Getting me in an up-mood again, however, the three of us soon arrived in New Zealand. In the seventies, my father had visited some people there which he really wanted to visit once more while in Perth. As such, we flew into Auckland early on the 16th. We rented a car, and after a painless drive (be it on the left of the road, though) we arrived in Whangarei in the Northlands of the North Island.

Over the next few days we visited the upper Northland cities of Kamo and Paihia. This last city is located just a ferry ride away from the town of Russell, New Zealand’s first permanent European settlement and sea port.

Driving back down from the Northlands, we visited one of New Zealand’s most scenic cities, small Rotorua, more officially referred to as Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe. Home of the zorb, it is located on the Thermal Explorer highway, and offers some of the most visible geyser activity on the island.

From Rotorua, we drove down to Turangi, a city located about 45 minutes away from Taupo, a major New Zealand city on the banks of lake Taupo. Turangi is also located just outside of the Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand’s most impressive mountain parks, and also a prime filming spot for the lord of the rings saga.

The Kaimanawi ranges are a small mountain chain that cross through the national park and lead up to one of my favorite New Zealand sights – the Rangipo desert. Most locals do not consider it to be of any value, but this is most different from New Zealand’s military perspective. They happily use it as a training ground, and the desert is extremely pittoresque as well. Below you can see some of the desert scenery with in the background the famous Mount Ruapehu.

After returning for one night to Rotorua, and having a great dinner at it’s local Belgian restaurant, we returned to Auckland, where we visited the Sky tower prior to flying out to Australia. In addition, it turned out that on the day we would leave, a large santa parade would travel through the city’s streets. This lead to some inconvenience for us – as it became quite difficult to make it to the airport in time – but a lot of fun for local kids who could have fun on the streets without fear for cars.

Another good thing: we weren’t just flying back to Australia, my friends, no… we were flying into the most gorgeous city in the world. Sydney.

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