Thursday, December 5, 2019

The best of Taupo and Rotarua in One Day

After passing through the desert road we ended up near the town of Taupo and New Zealand's largest inland lake with the same name.   Taupo itself was quite crowded and a bit too "touristy" for our


tastes.  However we were interested in a few spots just North of the town so we stayed at a nearby AirBNB and headed out the next morning.  First stop was the Huka Falls.  They are described as horizontal waterfalls and that's pretty much accurate.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

New Zealand's Desert Highway

Halfway through our North Island road trip we were driving North from Wellington, heading back to our boat in Whangarei.  Highway 1 takes you all the way from the bottom to the top of the North Island, right through the middle.  Beautiful New Zealand farmland and lush forests line the road.
Nothing but transmission towers
About 5 hours into our drive we happened upon the stretch of Highway 1 known as the Desert Road. What an unusual and unexpected delight. We were driving past green hillsides with grazing

Friday, November 29, 2019

New Plymouth has a Lot to Offer!

Three Sisters

Prior to our 10-day road trip through New Zealand's North Island Rich combed travel guides and websites to find dozens of points of interest and hikes.  We put them all on Google Maps and planned a meandering route down the West coast and back up through the middle trying to connect-the-dots.

Yesterday we were rolling down a coastal highway when we caught sight of one of the outdoor attractions. The Three Sisters are large rock formations sticking up out of a beach next to tall white cliffs.  They are located at the mouth of a river that empties into the ocean.  Lucky for us it was low tide and we were able to make our way along the river to where it emptied out onto a broad open beach.  It was a beautiful spot.  The sun was getting low in the sky and the quality of the light was amazing.




Thursday, September 19, 2019

Magnificent Forest of Ha'afeva Island


We met up with our friends on Manawai a few weeks ago to compare notes about our collective explorations in Tonga. They spoke highly of the island of Ha’afeva and recommended an anchorage on its North shore. The next time the winds were favorable, we set sail for Ha’afeva. As we approached the island the area had a different feel than anywhere we have been in Tonga’s Ha’apai island group. Ha’afeva is the largest of 8 or 9 islands all situated within a few miles of each other. Many were steep-sided with small hills and what looked like hardwood forest. This was in contrast to the many low-lying islands we’d visited lately which were totally covered with coconut palms.



Thursday, August 29, 2019

A day in Pangai

After finding out Rich is American one of the girls innocently asked if he knew "Sharon, from the Peace Corps?"
Pangai is the largest town in Tonga's sparsely populated Ha'apai group but it's really just a large village.  The entire Kingdom of Tonga has a little over 100,000 people and it doesn't look like

Sunday, June 23, 2019

South Minerva Reef

Minerva Reefs are a popular stopover on the passage from New Zealand to Tonga.  They are about 600 miles from New Zealand and 250 miles from Tonga.   A week-long passage is split up into two shorter passages with a break in-between.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Minerva Reefs - North & South 2019

Minerva Reefs are one of our all-time favorite places.  They are two submerged atolls hundreds of miles away from anywhere.  The only way to visit them is on a private yacht.  

Drone photo of Minerva South "West Lagoon"