay Maori Community

We were welcomed into Kevin's home in the Bay and like the Greenstone carving I saw in Gisborne, the process of bone carving is very similar.....

Step 1. We first designed a shape on tracing paper, helped by many, many, many, many pictures.....I chose a fish hook design, which is pretty popular among the Maori, meaning Guardian, especially the passage over water.

Step 2. Trace the shape onto a piece of bone, in this case cattle bone - in traditional times Maori would have used whale bone which was extremely tapu (sacred)

Step 3. Moving on down to the workshop, you remove as much excess bone around the shape as possible using a small blade on a hacksaw

Step 4. Then you start using a sand grinder to do the more delicate shaping until you get the shape you want, lots of flying bone dust which drives dogs crazy - frankly is smells more like a rotting corpse!

Step 5. And as Laura is doing so nicely here, you start using a small file to finish the delicate shaping and then rub with wet black sandpaper to give it a shiny finish. You can use a small drill to make any engravings or holes to make it unique....

Voila! or as the Maori's say 'Ka pai!' no other necklace in the world like it

The beautiful Maori children happy with our necklaces

 Life in the Community

Being a predominate Maori community, I saw this as the ideal opportunity to live among the Maori people as the ultimate education of the indigenous New Zealanders. I started Wwwoofing in a serendipity moment for a kind elderly couple, Lois and John, who were exchange hosts in the community doing gardening, stacking firewood, peeling apples and other odd jobs on their small property overlooking the south side of the bay.  Lois being Maori of the Ngati Porou tribe and John being an ex-policeman and local historian, they were both heavily involved in the Toko Bay community and I was introduced to alot of the locals and given the opportunity to attend Maori language classes and visits to the local Marae.

Lois's ancestors

Tokomaru Bay originally was known as Toka-a-Namu which refers to rocks and sandflies. It used to be a thriving beachside community and busy industrial centre of the East Coast with the Freezer works and wool industy dominating the township. The freeezer works closed in the 1950's and worked moved to Gisborne, marking the end of business exchanges on Toko and the decline in industry - banks closed due to lack of people using them, decline in retail etc. There are many derelict buildings in Toko which gives it a bit of an eerie raw ghost town feel. The crux of the problem with dwellings is they have multiply owners and if one decides to renovate it, the other owners will cause conflict and enforce possession over it, so they feel its best to leave them alone and rot....

On the positive side - Tokomaru Bay has produced some real gems of Maori stardom - five All Black Rugby players came out of the bay, Ngoi Pewhairangi, a famous music composer and singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa all were born and raised here in the Toko.....must be something in the water here!

 The local school of 60 students

The local church and cementary

Maori aisle signs in the local Four Square supermarket - really cool! Only place in NZ that has this

Local Maori's practicing the haka for the 'Kupa Haka Dance' regional competition in Gisborne which I had the privilege of being invited to go and watch - blew my mind to see all those hakas! it was televised globally by Maori TV channel so was very exclusive! Unfortunately our team did not make a place in the Nationals but it was a tough competition and every team gave a breath taking performance.

Driftwood is a plenty on the seven mile beach and the children get busy building houses out of them, which gave me a nice spot to sit and watch the changing colours of the sunset over the ocean

Horses, Chickens, Dogs, Cats and even Pigs might be some of the characters you may encounter wandering around the Bay....

Saturday Maori Rugby Match

Local youths stop by on their horses to catch the game....

Maori children of Tokomaru, some riding around on horseback!

Local Maraes - I visited this Marae when a voyaging Waka stopped by in the Bay and invited to join them for the evening hearing their stories at sea...

Its not unusual in a Maori community to see locals coming to the supermarket to get their weekly shopping on horseback!

One of the locals, Jill Carlyle who is a well known photographer up the East Cape came riding down on her new horse 'Scary Mary' to get some grocery's from the cornerstone supermarket and took me back to her home deep in the valley (hence getting to town on horseback) to show me a boat is being built on her land....she was told it would take 3 years to complete....and that was 30 years ago! The boat is nearly complete and being made by a local man who's dream was to build his own boat and live a life at sea - I was absolutely gobsmacked at how much he had achieved and showed how determination and passion for doing something is in you grasp....even if it takes a lifetime.

Quite literally, the ship of dreams!

A real Nintendo toadstool! to light the way make to the village, as cute as they look they are highly poisonous so I resisted taking a chomp out of it :/

Goldfish Farm

Tokomaru Bay was full of surprises, who would have known a Goldfish breeding farm would be here? another serendipity moment as I discovered Stan who had been breeding goldfish for 10 years from his home on the hill overlooking the bay - did you ever have a pet goldfish? I was intrigued to see where they come from

Wow a goldfish farm! this is where they come from. There are about 20 different varieties of goldfish and can live up to 20 years in outdoor tanks. Stan had 100 corrugated tanks with netting to stop the birds from attacking the poor goldfish as they try to grow. All his water was recycled and he would drain it into different tanks when the fishes would get moved depending on their stage of breeding. Goldfish can't be imported into New Zealand so they have used the original breeds to procreate them multiple times, so there's a very regimented system that Stan has all in his head - he sells them to pet shops across New Zealand who contact him with specific varieties of fish they want and they are shipped by a courier twice a week bless! 

A New Zealand Gold Fish Farm

Baby goldfish!

These characters are Walking Fish, kinda cool hey

 Stan's indoor tanks full of baskets and buckets

Bog-eyed Goldfish! I think they're pretty cute, the Blackmore and Glow Bay. Y'know a goldfish only needs food the size of its eye to be happy

Good name for a Goldfish? about Reggie? ha

I have no idea how Stan categories all his fish, but he told me Goldfish can survive in freezing waters but become less active when water temperature is very low so coming into NZ winter, he may not be expecting alot from them! Makes me want to have a goldfish, could have been fun having a travelling gold fish to accompany me around New Zealand.....apart from the fact it would be totally impractical but hey I'm a dreamer!

Another gem from Tokomaru Bay, is Baye Riddell, who unknown to me, is a world famous Maori ceramic artist with a workshop and studio right here in the bay. Of course, I got totally sucked in searching for authentic Maori crafts of the East Cape and went in to see his workshop, his pottering wheels and came away with a nice unique collection of his work to remember my time in Toko - authentic as you can get out here!

My collection of Baye's beautiful work - an archeologists dream!

Anzac Day

On 25th April every year, marks ANZAC Day (Australia, New Zealand Army Corps) - like our Remembrance Day on 11th November which is a public holiday across Australia and New Zealand. Being in the small community gave me the chance to experience a Maori celebration for the fallen Maori soldiers in the World Wars and got up to attend the 6am dawn ceremony at the communities war memorial. Speeches were given in Maori and hymns were sung with the raising of the New Zealand Flag for the rest of day.

Just as the dawn began to break over the ocean on that chilly morning - the community moved to the memorial gates further down for a second service by a Maori minister and the gates were opened for us to walk through and have breakfast at the local sports club - when Maori's are in charge of food, it is always a feast! a great gathering of the war veterans of the community who came to deliver heartwarming speeches and to mingle with the locals

Aunty Doris with one of the sergeants (Maori's call all older women 'aunty'), she was a real local character, obsessed with anything chocolate and refused to wear a hat because she didn't want to mess up her immaculate bouffant hairdo!

The local women of the community paying tribute to the soldiers by performing their bracket from the Kupa Haka performance which was ANZAC themed.

I wanted to stay longer in Tokomaru Bay, so I decided to go Wwoofing for another couple on the other side of the Bay overlooking the Wharf which had fallen into disrepair since its use for visiting freight vessels and a transport network for wool trams to the woolshed up on the hill.

The community were running an ongoing campaign to continuously raise funds to repair it which is set to be at a target over a million dollars - but it was still a main attraction for locals and visitors to come and walk along to fish or get great views of the bay at sunrise or sunset. Many Maori families would come to the wharf to dangle crayfish pots off the side in hope for a catch in the evening.

Talking of Crayfish.......Gordon my Wwoof hosts profession was a commercial Cray fisherman and out of curiosity, I asked to come on board his fishing boat 'Juno' which he kept in the old New Zealand Shipping Co. building, a now historic building which was the former centre of Toko's business district - horse and carts disappearing when the roads were better developed to allow vehicles to start transporting goods from there.

The shed full of boats and Cray fishing equipment, ropes, steel pots, orange buoys, aprons, overalls, buckets and buckets and of course white wellies!

Gordon fished for only four months of the year at different seasons when crayfishes were most active. He would set off at 6am in the morning with his crew mate Terry and travel 15 miles up the coastline north to his allocated sea block for fishing and would spend 7 hours hooking up all the orange buoys, pulling up the steel pots to see what had been caught over night - mainly crayfish, but sometimes huge snapper fish and even an eel!

Terry here was extremely fast in his work, pulling out the Crayfish and taking them out, laying new bait of fish heads back in the pots and pushing them back into the ocean for another night of fishing - he never seemed to get sea sick, whereas I turned out to unfortunately succumb to the rocking small boat eventually - blahhhhhhhhhh not pleasant for 7 hours!

The NZ Crayfish industry is actually very lucrative, they are an expensive fine delicacy on the Asian food market who pay alot of money for them - personally I'm not really into eating them but there's a fair few hundred dollars there in that bucket - yikes!

Not all crayfish that were caught get a trip to China, they have to be a certain size and here is Skipper Gordon measuring the lower width of their body which needs to be 4cms or so or they get put back into the ocean.

Terry with the prepared fresh cray pot ready to go back into the ocean for another nights fishing

Once the crayfish are back on land and fishing has been done for the day, they are then put into boxes (we caught four boxes worth which is typical for end of season) and immediately put in the back of a van to be taken to the fishery in Gisborne where they are weighed and then put into pools before they go off to China.

Not before making some home sea food deliveries to the neighbours and accompanying Woody to Gisborne to deliver the Crayfish

So that was my sample of life as a Crayfisherman, as green as I was, it was interesting to see how it is done, but I still did my bit by helping to clean Gordon's boat, giving it a good end of season wash of anything fishy!!

Back on land and happy to see the cat ha!, Gordans wife Julia was a flax weaver, who weaved bags using flax wrapped in fabric which was her specialty. She had trained for 6 months from a Maori tutor to learn the craft of the indigenous, helping her prepare the flax from her garden and she could churn out a handbag in an afternoon which she would sell in the Bays local tavern - pretty cool! 

I spent a total of 3 weeks in Tokomaru Bay having many more adventures in the slow paced life of the Maori's where you could come across anything on a daily walkabout! I loved my time there in a slice of paradise, meeting Maori children, playing pool with the locals in the tavern and saying 'Kia Ora!', but the East Bro bus was coming round one last time to the Bay on its return to Rotorua and I needed to wish my coastal home and Wwoof hosts 'Po-mardi-ay' (Goodnight) one last time before I headed further up towards the East Cape for more discoveries and adventures.  

The East Cape and Return to Rotorua...


Mt. Hikurangi, jutting out 1752m on the left is actually the true first spot on Earth to see the sun each day and according to Maori legend was the first piece of land dragged up by the brothers of the demi-god Maui when they angrily started cutting up the fish that their sly brother had pulled up, with his canoe and earthly remains resting here on the sacred mountain. Half the way up, there are several Maori carvings on the mountain where you can stay overnight in huts run by the Department of Conservation.

St Mary's Church at Tiki Tiki past Ruatoria - a very unique Maori Church on the East Cape built in 1924 with amazing carvings and woven tukutuku flax panels on the wall.

The stain glassed crucifixion behind the pulpit held up by carved little guys depicts WW1 Maori Battalion soldiers kneeling before Christ.  


 Reaching lone-dog Maori village Te Araroa at the right hand corner of the East Cape took us to the centre of Manuka Oil Producers.

Manuka Trees are prolifically grown on the East Cape of New Zealand and their nectar is highly valued for healthy consumption (2+) and for its multi medicinal and anti septic purposes with a higher grade of (20+)  

The trees usually grow up to 5 metres tall and typically bloom in Spring and Summer with white flowers

And the bees are getting busy at work producing the nectar for us all!

Even Natural Dog Shop! all round good stuff our friend Manuka.

This tree 'Te-Waha-O-Rerekohu' named after Maori ancestors is a 350 year old Pohutukawa tree in the village school yard. 20 metres and 40 metres wide makes it the largest of its species in the world! 

And we're not allowed to climb it! 

From Te Araroa, we drove 21kms along the coastline to the most easterly tip of mainland NZ to climb 750 steps to the lighthouse at the top - great cardio workout!

The lighthouse was actually moved from the small island a touch off the mainland where a DOC ranger now lives monitoring birds for the Department of Conservation - must be a very lonely existence way out there....or maybe its just paradise....

But, I have now voyaged to the ends of the earth...and got the pictures to prove it!

Now officially the Ends of the Earth - the furthest away from London I can possibly get!

Now touching the ends of the earth, we headed back East along the northern tip of the East Cape past Cape Runaway, we spent the night at a Maori owned seafront rustic hostel at Maraehako Bay, built by an ambitious Maori man who wanted to create a retreat in a unspoiled slice of East Cape New Zealand

 This is the life!!! watching the Autumn sun disappear over the glittering bay water, we collected driftwood on the beach and had a roaring outdoor fire in true Maori manaakitanga style (hospitality) until the rain came and put the fire out in the wee small hours!

 But not all was lost though as I found this happy little ginger kitty claim my bed for its sleeping spot and was still with me in the morning! :) No lasagnas on me Garfield....

Pushing on the next morning at sunrise, we headed west towards the township Opotiki and stopped off to take in a view of Whakakaari (White Island) - which is pretty near impossible to capture on camera way out there on the horizon, but maybe if she really strain to see. Its a chain smoking active volcano which takes about 5 hours to reach to trek around, its not cheap though so maybe next time on a visit the New Zealand I can go - would be cool to walk around an active volcano right?

Finally reaching Opotiki further along Highway 35, another heavily Maori community to taste the more sleepy lifestyle of East Cape living... 

Local Maori lady sporting a moko on her chin prepares flax to make a grass skirt

An up and coming Maori Artist workshop who using trampolines as his canvas as we stop of at a contemporary art gallery to have tea with the locals...

The fascinating 'Te Moko' full facial tattoo adorns a local man, his lips are also tattooed and the Maoris who choose to have the tattoo have endured a lot of pain in homage to their culture and whanau - showing how much pride is centered in the heart of the Maori's.  

East Bro Crew at Maraehako Bay

So, that's it from my adventures around the East Cape which so far has given me the most authentic and fascinating insight into the real Aotearoa that I was searching for and remains my favourite region so far of my travels across New Zealand.

I'm sure you're exhausted from reading it all, as I was living it - but I have now returned to central Rotorua and found myself feeling like Katniss Everdeen back in the Hunger Games as I took a stroll through the mysterious Redwood Forests. I will be heading south from now on as NZ winter begins to creep in...  

Kia-Ora, Kia-Ora and Kia-Ora for reading and catch you next time whenever that may be further down the road...

Rotorua, New Zealand

With Lonely Planet Travel Guide New Zealand 


  1. Kia ora! Awesome to see you had such a rewarding experience in my home town Tokomaru Bay, and the rest of the east coast, first to see the sun! Nice read! po marie!

    1. Kia Ora - I think Tokomaru Bay was actually my favourite place in New Zealand and I did see the sunrise once there. Felt like I was in the real native New Zealand. Do miss it, thank you for reading.

  2. I'm really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it's rare to
    see a nice blog like this one nowadays.

    1. Hi! Thanks for leaving the kind comments about my adventures and the blog. No, no pay, I used a Travel Theme Template from Blogger and just modified it myself. I have an Australian Travel Story book available on Amazon and I'm in the process of writing my second story book for next year!

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