We have returned to Satori after one more short trip around the Northland of North Island. This time we went all the way to the northern tip, Cape Reinga.

In the last message we told you a little about the campgrounds. This time we stayed each of our three nights at a different Top 10 Holiday Park. This is a chain of 49 holiday parks around North and South Island. Although they are each a bit different in quality and atmosphere, they are all held to a certain high standard that you can count on as you travel. We have used a standard cabin each night and the price has ranged from $26-35 USA. We continue to marvel at the efficiency and variety available for travelers.

Besides cabins the campgrounds have tenting areas with picnic tables and powered areas for caravans. Tenting costs approximately $7-$10 per person and the powered units cost $15-$23 per unit. The Top 10 parks are not the only facilities available. There are multitudes of them and they are well used! We decided that the most economical way to go would be with a compact car to save on the cost of gasoline. At the cost of slightly over $3/gallon, that could be important. We carry our food in a cooler and carry sleeping bags for those cooler nights. We make reservations each night for the next night or the next few nights. This would probably not be necessary, but it gives us peace of mind to spend some quality time somewhere if we wish rather than hurrying on to be sure that we have a place for the night. OK! That’s the plan and we hope that we will be able to report that it was a good one when we return.

One of the photos shows Sander hard at work on the removal of one of the pilot house windows. They have all been cleaned up and are now in Auckland being reanodised. When they return to Whangarei, the local marine aluminum window person is charged to reset the Lexan in the frames using a MS Polymer sealer. He has estimated that the work will be finished by the third week in March. With all that time to wait we decided to head right back out again and do the tour of South Island. How exciting…glaciers, mountain ranges, coastal roads both along the Tasman Sea and the Pacific! We decided to get this short note out to you to show you a small sample of the scenery in Northland. The second shot is taken on Cape Reinga back towards Cape Maria van Diemen. We had a gloriously sunny day when we went to the Cape. Some had recommended we take a tour bus so that both of us could enjoy the scenery. No thanks…and it was a good decision. We arrived about 11 AM and were ready to depart about 11:45. On the way back we counted a total of eleven tour buses bearing down on the Cape. We have two tours in mind for the South Island, but most of the time we will be very happy to be on our own.

The third photo was taken on the way back to Whangarei. It was such a typical ranch picture that we could not resist it. For those of you who like to use phrases which sometimes are a bit colorful, you might enjoy this one. Sheep are a big part of the Kiwi way of life. They actually have a word for the little wads that gather in the soft fur around the sheep’s bum end. They are called “Dags”. There actually is a profession here in NZ for a “Dag Picker”. Luckily he picks the dags after the sheep is sheared though.

If someone is hustling you along and you want to caution them, you can say, “Don’t rattle your dags, Mate!” We think it is one of the best that we have heard of in quite a while!

We plan to leave on March 2 and spend about 4 weeks on the road. We will continue to connect to the email system as we travel so don’t be shy about writing and asking any questions that come to your mind. We believe that NZ is a wonderful country to visit and hope that we will plant the seeds for that travel in some of your minds. Academy Awards tomorrow though and Jane will be planted in front of the TV for that. We saw the third movie of the Lord of the Rings here in Whangarei and marveled at some of the scenery. For those of you who have seen it, the best was the lighting of the beacons through the mountains. Please try to see this movie in the theatre. The goose-bumps will make it all worth while! We will be watching the category for “Best Supporting Actress” too. The youngest nominee yet is up for this award for her part in “Wave Rider”. She is from NZ. Personally, I loved Renee Zelwegger in “Cold Mountain” though.

That’s all for this installment. Thanks to all of you who keep in touch with us. We cherish the continued friendships more that you will ever know!

Jane and Sander