01.04.2013 20 °C
We picked Mary up from her hotel in Waitangi, Bay of Islands, and took the 2 minute drive to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. This is the site where Maori and Europeans signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Not that long ago really. We watched the short film about the signing of the Treaty - in which, we were sure the captain of the boat yesterday featured in one of the reenactments! - and the explored the grounds. The Treaty House, where Scotsman James Busby and his family lived, the beautifully carved Maori Meeting House, and one of biggest Maori war canoes in New Zealand.
Afterwards we drove to Kerikeri to see New Zealand's oldest stone building, The Stone Store, which was built between 1832-1836. Andrew said he has jeans older than that! I guess were spoilt for old buildings in England. It's a cute little building though in a pretty park setting, the perfect place for a picnic.
But we were moving on, for a quick toilet break in Kawakawa. There's a pun in there, because this place is home to the famous (apparently, we just knew about them as Andrew's brother had been) public toilets designed by an artist called Frederick Hundertwasser. They were really different, for toilets, and I liked the glass bottle and glass tile windows, but as we have seen the flower toilets at Barton Grange garden centre near Garstang, Lancashire, I think I was expecting something more flamboyant.
Our final destination for the day was Russell. We drove to Opua and got the car ferry across. Mary and I didn't even realise we were on the ferry yet when we started moving, it was so small!
The short film at the Treaty Grounds this morning had told us that Russell had been a rough and ready port for sailors and fishermen back in the day, but now it's a beautiful seaside town. We walked down the waterfront and chose to have fish and chips at the Duke of Marlborough, New Zealand's oldest pub. Oh and some cold beer too, of course.
Fed and watered, we walked to New Zealand's oldest church, Christ Church. The guide book said it had gun shot holes in it from a war in the 1800s, so Andrew was really disappointed when he couldn't see any.
And finally we drove up to Flagstaff Hill to see panoramic views of the Bay of Islands.
We'd had a lovely day but now we had a long drive ahead of us. It's 1st April and we have to be in Wellington for 1pm on the 3rd, which is at least 11 hours drive, as we wanted to have a good amount of time on the South Island. After leaving Mary at her hotel, to see her in another week or so, we drove for about 3/4 hours until we got south of Auckland. I don't even know what to say about the holiday park we stayed on. I don't think anyone was having a holiday there. There were messy drunk girls in the toilets trying to open a bottle of alchopop with their teeth. I don't think I need to say anymore...