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New Year Trip: 11~From White to Welly

Back on the boat after the tour Mike and I grabbed the same seats outside as there was still plenty to see. Loads of seabirds for a start.

Gannet? Gull?

The boat puttered away from its anchorage, the skipper giving us a closer look at and some commentary about the island’s coastline and habitat.

On the far hill are trees burned by the volcanic climate; the near hill has a colony of gannets

More gannets. Can anyone else see the face-like thing going on in this photo or is it just me?

Then we headed west back toward Whakatane. No dolphins this time.

Settling in for another 80 minute boat ride

Seabirds behind the boat

One last look back to Whale Island.

Near the Whakatane River mouth you can't help but notice that part of the cliff has slipped in a big way. One of the crew I think commented that it happened about 18 months before in another big rain. Most interesting though: the ex-mayor lives in the house directly beneath and he refuses to leave.

Back on land we checked into our new room, the result of a bit of a muck-up earlier in the day. We did very well out of it as the half-villa was much nicer than our bog standard (though still perfectly adequate) motel room. I eyed up the bath – it and I would be getting better acquainted later on…

First though it was tea time. We walked across the road to order fish and chips from a very popular place on the wharf and then drove down to the end of the road, near the river mouth. Fish ‘n’ chips is best consumed at the beach, or at least with view of the water. It was a bit windy and cool out so we stayed in the car. To the dismay of the locals.

Lurking seagulls but they scored no tidbits from us

Unfortunately the next day was the last of our holiday :(. Car packed and TomTom programmed, we headed for home. The first part of the route included roads I’m not sure I’d ever been on and where other traffic was seldom encountered. Galatea Road extended some distance and revealed a couple of interesting highlights.

Shot past this old garage (<something> Motors on the sign) and did a u-turn so that I could take a couple of quick snaps

Another finding on Galatea Road, the Matahina Dam in the process of spilling water down river. Not massive by hydro power station standards, it is the second largest earth dam in NZ. It was damaged in the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake and subsequently strengthened.

As if I wasn’t already aware that the holiday was screaming to a halt, with my workplace also being in the electricity industry this stop was another reminder that I’d be back in the office the next day.

Later we diverted to Taupo for lunch – along with half the North Island it seemed. Ugh. And then it was State Highway 1 all the way home.

Home! Work. Sigh.

But what a great week away. Time now to start getting sorted for the big trip in May!

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Christine #

    Wonderful reading the extra bits of your trip Ley. – really interesting.
    Am looking forward to your May blogs!!
    Re the face – i see a horse with the solo tree its eye, a white blaze and the cliff to the left, its nose? Close?

    4 February 2012
    • Thank you. You do realise that you’ll be in a lot of the May blogs?! The two big clumps of birds are eyes, the bush line is hair, and the birds strung out along the bottom along with the cliff edge are a frowny face.

      5 February 2012
  2. Marnie #

    These lonely roads were our regular highways while taking the kids down to school.
    The Galatea Valley looks like it could have once been a lake bed eons ago, with its wide flat bottom and steep hills either side.
    Er – I can see about 17,846 gannet faces. Does that count? xxx

    5 February 2012
    • Eons ago like when you were a child? 🙂 x

      5 February 2012

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