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New Zealand

Planning

North Island

It's time to visit one of my favorite places in the world again: New Zealand. With a land mass just a bit bigger than the United Kingdom and a population of four million, instead of 60 million in the case of the UK, New Zealand is a land of vast empty scenic country-sides and wildernesses.

During past visits we've spent time in the beautiful South Island of this multi island country. However, on this trip we plan to explore the northern most parts of the land of New Zealand. The reason is: because it is there. Sorry I couldn't resist this.

Dutch explorer Abel Tasman and his crew in 1642 where the first Europeans to sail into this glorious place. Tasman named the island complex after the island complex he was familiar with (Zeeland) back in his home, Denmark.

Julia and I were fortunate to be able to visit Zealand and the capital of Denmark its great city Copenhagen back in 2013. We also visited Elsinore (Helsingor), which is the site of the great Shakespearean Play: Hamlet. Oddly, the island of Zealand is not connected historically to the Pacific nation of New Zealand, which instead is named after the Dutch province of Zeeland.

I need to take some zees now...

Our trip will start in Auckland where we will spend time recovering from our 13-hour flight from San Francisco. We arrive very early morning and so plan to spend that morning in a day spa, how lovely.

The next day will include a visit to Motutapu Island. Motutapu, is a 3,730-acre island in the Hauraki Gulf to the northeast of the city of Auckland. The island is part of the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park. Its full name, rarely used, is Te Motutapu a Taikehu, which means: the sacred island of Taikehu. Taikehu having been a tohunga (tribal priest) of the Tainui iwi. Motutapu, meaning sacred or sanctuary island, is a term used for various islands in a number of Polynesian cultures.

After this, we'll head north to Paihia where we'll take in the magnificent coastline and hike some of the many forests there, such as Russell and Omahute forests.

We'll head south again to Waiatarua where much hiking and beachcombing will take place.

Before returning home to the good old US of A Julia and I will visit with my family in Melbourne Australia.

I cannot wait for December.



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