Mary and Gordon Down-under in New Zealand

Mary and Rebeca Itzcowitz spent the first week in Auckland at the World Forum Conference, and I (Gordon) arrived late Friday night by plane from Sydney Australia.
The following pictures are in three groups - the first two groups are accessed just by sliding your mouse over the pictures, the last group by mousing over each little sample picture..
The first group comprises mostly pictures taken on the Saturday thru Monday, when the three of us traveled first to Coromandel, which is on a rocky/hilly peninsular to the south-east of Auckland. We stayed the night in a simple B&B. overlooking an inner bay with lots of islands. The Sunday morning we went to 2 local beaches - in one you can see the mussel beds, the other had some rock-tower constructions on the beach, amplified by Mary and Rebeca, while I built a little dam on the sandy part. Then the rain started, and was heavy for the rest of the day... We had lunch in a sports bar on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsular, and then drove along the coast and slghtly inland to Rotorua, the site of lots of hot springs and volcanic activity. After finding a hotel (most places were deserted), we ate dinner and then relaxed for an hour in a private hot pool of the spa -a great end to a wet day!
We had a fascinating Monday morning at the Te Puia Maori Cultural Center, (see the Haka dance pictures on the other page), and also the hot springs, mud pools, etc., plus a great gift shop! In the afternoon we drove back to Auckland, stopping on the way at a wool shop in the little town of Tirau (see the picture of the corrugated-iron guilding in the shape of a sheep), where Mary got some possum wool and I got a possum sweater (possums are a pest in New Zealand, introduced from Australia, and have helped to kill off quite a few of the native species.) We dropped off Rebeca at Auckland airport and zoomed north to the hot springs resort of Waiwera (on the East coast). Our motel had its own hot springs pool, and especially since we were the only guests both the 2 nights, we took full advantage, relaxing there each night/morning.
The second set of pictures shows mainly collecting shells and rocks on the beautiful deserted beaches - all very different - just to the north - at Omaha Bay and at the wildlife sanctuary of Goat Island - beautiful weather and very relaxing.
The third set of pictures includes both the east coast and the much wilder west coast where we spent our final wednesday - this included a visit to the tropical forests museum (see the tree pics) with its usual story of the nineteenth century loggers denuding the area - which is now recovering. Tursday we had to return to Waiwera to pick up Gordon's passports (take note Kylah!), but stopped at Shakespeare beach on the return - a beautiful place, which even had some Japanese tourists feeding the local peacocks (old Bill would have loved it!).

Move over thumbnail (above and below the pic) to view full size picture
Beache bum Reflections on Mary Mary the thinker Looking east Looking west The west beach Black rocks and Mary Mary's sand hill
Treefern from above Treefern from below Treefern umbrella Tree growing in a tree Waiwera motel foliage Birds in a tree The Tui bird
(white beard)
Positive Alison, negative sculpture
A few scenes from beautiful New Zealand