17 May 2018 | Gulf Harbour Marina, Whangaparaoa Peninsula, New Zealand
15 May 2018 | Westhaven Marina, Auckland, New Zealand
13 May 2018 | Islington Bay, between Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand
11 May 2018 | Home (Southwest) Bay, Rotoroa Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand
10 May 2018 | Deep Cove, Whanganui Island, just off east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
08 May 2018 | Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island, New Zealand
07 May 2018 | Urquhart’s Bay, North Island, New Zealand
05 May 2018 | Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, North Island, New Zealand
01 May 2018 | Anchored off Port Whangarei Boatyard, North Island, New Zealand
26 April 2018 | Port Whangarei Boatyard, North Island, New Zealand
09 April 2018 | We are back in the Town Basin Marina, North Island, New Zealand
27 March 2018 | We are in Denver, Colorado, while Tregoning is in the Town Basin Marina, North Island, New Zealand
20 March 2018 | We are back in Gainesville, Florida, while Tregoning is in the Town Basin Marina, North Island, New Zealand
12 March 2018 | We are in Gainesville, Florida, while Tregoning is in the Town Basin Marina, North Island, New Zealand
21 February 2018 | Town Basin Marina, North Island, New Zealand
08 February 2018 | Town Basin Marina, North Island, New Zealand
04 February 2018 | Marsden Cove Marina, North Island, New Zealand
01 February 2018 | Motuarohia (or Roberton) Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
31 January 2018 | Opua Marina, Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
29 January 2018 | Mangahawea Bay, Moturua Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Starting our North Island road-trip

02 January 2018 | Otorohanga Holiday Park, Otorohanga, North Island, New Zealand
Photo: Beautiful flowers in the Indian Char Bagh enclosed garden in Hamilton
After two weeks of glorious summer weather in Whangarei, as soon as we planned to take a road-trip, the forecast started calling for rain for most of the week. Oh, well, at least conditions had been good while most Kiwis were taking their summer/Christmas vacations. We were taking to the road in Baxter, the car that Vandy and Eric (SV Scoots) had kindly loaned to us while they were back in the US. Our intention was to see the parts of the North Island that were south of Auckland, only some of which we had seen previously when riding through on the bus to Wellington.

It is unusual for me to use the blog's map when not traveling in Tregoning but our gazetteer gave GPS points for campgrounds and this will make it easier to follow our overland route in the North Island. Do not be fooled into thinking that we sailed around the North Island...we would like to have done it and visited Wellington, Nelson, and the Marlborough Sounds in Tregoning but time does not allow us to do this.

The statue of Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture Show in central Hamilton

Following Highway 1 through Auckland to Hamilton, we were planning to detour around the city center until Randall heard (from me reading aloud our Lonely Planet Guide) that in a small plaza there was a statue of Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Richard O'Brien, who both wrote the screenplay and performed as Riff Raff, worked as a hairdresser at the Embassy Theatre which had been near the statue's site. There were various other Rocky Horror Picture Show features in the plaza and we were not the only late-middle-aged couple taking photographs.

Randall doing the Time Warp in central Hamilton

Our real goal, on the south side of town, was the Hamilton Gardens which line one side of a bend in the Waikato River. Until 40 years ago, the site had been a sand quarry, rifle range, and rubbish dump. The park and gardens were gradually developed by Hamilton City Council and they are still expanding. Extraordinarily, other than $2 for an optional map, admission to the gardens is free and, being New Year's Day, the place was busy with families of delightfully diverse nationalities.

We especially liked the group of small enclosed gardens called the Paradise Garden Collection. These demonstrated some of the most significant design traditions that emphasized the garden as a refuge from the outside world. These gardens illustrated the: Chinese Scholars' - 10th to 12th century; Japanese Garden of Contemplation - 14th to 16th century; Italian Renaissance - 15th to 16th century; Indian Char Bagh - 16th to 17th century; English flower - 19th century; and Modernist West coast North America - late 20th century.

Mounds for growing kumara (sweet potato) in the Maori garden

Other garden styles were the Productive Gardens (Te Parapara Maori crops - which needed a little more interpretation); Traditional European kitchen; herb; sustainable backyard and the Fantasy Gardens which included a fine example of Tudor 16th century knot gardens. Rain cut our stay in these gardens a bit short and hastened our quick loop through the rose-garden.

Small hedges pruned into knot designs in the 16th century Tudor garden

Given the large number rose gardens we visited in the US in 2016, we have a bit of a soft spot for them, so as we continued south down Highway 3 we also made a brief stop at the Te Awamutu Rose Garden. We resisted the temptation to dawdle further at the town's museum with its shrine to local rock heroes, Tim and Neil Finn of Split Enz. That was one of my favorite bands when I was an undergraduate. Instead, we hurried on to Otorohanga where we were staying for the night in a campground cabin. The Lonely Planet described the town's main street as being "festooned with images of cherished Kiwiana icons: sheep, gumboots, jandals, No. 8 wire, All Blacks, Pavlova..." These turned out to be cartoonish decorations attached to lampposts rather than the actual items but various displays in the Ed Hillary (the Kiwi who was the first man to reach the top of Mount Everest) Walkway explained their significance to New Zealanders. By the way, jandals = flip flops and No. 8 wire is a particular thickness of fencing wire that is commonly used in New Zealand for other purposes...a bit like duct-tape in the US.

Hanging baskets of flowers along the main street of Otorohanga

Otorohanga is in the King Country which is part of the rural heartland of New Zealand. It was also a stronghold of Maori independence, remaining effectively off-limits to Europeans until 1883, decades after the signing of the Waitangi treaty between the British Crown and Maori chiefs (eventually numbering more than 500) in 1840. Maori tribes acted independently until 1856 when the influx of Britons was overwhelming. The Kingitanga (King Movement) with an elected king was formed to unite various tribes, with the hope of better resisting the further loss of land and culture. Governor Grey responded in 1863 by sending a huge force to invade the region around the Waikato River. The Kingites retreated south into King Country but eventually after facing huge losses of warriors and land confiscation, the British Crown prevailed. Despite this, the Maori monarchy, elected by leaders of various tribes, continues and the movement has many supporters although it has no formal constitutional role.

Randall and the 7-m tall sheep shearer statue in Te Kuiti

The following morning we continued south through King Country passing the popular Waitomo Caves where it is possible to float through glowworm caves or abseil down a cliff into other caves, wet or dry. In Te Kuiti, the self-proclaimed sheep shearing capital of the world, we paused to admire the 7-m tall (23-feet), 7.5 tonne statue of the Big Shearer. Adding this statue to the list for our "Voyage of Superlatives", we were a little sorry that we were missing the Great New Zealand Muster that occurs in Te Kuiti in late March. In addition to fiercely fought sheep-shearing competitions, the festival includes the Running of the Sheep, when 2000 of the animals stampede down the main street. While not providing quite as intimidating an image as the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, a street full of galloping sheep must be quite a woolly spectacle.
Vessel Name: Tregoning
Vessel Make/Model: Morgan Classic 41
Hailing Port: Gainesville, FL
Crew: Alison and Randall
About: We cast-off from Fernandina Beach in north Florida on 1st June 2008 and we have been cruising on Tregoning ever since. Before buying Tregoning, both of us had been sailing on smaller boats for many years and had worked around boats and water throughout our careers.
Extra: “Tregoning” (rhymes with “belonging”) and is a Cornish word (meaning “homestead of Cohnan” or “farm by the ash trees”) and was Alison's mother’s middle name. Cornwall is in southwest England and is where Alison grew-up.
Tregoning's Photos - Main
211 Photos
Created 29 January 2018
94 Photos
Created 15 October 2017
190 Photos
Created 21 June 2017
73 Photos
Created 12 February 2017
116 Photos
Created 12 February 2017
132 Photos
Created 24 January 2017
Extra photographs from our three-week campervan tour of the South Island from November 15th to December 5th 2015
217 Photos
Created 4 January 2016
Random pictures from our month spent on the islands of Hiva Oa, Tahuata, Ua Pou, and Nuku Hiva
45 Photos
Created 18 July 2015
Random pictures from our month spent in 4 Tuamotu Atolls; Ahe, Fakarava, Tahanea, and Toau
32 Photos
Created 1 July 2015
Some of the birds, fish, reptiles, and mammals (and others) that we have seen in Mexico
74 Photos
Created 5 May 2014
18 Photos
Created 18 November 2013