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Sunday 2 Feb 2014
Whakatane, New Zealand

Lemons and Kiwis

Another long driving day took me from Whitianga to Whakatane, some 300km out of the Coromandel peninsula and east along the coast.  I didn’t use the sat nav, thinking my route followed the main roads anyway, but I missed a turning somewhere early on and ended up in Paeroa, a long way inland.  Paeroa is famous for its soda springs, world famous in fact, according to the L&P slogan.  Many years ago, the spring water was bottled with lemon juice and sold as Lemon and Paeroa.  It has been a national drink ever since and is advertised as World Famous in New Zealand!  Sadly, these days it is owned by Coca-Cola, so it is no longer run by Kiwi owners, but it is still bottled locally.  I put myself back on the right road and picked up the coast again.  I stopped off in Te Puke (rhymes with cookie, not fluke) to see the Kiwi farm at Kiwi 360 with its giant Kiwi fruit.  A fiberglass Kiwi slice stands about 10m high on the side of the highway, green on one side for the classic fruit and gold on the other, for its lesser-known, sweeter cousin.  The Bay of Plenty region provides the bulk of New Zealand’s Kiwi farming and the shop here was keen to point out the many different uses – everything from simple eating, to spirits, chutneys, lip balms and jewellery.  It was hard to turn down a tour of the fruit farm in a giant kiwi train, but I pressed on, finally reaching Whakatane after five hours of driving.

I caught up on the last episode of Sherlock over dinner in the hostel lounge.  In a spooky coincidence, Gerry Refferty’s Baker Street came on the radio in the kitchen at the exact moment that Watson touched the knocker on the door of 221B Baker Street.  What are the chances? 

I booked at trip out to White Island, the reason I had driven so far today.  The island is the caldera of an active volcano, full of sulphur and steaming mud pools.  James, Rachel and I watched The Voyage of the Dawn Treader a couple of days ago, some of which was filmed on the island, so I had an idea of what to expect and I was looking forward to it.

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Zoe's Big World Adventure Part II - #4 New Zealand and Australia

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I had so much fun in New Zealand and Australia that I'm going back around again! This time I'll see more of the North Island and catch up with friends and family in Melbourne

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