Waitakere Ranges Regional Park and Piha Beach, New Zealand

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Today, our day starts out with a quiet Monday morning stroll to breakfast in Auckland.

After some milling around Auckland shopping and checking out the harbor sights, it was off to Waitakere Park which is up on the rim of an ancient volcano.

Off in the distance and a good stretch from my 70mm lens is downtown Auckland.

Next up, a hike in the rainforest.

These ferns are spectacular.

One of the nice things about New Zealand is that there is nothing here that will bite, sting or kill you in the forest. Well, other than maybe the odd mosquito or honey bee.

Piha Stream babbles its way off the craters rim.

This looks like a tropical paradise but in actually it’s a relatively cool climate.

This forest was dominated by huge hardwood trees that live to 2000 years old but those were all cut down and shipped to San Francisco in the early 1900s. Now the country is trying to reestablish that forest.

Piha Beach is just down the road and opens up to the Tasmanian Sea.

It’s a beautiful black volcanic sand beach.

Apparently it is a desirable surfing spot as well. As far as I can tell, Kiwis are either into cycling, surfing or sailing…… or Rugby!

It was nice to reload my shoes with New Zealand sand, I had just finally got rid of all my Padre Island sand from a couple weeks ago.

This is lion rock, obviously not named by the indigenous people. By the way, this is the last part of the planet to be settled by human beings and has only been occupied for about 900 years.

A short time later, we were looking down on Lion Rock and Piha Beach. I guess that rock looks like a lion if you squint really hard. On a related note, apparently this area is know to be a hot spot for the wacky tabacy use of the locals.

A zoomed view. Next up on our adventure, the Backroads Bubble!

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