We flew out of Brisbane 2 weeks ago landing at the Auckland airport around 5pm.
We jumped on the courteous bus which drove us a few minutes down the road to Go Rentals to pick up our vehicle. A quick run around the car with my phone camera to document its condition before heading south to our first stop, Hamilton.
(Click on gallery pictures to view larger image)
Using Trip Advisor to help me choose a comfortable and reasonably priced motel, I booked us into the Red Rock Motel as we drove along the road from Hobbiton to Rotorua. I pretty much used this method of finding accommodation throughout our trip.
We took a short drive around Rotorua and had a drink and delicious seafood chowder at a craft beer place in town.
New Zealand is about 3 hours ahead of us here in Oz (Australia) so we were struggling to get up and going the next morning. We packed the car and headed to Skyline taking the gondola up to the restaurant for breakfast.
Leaving Rotorua we went to Whakatane stopping for a coffee and sandwich then drove along the coastline to Hicks Bay spending the night at the Hicks Bay Motel Lodge. The drive was amazing and I would highly recommend anyone visiting the country to visit the Bay of Plenty.
Another bleary eyed morning. The breakfast served at the lodge was gobbled down, the car packed and we followed the east coast line south to Gisborne, stopping at many of the bays to take photographs. Te Araroa was particularly stunning
We based ourselves at the Senator Motor Inn in Gisborne for the next 4 nights . It’s situated along the river and opposite the marina and docks, just a short stroll into the main shopping precinct.
Day-tripping, we covered a lot of ground between Gisborne, Rere, Tinaroto, Wairoa and the Mahia Peninsula. The Morere hot springs and the beautiful Mahia peninsula are two things that absolutely delighted me.
My nature father’s family come from the Mahia area. I had information that lead me to believe I had connections to the Marae at Opoutama and made arrangements to meet the secretary there who would give me access.
Sonia meet me at a local garage and I followed her into Mahia. She had contacted some people in the area who she thought may be related to me. A lovely couple were waiting for us at the marae however before going in we needed to determine my heritage line. There are 2 main Campbell families in the area. There are also quite a few marae belonging to the different descendants.
We all went back to their place for a cup of tea and some investigatory work.
Next time; Whakapapa – continue
The war records of a man I believed was my great-grandfather and that I have been carrying with me for years… is not my great-grandfather.
My father’s line does come from the area however I was at the wrong Marae.
A strange and demanding pull to go to the far south-east side of the peninsula and an unusual recurring dream (I don’t often dream) of an island beach, ocean trench, orcas dolphins and whales brings the question, are we pre-programmed like migratory birds to return to ancestral lands.
I’m in Napier meeting my father, drink feigoa wine and eating home-made mussel fritters.