Didn’t get to swim with the dolphins after all but had an amazing day nonetheless. We were on a big jet boat tour and, although we found a couple of “pods” of dolphins, we couldn’t swim with them because there were baby dolphins in both and swimming with juveniles isn’t allowed. All the same Sue, Amy and I got to lie on the bow of the boat as the little scamps jumped out of the water at you, showing off, doing little jumps and spraying water at us. Apparantly they love it when you talk or sing to them, not because of the sound (which doesn’t penetrate water) but because of your facial expressions, just like human babies. Very difficult to take photos - by the time you’ve pressed the button all that’s left is a splash - but I’ll scan some of my efforts when we get back to Auckland.

Yesterday we had a day’s coach trip to Cape Reinga on a Kiwi Experience bus. Kiwi bus journeys are more like activity days out rather than just a means of transport because they stop off along the way at interesting points such as waterfalls and historic stuff. On this trip our slightly odd driver Wallace drove us along 90 mile beach along the west coast of the North, splashing through the water and then on to sand dunes which we Boogie Boarded down. Very knackering to walk up the soft sand and then it was over in seconds as you hurtle down the slope lying on the board. The Cape was quite impressive and you could watch the Bank of Columbia where the waves of the Tasman Sea (bit between Oz and NZ) and the Pacific Ocean crash together.

Going to Kerikeri tomorrow to watch a traditional Maori dance thing and then we’re back on the bus back to Auckland. I’ve hired a car for us and then we’re driving up the Coromandel Pennisula - the eastern part of the prong at the top of NZ - to Whitianga and its hot pools. Starting to feel like proper backpackers now!