Day 9: Kerikeri - Karikari - Ngatu Lake
4 January 2010
560km - map

Today we had planned to take a boat trip around the Bay of Islands to do some dolphin spotting but by the time we enquired about the morning excursion it was too late to join it and rain and high winds were forecast for the afternoon which would make for a less than pleasant boat trip. So instead we decided to head further north with the idea of dolphin spotting postponed for a day. After being diverted down some back roads due to a road closure we arrived in Kerikeri and had some brunch - some lovely bacon and eggs on toast for me and eggs benedict for Sarah.

Heading towards 90 mile beach we saw signs for dolphin spotting tours in 'Doubtless Bay' on the Karikari peninsular so we investigated... We didn't find any sign of any dolphin spotting tours, just very exposed, wind-swept landscape. All was not lost though as we found a rather nice vinyard set upon a hill with welcoming signs of open public wine tasting. So we stopped for a quite sample of their wines and bought a couple of bottles of their sauvignon blanc.

Back on the main road towards 90 mile beach we stopped to buy some lamb to barbeque (We're in New Zealand afterall!) and a few other sundries and opted for a road-side rest area for the night by a place called Ngatu Lake. The wind and rain that had scuppered our chances of a boat trip and made driving a high-sided vehicle all the more interesting earlier in the day subsided and a still evening followed by the lake with just two other campervans joining us. At night it was incredibly still and quiet, just the gentle lapping of the waves on the edge of the lake. We were far enough away from civilisation to see millions more stars than usual in the night sky, although I couldn't seem to capture them on film even with my tripod - still a long way to go with learning how to use the new camera I fear.

The Karikari Peninsular Winery
Wine tasting - Yum!
Ngatu Lake