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Auckland to Coromandel, New Zealand

We arrived in Auckland late on Friday 7th December. We spent the first couple of days in Auckland. We hadn't checked the ferry timetable so didn't get out to Rangitoto Island until lunch time on Saturday. We were pleased to bump into Mieke, Stephen & Manu while we wandering the streets of Auckland! We walked up to the summit of Rangitoto Island, and visted the lava caves on the way down.

Day 1: Tom on Rangitoto Island

Day 1: Kidney ferns

Day 1: Yellow flower

Day 1: Tom with Motutapu Island in the background

Day 1: Tom in a lava tube

The pohutakawas were flowering well everywhere we went

We left Auckland and drove to the Coromandel for a few days. The first two nights we stayed in a cottage on the western side of the peninsula. The property backed on to a lovely creek. We did a commercial canyoning trip down Sleeping God Canyon and visited the touristy Hot Water Beach and stayed at Hahei Beach. We finished our time in the Coromandel with an overnight walk to the Pinnacles Hut. Unfortunately the weather wasn't great so our dawn walk up to the Pinnacles didn't provide any views.

Day 2: Tom on the deck of our cottage

Day 2: Tom walking up the creek which backed on to the property we were staying at.

Day 3: Tom suited up in 5mm wetsuit about to start Sleeping God Canyon. We wore our volleys - though we could have borrowed shoes. The volleys went pretty well.

Day 3: The rope being pulled for the third abseil. This 80m waterfall was done as two abseils, with a rebelay point at the top-left of the photo.

Day 3: There were a number of jumping opportunities. This is Tom taking one of them!

Day 3: An unusual situation - Tom looking somewhat bemused as his gear is checked by Wayne (guide)

Day 3: Tom abseiling

Day 3: We did one guided abseil and two tyrolean traverses (flying foxes). This is Tom on the first tyrolean just before he starts flying (see video at xx). These were the highlighte for me since we never set up tyroleans when we go canyoning.

Day 3: Russ (guide) at the bottom of "Rainbow Falls". He forgot to remove the biner block on the rope for the last rope on the tyrolean and had to jumar back up to release it.

Day 3: Tom standing on one of the Kauri logs that are jammed in the creek. The region was heavily logged for Kauri and for a while the method of getting them out of the mountains was building Kauri dams and then releasing the logs with large flows of water. This wasn't a particularly efficient method of getting the kauri to the bottom with about 20% being lost to splintering or getting jammed.

Day 3: Tom abseiling "the funnel". We had brilliant warm weather for the trip and the water flow was low to average. This was the most water we had to deal with - nothing that we haven't experienced in the Blue Mountains. In high water flow this would be a challenging section of canyon.

Day 3: Tom still in "the funnel"

Day 3: The rope got jammed on the pull-down and Wayne did a ballsy free climb up the face on the left to retrieve it. (you can see him close to the top)

Day 3: Looking back up the canyon. We were all lowered on the previous abseil (you can see Russ's bag at the top of the cliff on the right)

Day 3: However both the guides jumped it!

Day 3: The final tyrolean was called "surprise" (said in a Chinese accent for some reason). I went first and was somewhat perturbed to have descended 3m only to realise that the rope I was abseiling on was about to run out. Surprise! You then zipped down the rope which Wayne was controlling at the bottom... so he then dumped you in the pool when he felt like releasing the rope.

Day 3: Some of the party then spent time climbing the "impossible rock" and doing more jumps. This is Tom the first time.

Day 3: Russ mid way through a jump

Day 3: Tom on his second jump (a backflip) - he doesn't actually belly flop

Day 3: Looking up the creek from Billy Goat Landing

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