Kia Ora!

A common greeting here in New Zealand.  Its Māori and means hello, good morning, etc. 

At the moment, I am experiencing a very rainy Tuesday morning here in KeriKeri, New Zealand.  Tuesday, November 22.  My friends on the east coast back in the US are presently enjoying their Monday afternoon, November 21st.  It’s Spring here, so flowers are everywhere and rain showers common though the north island has been in an unusually heavy rain pattern for a few weeks now with areas of flooding prior to my arrival.  According to my weather apps, the rain will continue into the foreseeable future, but so far, there have been breaks in the rain and storms to allow for exploring.  Hopefully the same will hold true for today and for the days to come as I have many sights to see.  

I arrived Auckland around 9am this past Saturday morning having left home around 4pm the previous Thursday afternoon. Passing through Customs was quick and easy as was catching a bus to a stop near my downtown Hostel where I could not check in until 2pm, so dropped my pack and set about finding food and wandering around Queen Street and the Piers.

Auckland’s Sky Tower.  My hostel was very near its base.

Those of you on Facebook have already seen that photo, but I think it’s the only one I took that day other than one of some sailboats I took for my brother. I was rather bleary eyed after the many hours of travel, but day 2 was an improvement as I felt better and got miles and miles of walking in before the rains set in.  

After coffee and breakfast at a lovely and tiny coffee shop called Remedy, just down from my hostel and where I met the two nicest local ladies who gave me their extra ticket to Auckland’s Annual Design/Craft Show happening that day down at the Pier, I set off for Mount Eden which I understand is a sacred Māori site atop which a beautiful view of the city could be had.  I took the panoramic banner photo at the top of this post from there.

As I walked uphill through town I passed through a vibrant University area along with a rather large and beautiful green area which houses the first Municipal Cemetery of Auckland, dating back to 1841.  There are lots of walking trails throughout this lovely wooded area which I imagine provides a pleasant respite in the midst of a busy city.  Not long after that I passed by my very first Church of Scientology. Who knew?  

Symond’s Street Cemetery

church of scientology

Up and up I continued to walk through the city which is presently undergoing lots of construction until maybe 2 miles later, I arrived at Maungawhau, aka Mount Eden, an ancestral mountain of Auckland.  It was historically one of the largest and most elaborate Māori Pā (fortified village settlements) in New Zealand and housed thousands of people. It is still a sacred place and one of much cultural significance. Fortunately it is open for the general public to enjoy though only on certain trails and raised boardwalks. 

It is a beautiful treed and grassy area with 360 degree views and was full of local families, joggers, and tourists out enjoying a non-rainy Sunday morning. In the banner photo at the top, you can see all the way down through town including the Sky Tower, out to the ocean, and the islands beyond.

I took a different route back into town so I could experience what is called, Pukekawa or The Auckland Domain, a 185 acre (huge) natural area developed around the cone of an extinct volcano.  Located within the city, the Domain has had many uses including the housing of American Troops during WWII and is currently home to the Wintergarden, New Zealand’s beautiful Art Deco War Memorial Museum, sports fields, and extensive walking tracks.  Take a look.

I sat on a low row of wooden amphitheater type seats to watch part of my first Cricket Match.  Fun!  I don’t understand it at all, but the pitching is very dramatic and fun to watch.

A creek runs through the Domain and feeds this lagoon full of ducks, swans, and turtles near the Wintergarden Cafe before running and tumbling through the trees on its way to the not too distant sea. 

After enjoying the Domain, I continued on through town to the Piers where I found the enormous, Shed 10 at the base of Queen Street which is where the Craft Show was being held.  Free ticket in hand, I entered… and exited within 5 minutes due to the crowds and the fact that it looked and felt much like the craft shows I have attended in America.  So it was off to lunch in a side street to Queen Street which by the way is the home of stores such as Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton etc.  I love it though because these stores are mixed in with the likes of The Bargain Chemist Warehouse, which is of course where I did my shopping for sun and face creams, insect repellant, multivitamins, etc having been given this tip by the nice ladies from breakfast. 

The rains had returned while I was eating my yummy veggie burger, so it was back to the Hostel for the rest of the day.  I fell asleep upon arrival at 4pm and only woke once before waking up for the day at 5am on Monday.

Before I move on to yesterday’s drive to Kerikeri, a word about insect repellent.  It was suggested on many platforms to wait until arrival to buy it since any purchased in the States would not work to ward off Sandflies which are apparently prevalent in NZ and Australia, so follow instructions I did and as it turns out, I am now protected against LEECHES as well! Ha!

I picked up my rental car yesterday at a downtown location less than a 10 minute walk from my Hostel.  I am now in possession of a white Kia Sportage with Apple CarPlay.  The Apple CarPlay is important because it tells me when and where to turn while I am busy sitting on the right side of the car and driving on the left side of the road.  Somehow the “Avoid highways and toll roads”  button was engaged, so instead of jumping on the interstate in Auckland, I spent an hour and a half driving amongst many other cars through traffic in towns, roundy-rounds, one lane bridges, traffic lights, turn lanes etc.  I guess the good Lord knew I needed a crash course in driving on the left from the right, so I got it in spades.  I finally figured out what was going on with the navigation and was safely able to pull over the rectify the situation and make it over to the main state highway heading north.   While Highway 16 is multi-lane in both directions heading into and out of Auckland, it becomes this idyllic country road before too long even though it is still the main north south artery.  I loved it!

With views like this the entire time.

Along with green fields of cattle and sheep interspersed with the occasional patch of goats or horses, I could occasionally catch views of the ocean down below. When I got out to take the above photo, all I heard were cows mooing and birds chirping. 

Before leaving Auckland I had decided to stop in Whangarei to take a walk in my first Kauri Forest and to see Whangarei Falls.  

FUN FACT:  In the Māori language, the letters wh together make the sound an F makes, so Whangarei is pronounced, Fun-gur-ree.

I chose the AH Reed Memorial Park because it is said to be a great example of original Northland Kauri Forest.  At one time, Kauri forests covered the Northland, but were very heavily logged for gum and straight grained timber, so much so that very few remain. This is one of them and I will see the another in a week or so.  The other one is on the West side of the Northland and holds the two largest Kauri trees in existence.  A mature Kauri tree is at least 500 years old and I think those two are in the thousands of years old.

As mentioned earlier about the airport customs making sure nothing is brought in that would adversely affect the flora here, there are shoe disinfecting stations in the forests.

On a plaque next to the largest Kauri tree in this forest, the photos of which have vanished.  Below was taken from the boardwalk 30-40 ft in the air to protect the fragile roots and shoots growing below.

The boardwalk above winding through the Kauri Forest and below is the Hatea River leading from the Whangarei Falls. How nice the two trails were connected making it easy to see the Falls and the Forest together.

I couldn’t get the waterfall video to load properly, so here is a photo.  It’s just over 85 feet tall  

So that’s it for now.  It’s still raining with occasional thunder, but I’ll venture out at least for a drive and a bite to eat.

Until next time…


A note about commenting, should you be so inclined, which I hope you will because I love hearing from folks following along!

If you type your name in the Name Box, your comments won’t show up as Anonymous and I’ll know it’s you.  Also, should you choose, you can fill in your email address in the provided box next to the Name box.  If you do this, you will get an email telling you I have replied to your comment and what I said.




  • Heather

    November 22, 2022

    I love all your photos…especially the ones from your hike! Thanks for taking so much time to journal and share your experiences with all of us!

  • Hill

    November 22, 2022

    Just looking at some of those pics and without yet reading, I’m already inspired to make 1 comment:
    A guy I sailed with once asked if I’d been to NZ. I said not yet. He paused and said it’s really beautiful. And then after a much longer pause said, like people landscaped the whole place!
    Your pics reflect his enthusiasm. (love I could spellcheck that)
    Now back to your blog.

  • Anonymous

    November 22, 2022

    Margie! Thank s again for taking us along your adventures! I so love the commentary and photos! Safe travels & spirited blogs!!

  • Lorie

    November 22, 2022


  • Lorie

    November 22, 2022


  • Terry P

    November 22, 2022

    I so enjoy your journeys. The places I have never been, I can enjoy through your photos and documentary of all the sights
    I love the waterfalls and the forests
    I’m celebrating along with you as your eyes feast on beauty🥰

    • Margie

      November 23, 2022

      Wonderful! I’ll be posting a doozy of a waterfall in the next post. Hope I can get my video capabilities sorted by then. Great having you along!

  • Janet Feinberg

    November 23, 2022

    I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand and I’ll be content for now to journey along with you and your gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    • Margie

      November 23, 2022

      So lovely to have you along, Janet.

  • Silver Hjellen

    November 24, 2022

    Margie, love following you along and soaking in your amazingly beautiful photos. As I believe I shared with you, in 2008. I took my granddaughter, 19 yrs old, and her hubby, 24 yrs old (it was love at first sight for each of them) to NZ for 2 weeks of environmental volunteer work and then 2 weeks of traveling, mostly in the South Island, officially named Te Waipounamu. We only traveled in the North Island on the 3 weekends there–we worked near Wellington. SO, I love seeing and reading about the North Island through ‘your glasses’.
    Love, Silver

  • Tena

    December 20, 2022

    Like reading a new mystery series, I like to start at the beginning, so that’s what I’m doing with your posts. What a beautiful place you landed. Hopefully the rains have lessened and you’re getting some sunshine!

    • Margie

      December 21, 2022

      Oh fun! Glad you’ve started at the beginning. How did you like the Stewart Island mystery?


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