Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari and Raglan
We decided to call in at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari and Raglan on our way back to Auckland (there was no time to rest).
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is a reserve on the triple peaks of an old volcano; a paradise area for lots of traditional New Zealand species thanks to a 47km pest-proof fence.
When the British arrived in New Zealand years ago they bought a lot of 'pests' with them that unfortunately changed the ecosystem on the Kiwi islands and decimated large numbers of animal and plant species. The fence is mouse, possum and cat proof and has allowed native species to flourish again; including kiwis, kakas, ferns and much more.
We had a guided walk through parts of the sanctuary (with an informative, although not that enthusiastic guide). We were there in time for the feeding of kakas (a native parrot), whose numbers have increased thanks to the pest eradication. Unfortunately it was raining when we were there and so weren't many birds about, we did see a few fantails and tuis though. Mum seemed to enjoy the gift shop there... purchasing a tweeting kiwi cuddly toy for my brothers nursery class.
Driving really isn't a chore in New Zealand, everywhere you look there's stunning landscapes to keep you entertained. The drive into Raglan was beautiful (however mum was asleep for most of it), the road winded its way through rolling hills and past scenic rivers.
Raglan is a laid back surfer town with a picturesque beach front and cute cafes. We grabbed a nice lunch in one of the cafes while we waited for the rain to pass and then went for a walk along the beach front.
It was the strangest day, literally all 4 seasons at one time. We had glorious sunshine to our front and the rainiest, darkest clouds on our backs; at one point half of my body was in the rain while my other side was getting a tan.
We were staying at the same holiday park in Auckland; it meant that Jason got to get some more freebie food and my mum got to have fish & chips again for tea. It was also an ideal base for us to explore around Auckland again the next day.