Well our delayed flight was further delayed until 5am due to another engine problem - it wasn't actually attached to the plane this time. We had to wait for a spare engine from another plane to be fitted to the wing. All of which was quite interesting as the old engine was being taken off at the same time a new was being fitted on the same wing, all Boeing 747's have a concealed mounting on each wing so in effect they can have 6 engines attached to the plane, 3 on each wing, a normal plane has only four. Anyway the delay time was pretty minimal and we evetually got going just after 5am. We also had been reassigned new seat numbers and by chance got a couple of exit row seats with loads of leg room. The doors closed and the disorientating inflight meals and crossing of international date lines began again. Onward flights were held at Sydney and we, eventually, landed at Auckland airport at 12.30am, lovely.
Just had the one day in Auckland, spent that running around in the rain and sleeping, horrible jetlag. Then it was on to Paihia in the Bay Of Islands. Cyclone Wilma had been expected to hit the Northland during the night, there was no evidence of it in Auckland but the bus was detoured and had to venture through huge floods heading north - plenty of peoples homes gone and the railway washed away. Arrived at Paihia, had mistakenly booked in at a backpackers hostel, huge mistake, never again, party central, like trying to sleep in Nexus.
Early the next morning (was ready by 4am!) we got the bus to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach, this was a fab day. Bus raced up the beach with fab views and sunshine until it arrived at the stream that is used as an exit road - waters really high due to cyclone. Bus drove into a huge hole in the water trashing the front end and then we all had to jump out to push it out of quicksand. Got parked and went sand boarding - which is where the worst of the sunburn occured. Dunes were huge, climbing them exhausting, not convinced it's worth it for the slide down. Next was the trip to Cape Reinga itself, on the way bus started swaying alarmingly (as rear wheel spring had snapped!), we limped to the far north of New Zealand and then repairs and phone calls began, by luck an Aussie truck mechanic was on the tour and he bodged a repair to the bus (with a block of wood and zipp ties!) that got us back to the all important fish and chip shop at Manganui where we were met for our surfing trip to Taupo Bay.
Surfing at the bay with Isobar surf was great, lovely peaceful place, stunning scenery, good food and beer, sunburn, we stayed an extra day!
Back in Paihia now, had a grand boat trip this morning to see dolphins, had a great trip saw large pod of Bottlenose Dolphins that entertained us for quite a while and then saw a small, sleepy pod of Common Dolphins much futher out. Busy now trying to sort next leg of journey, accommodation in Auckland is expensive and the bus can't fit us in until Saturday, but it's 33 degrees, sort of unbearable and we think we can get a bus to Rotorua in the morning - will skip a couple of days but we are heading for the cold!
No memory card thing on this PC so no pics this time.