Sep 22, 2011

New Zealand - Coromandel Peninsula/Auckland

Coromandel Peninsula Forest Park

New Zealand is definitely a country for outdoor people, gifted with amazing natural features. We enjoyed a day spent through the Coromandel Peninsula blessed with some beautiful beaches and forests. There Luis tried the locally cultivated mussels which (big surprise!) happened to be green!

Coromandel Town

Mussels in Coromandel Town

Coromandel Harbour


And who could imagine our feet are BURNING..

A journey in this peninsula would be worth it only to visit the Hot Water Beach, remnant of volcanic activity that occured 5 to 9 million years ago. Two kilometres beneath our feet, a reservoir of hot water and heated rocks! Two springs are found by digging holes in the sand. But the water that comes out can reach a temperature of 60 degrees celcius. We arrived there at the end of the afternoon so many holes were already digged. We had fun jumping from one hole to another in order to see if the water was hot.. until we found one and got burned! :/


Aukland is New Zealand's largest city and hosts about one third of the population of the whole country. It is also the city with the highest Polynesian population in the world. Auckland is organized around an isthmus between two harbours and is built on a volcano field. Auckland region registers 48 volcanoes. From Mount Eden and its crater, we have an wonderful view over the city.

At Auckland museum we attended a vibrant and powerful Maori dance show which culminated in a high-energy haka performed by both women and men:

Maori dancers

And we experienced two very diverse accomodation types in the city. We first spent two nights in a huge hostels (called backpackers in this part of the world) filling eight floors of a building in the city centre, crowded with international young travelers. One night a fire alarm was turned on at 2.15am. We understood we had to get out of the building by the stairs (from the 10th floor). Once at the ground floor, we saw the firemen waving we could go back to our bunk beds. Yeah!

We were then hosted by a lovely couple who is living.. on a catamaran! To get on board and ashore a transfer by rubber dinghy is needed.

Luis with our hosts

Our cabin


Auckland's venues are intended to host Rugby World Cup (RWC) critical games including the two semi-finals, the final and both the opening and closing ceremonies. Part of the rugby festival happens on Queens Wharf where is installed a visitors area comprising a giant rugby ball hosting an audio-visual show, a fan zone with two big screens, an official merchandizing stand in an inflatable cube, food and bars, partners gazebos and a strange white snake-shaped tent (called The Cloud) hosting information about New Zealand. This visitors area and the surrounding streets in Auckland are regularly scenes of rugby fans extravagances. A nice festive and friendly atmosphere!

At Queen Wharf, in The Cloud

At Queen Wharf

 In front of an Irish pub, a few hours before the game

Irish meeting Aussies

It seems that the city was not prepared enough for such a flood of foreign visitors. The hotels are all full on games days and some fans had to spend the night in a building near the sky tower, opened for the occasion during the night to take in desperate rugby fans. But one of them told us they were only allowed to sit there for the night and awakened by the security as soon as they closed one eye.

Anyway Auckland inhabitants seems happy to welcome foreigners. Once we were waiting for a bus that would not come. A young student stopped to ask us if we needed a ride to the city centre. She even made a detour to drop us off in front of the museum we were going to. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment