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So day two sees us heading north to the Bay of Islands via a day trip detour to Tiritiri Matangi island.

Getting use to driving an automatic is weird. So far I've braked heavily trying to use the clutch at least twice, put the car in some other drive mode more trying to change gear, and the indicators are on the opposite side to add to the confusion. It's a nice big car though should make for some relaxed driving especially given the lower speed limits; the one thing I'm not enjoying is not being sure how much power I'll have available at any given moment.

The island of Tiritiri Matangi was very pretty; it, in the last 30 or 40 years or so, was converted back from farm land to a nature reserve, removing rats (via dropping poison across the island via helicopter) and reintroducing plants and native birds. All done by a team of volunteers one now 91 and still doing the guided walks. It’s not completely converted so you can go from seeing grass and thistles and other English plants to entirely native plants in a matter of feet. It adds to the generally surreal feeling of being a lot like England at times and then very much not.

Ended up being a good three or four hours of walking, lots of being shouted at by birds, and we managed a few photos. Lots of interesting little tour bits of info from our guide too. It was good we were in a small group consistent of us, a pair of Taiwanese honeymooners and a woman from Cardiff.

Once back on the mainland I drove us 3 hours north to Paihia which was mostly fine except from a night driving section if blind sharp corners. Funniest part was the directions to the motel where we're currently staying was basically drive straight for 200kms then take a left and you're at the destination. Also really happy with the motel owner, upgraded our room and parked the car as after 3 hours of driving I was struggling to get the automatic gearbox to let me make small controlled movements up an incline.

Just hoping now for no repeat of last nights likely jet lag related insomnia.

Also saw a stingray and some penguins in the wild :)

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