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The best of our five months in New Zealand was spent on the many Islands surrounding this Island nation.  This little section of our web site will try and give you a bit of a feel for the delightful islands.

East coast of Great Barrier IslandOur favorite island was Great Barrier Island.  This big island shoulders aside the large waves of the open South Pacific Island protecting the Hauraki Gulf and Auckland area.  We visited this mystical place four times.  Each subsequent time was better than the last.  We thoroughly explored the bays and hills of the island and tasted the fruits of its waters.  Great Barrier Island is pretty cool. 

Check out some more pictures here.
The landing on hot water beach was a little challenging but the departure was even more soThe crowds get a little thick on hot water beach - but it is still coolHot Water Beach is a pretty interesting place.  The beach is exactly as the name implies.  A beach where the water runs hot.  A hot spring trickles through the sand and if you carve out a little hole in the sand, it will fill with hot water.   
Cathedral Cove is a great stop for a day but the anchorage is exposed.Cool Bananas showed us some excellent locations in New ZealandCathedral Cove is right next door to Hot Water Beach.  The cove has great marble cliffs, arches and clear warm water.  We anchored in Cathedral Cove but a swell came up making it uncomfortable on board.  To escape the swell we zipped around the corner into Cooks Bay, spend the night, then came back to enjoy a day in the cove.
Kawau Island has lots of terrific hiking trails
Kawau Island is another fantastic Kiwi Island.  At the start of the last century a copper mining company developed the Island.  The operation left a few holes in the ground and buildings that are still in use.  A prior Governor of New Zealand cleaned up the site and developed the island into a resort.  A quick slide show is here.

Rae is riding Dive Tutekaka's high speed boat out to the Poor Knights Islands in a rough sea.The Poor Knights Islands were named by Captain Cook when he "discovered" the islands in the 18th Century.  The Islands have the best diving in new Zealand and are a designated marine sanctuary.  One of the unique features of the islands is the largest accessible sea cave in the world.  This cave was formed when the islands were in a volcanic state and a big bubble of gas formed in the molten rock.  We sailed the dive boat into the cave and hung out for a while.  The acoustics were phenomenal.  Want a little tour of the Poor Knights?  Click here.

New Zealand is a wonderful place with many unique locations.  These are just a few.
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