From the perspective of the blog we had a relatively quiet day today with an early afternoon flight to Dunedin on the South Island.
We started out the day at Shailers B&B (excellent and reviewed here on Trip Advisor) where we decided to take up the offer of a farm tour as we had a couple of hours to kills before we needed to leave for Auckland. Charlie (the co-host of the B&B) has recently handed over control of the farm to his son and he now calls himself “the half” on a staff of 3 and a half. With around 350 acres and a 400 head herd of cows we were given a background on breeding, milk production and testing and the economics of running a farm. The most interesting fact (for me) was that apparently when New Zealand dairy cows are past their useful life and are sent for slaughter they end up in the USA where their meat is mixed with that of the domestic cattle. This is because the New Zealand cows have much higher meat content than their American cousins as they live mostly outside whereas American cows are fattier as they spend most of their life indoors. Quite sad really.
We took the 3:30 flight from Auckland to Dunedin and arrived in some bad weather. It looks like summer has (hopefully temporarily) forgotten about the South Island. Fingers crossed we get the sun back.
So in total on the North Island we cover almost exactly 2,000 km and have enjoyed some really remarkable places, however we hardly feel like we’ve scratched the surface. The question at the end of the day is how much time is ‘enough’? We bumped into some people yesterday who are covering both Islands in 14 days which sound’s more like a movie trailer! Our favorite things on the North Island (and our regrets / markers for next time).
- Bay of Islands (more time for island hopping / trails and walks)
- Coromandel’s deserted beaches (some free time to laze on the beaches)
- Tongariro National Park (so many walks….so little time, next time we will definitely attempt the Tongariro Crossing)
We are trying out B&B’s on this tour which has limited our travel flexibility a little (as we mostly booked in advance), although travelling in the shoulder season as we are I suspect we did not need to be so cautious. We have met some fabulous people so far although we also think that a campervan may have been more suitable / doable in some areas. Again this is something to think about next time.
For those following the blog, I have added some more photo’s to the last few days tours (which i couldn’t do previously due to a slow wireless link!)