Wednesday, 11 January 2012

New Zealand Tour. 13th to 17th October 2011. Whangamata, Auckland and Rugby Semi Finals.

Today, sick of the rain, our objective was to seek some sun. The weather forecast said that the Whangamata Cost was fine, so that’s where we went. Whangamata reminded me of the Natal South Coast, (South Africa) in the  winter. It was a sleepy, laid back, surfing and finishing town. The beach was idyllic, a long strip of white sand. The surf breaks are good, but at the same time the sea is safe for swimming in. It was a relaxed, laid back, beach community. Perfect for a family holiday.  Our first choice accommodation, Breakers was full, so we booked in at Marine Reserved. Here, we had a two bed roomed apartment that could sleep 6. Once again the standard of accommodation was high for the price paid. Very clean, the kitchen was fully equipped, even the dishwasher powder for the dishwasher was provided. In the basement garage there were full laundry facilities and an outdoor shower. A BBQ on the balcony and Sky TV inside. 2 nights was to short!  

 Whangamata i site gave us a leaflet on Day Walks, the first one was to The Lookout on the Peninsula, this was an easy 30 min walk along a path taking you to panoramic views over Whangamata harbour and Beach. After this we drove on to the ‘Luck at Last’ Mine walk, but this was closed due to logging! So we drove to the Broken Hills Walk. This was an easy walk, but wet underfoot, you need waterproof boots to do it! However it’s a good walk on a grey day as you are inside at lot! It was very interesting walking through old mining works, tunnels, waterfalls and a deserted village, to explore the tunnels you do need a torch.

All to soon it was time to get back to Aulckland for the Semi-finals. We also had to take the small car we had rented from Juicy Rentals back, and go back up to the Britz depot at the airport and pick up the (second) campervan. Then we checked into a Campervan site set up for the Rugby World Cup. It was at Alexandra Park Raceway. The organisers had done a very good job, and at $70.00 for 2 nights in the city centre it was well priced, as opposed to the $$$ thousands being charged by the Hotels. But it was very basic; it was a car park with porta toilets on it. Transport, in the form of a free shuttle bus, was provided every 15 minutes to and from Eden Park.
Auckland was starting to buzz with Rugby Fever, the waterfront had 4 cruise lines berthed next to the Hilton. As well as many private yachts (they looked like private cruise ships to me!) in the harbour. We enjoyed a long lunch at one of the many new bars by the Plastic Waka...I didn’t get that thing at all, and I was told it cost millions of dollars! The first Game on the Saturday night was Wales V France, and throughout the tournament I had the knack of backing the loosing team as France beat Wales 9 -8, it was a good match.
Sunday was a re run of Saturday, but as the match was the All Blacks V the Wallabies, anti Australian sentiment was the order of the day! The Haka was a disappointment, I had expected the crowd to join in but they don’t and it is far more impressive on the TV than live, but it fuelled the All Blacks to a victory of 20 -6 over a tired looking Australia. So now we knew it would be a France V New Zealand Final.