I created another short of our drive to Mangawhai. Eric and I have never driven a car on the left side of the road. Both of us have confused the windshield wiper switch for a turn signal. The northern part of the North Island reminds me of the California coast with a mix of St. Lucia--beautiful, alien and yet familiar. We have visited with a few locals and learned a lot about the native and imported plant life.
The people here are so nice. All it takes is a salutation to enter a wonderful dialogue. Despite a difference in colloquialisms, people are people wherever one travels.
Eric is a prolific writer by trade, so check out his blog for more details of our adventure.