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2017 New Zealand Trip - Part 11

North Island, The Bay of Islands, Russell, Dolphins and the Hole in The Rock. Not forgetting the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway.

We were heading for Paihai and decided to stop at a small town of KawaKawa, as we needed some lunch.

It was a surprising place.

Railway lines down the centre of the mail road?

We were actually admiring the Hundertwasser Public Toilets .......

"Frederick Hundertwasser first visited New Zealand in the 1970's to mount a public exhibition of his work. He was so captured by the country that he resolved to make it his second home, purchasing an isolated rural property on the Waikino peninsula on the Waikare Inlet east of the Kawakawa. Initially he was to spend only a few months of each year in the Bay of Islands, with the majority of his time still spent in Europe - Vienna in particular. But in recent years Hundertwasser spent more and more time at his New Zealand home.He loved the informality of the area and the freedom to walk the streets of the Kawakawa township anonymously. He felt for the town and its entrapment in the rural decline which so much of New Zealand had suffered.In 1998 the Kawakawa Community Board was looking to upgrade 40-year-old toilet facilities in the central township, and Hundertwasser offered a solution from his design palate. To Hundertwasser, a toilet is very special because you meditate in a toilet. Like a church. "The similarity is not so far fetched" - he says. His concept was adopted and, with the artist personally lending a hand in construction supervision, including the provision of materials from his own studio. Hundertwasser was in fact more involved in construction than he was in the world-renown Hundertwasser House apartments project in Vienna." [http://www.bay-of-islands-nz.com/hundertwasser.shtml}.

.... when a train rattled past! Obviously, we had to investigate further.

You must watch out for the Lavatree on the video.

So despite the rain, we had a good time here.

We went on the short line on part of the former Opua track from Kawakawa to Taumarere, up to the bridge they have just completed to extend the line to the next town, Taumarere, where the original line used to go. I got the opportunity to travel in the cab on the way back, hence the video. Watch out for the Lavatree. The cafe was excellent and the cakes were delicious.

http://www.bayofislandsvintagerailway.org.nz/

We then travelled the last few miles/kilometres to Paihai where we were staying at the Chalet Romantica overlooking the bay.

The next day, the weather was a bit better although cloudy. We were going to visit the Maori Ancestrial Grounds in Paihai but the minimum tour was 3 hours and we did not have 3 hours because we were going on a boat trip at lunchtime. Instead, we visited the Haruru Falls on our way back into town and then caught the ferry to Russell, across the bay, so we could pick up the boat trip.

The boat trip and dolphins:

Then heading for The Hole in the Rock. Boats usually can pass through but the waves were too high today.

We dined overlooking the bay. The next day, dawned fine and sunny.

We left the Bay of Islands and headed for Matamata, south of Auckland. We had to drive through Auckand, which looked impressive in the sun but the volume of traffic was horrendous, completely different from what had been experienced on the South Island and in the Bay of Islands.

We drove down State Highway 1 then onto State Highway 2, which they just happened to be resurfacing, then through the countryside to our destination. Walnut Lodge.

We were staying 6 nights as it was ideally located for visits to Gordon and his family and also Hobbiton is nearby.

To be continued in the next part.

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