Friday was more relaxing. After a lazy start ...
... we headed for Kerikeri, where we spent the morning exploring the picturesque old riverfront store and homestead - now museums - and walking to an old pa (a Maori hill fortification) site nearby.
After arranging our accomodation for the night, we headed west to NgaWha (pronounced na-fa) Springs for soak in some very interesting, and very unusual, hot water mineral springs. The decor was somewhere between Dali and Hundertwasser! About half of the pools, which all had names, were just too hot for me to stay in for more than a few seconds. The water in some was almost black, coloured by a colloidal muddy material, but it didn't feel dirty at all ... very relaxing, and quite different from the usual kiwi "hot pools" experience. Not to be missed if you're ever in this neck of the woods.
On the way back to KeriKeri, we stopped briefly at this old church, built in 1871 on the site of the Battle of Ohaeawai, fought in 1845. Both the church and the graveyard are obviously still being used regularly.
On the Saturday morning we were up early, packed and ready to leave by 9 o'clock, but couldn't leave before the girl;s had visited the playground.
We headed south through the occasional very heavy rain showers, with strong winds that almost blew the van off the road a couple of times, and were in Auckland by lunch time. After a very welcome cuppa and meal at the McCartneys, we headed for home.