A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand

Trip to the Land (Marlborough Sounds) and back

We spent Tuesday preparing to go to "the land", which is Donna and Murray's name for their summer home on the Sounds. Picking vegetables, organizing groceries, etc. Although Don and Rob undertook the refinishing of the table top we have been using outside. They moved it to the shed and sanded the top, before applying a finish coat. There wasn't time to do the second coat, so that has to wait until we get back.
The Boys Working on the Table

The Boys Working on the Table


We got up early Wednesday morning and loaded up. Donna is staying here until Thursday morning as she has several meetings to attend today. So off in the van we went for a 3 hour drive to the Portage and then load up the boat and a short ride later we were at the land. We lazed around and Don, Rob, and Murray had discussions about work that needs to be done/how to do it/etc. We were visited several times by a Weka, a chicken-like flightless NZ bird.
Weka on outdoor cooking bench

Weka on outdoor cooking bench


Friday morning we reversed the process and left, Mani and I riding with Donna this time. We stopped at Pelorus Bridge for lunch (pies - a typical NZ lunch, apparently) (not sweet pies, meat and veggie pies!) and had a nice walk along a nature trail. We visited a beautiful waterfall and after returning to the cafe, the boys went for another hike and a swim, while the girls sat about and read.
Fairy-like Waterfall

Fairy-like Waterfall


On our way home thru Richmond, we picked up fish and chips for supper, another KIwi must, and then cleaned up to go out. We attended a lovely concert at the Boathouse Restaurant in Nelson. Blue Daiquiri played klesmer, jazz, and other music that was fantastic.

Posted by katdill 14:51 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Leaving New Zealand

Saturday, March 2

Donna, Murray and Mani went off very early for a snorkeling trip in a glass bottom boat and Don and Rob went over to Gemstone Bay to snorkel. I took a walk around town and discovered an Osage orange tree that is almost 150 years old! It was very close to our place but because we are always coming and going, no one had discovered it.
Osage Orange Tree

Osage Orange Tree


After they all got back, we packed up and took off for Auckland. We had lunch in a nice café in Thames and then on to return the rental car. We dropped Donna and Murray off at the Domestic Terminal and the rest of us were dropped at the International Terminal. Rob and Mani's flight left later than ours so we spent some time in the airport together and then it was time to say good bye. We had a good flight to LA and I even managed to sleep for awhile. We arrived in LA at 10:00 am Saturday morning so we got to live Saturday again! We had a wild goose chase for the health food store we wanted - first, I put LA in the GPS as the city it was in so we drove way up north thru construction and heavy traffic to find nothing at the address. Then when I corrected the mistake and put Manhattan Beach as the city, it was a UPS store! So maybe it is just a mail order business. Then we gave up and found our B&B and met Arvin, our host. After we got cleaned up we went over to my cousins', Marilyn and Vergil, and had supper with them. We had an early night so we could catch up on some sleep after our really long day!

Posted by katdill 07:58 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Exploring the Coromandel

Thursday, February 28 and Friday, March 1

Thursday morning we drove into Whitianga – Don and I need to buy groceries to make supper tonight, Mani to go to a bone carving workshop, and Rob to use the internet. Murray and Donna stayed back and went to Cathedral Cove by walking. We drove around by the road, dropped Mani off, parked outside the library so we could use their WIFI and got something to eat for lunch at a Bakehouse shop. Then we drove north out of Whitianga to Ring beach past Kuaotunu. We only spent ½ hour there, eating lunch, and then drove back to the supermarket in Whitianga for the groceries. Then the fish market and picked up Mani and came back to Hahei. Then everyone but me went down to Hot Water Beach, where you dig holes in the sand at low tide, looking for the hot springs to sit in. Apparently it was a zoo, with tons of people there, all looking for the best spot and then the tide starting to come in…just a gong show.Then we made supper and bed.
Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach


Friday we drove down to Paeroa to a bike rental spot. Murray, Donna, and Mani rode the bikes down the 14 km trail to the rail station at Waikino.
Setting out on the bikes

Setting out on the bikes


The rest of us drove to Waihi, and after checking out the working gold mine there, caught the little train back to Waikino. There we ate our lunches and then the bike riders showed up. So they took our return train tickets and we took the bikes and rode the 14 km back to Paeroa. It was a very easy trail, very flat, but sunny and hot. The most exciting thing about it was the 1 km long tunnel, lit only by faint ceiling lights. Some of the time it was riding by trust, because we couldn't see the ground in front of us! By the time we got there we were ready for a beer! After the others rejoined us we drove back to Hahei by going the long way round the Coromandel Penisula. We also stopped in Whitianga for supper – our last supper together for this trip. Then home to clean up the place for the morning.

Posted by katdill 07:49 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Travelling to Coromandel

Tuesday and Wednesday

Up early to pack up and leave. Then a long day in the car (6 ½ hours or so) to our rental in Hahei on the Coromandel Peninsula. We stopped in Thames for a picnic lunch in the park and bought groceries before finishing the drive. A very nice place with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms!
This morning I had an early beach walk and it is lovely. Lots of great sand but the surf looks challenging to someone as water challenged as I am. Don and Rob went off to Cathedral Cove to snorkel and after lunch Donna, Murray, Mani and I drove to the ferry landing and took the passenger ferry to Whitianga. I'm using the library WIFI in Whitianga to post all my updates. It is unlikely I will be posting again before either the Auckland airport or in LA on the weekend.
Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove

Posted by katdill 17:39 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Kiwi Country

Saturday, Sunday, Monday

Saturday we started out the day with a visit to Aroha Island, which is reached by a causeway. It is a kiwi sanctuary and has a nice trail all around the island – about 1 km. Very informative visitors centre. Then in to town for lunch at the “Food at Wharepuke” a lovely restaurant in a botanical garden. Had a very good lunch and a nice walk in the garden. There was even a little art gallery. We drove north to find some recommended swimming beaches. Stopped at Matauri Bay, but the wind was so strong it didn’t seem too pleasant. Then drove on to Te Ngaere beach and had a lovely swim. Back to town to do the grocery shopping before returning home for supper.

Sunday we got up at 6:00 am in order to drive over to Puketi Forest to bird watch. We got there before the sun was up and walked in the Kauri forest with the birds chattering away. Very beautiful, not bird watching but bird listening! A wonderful walk on a boardwalk thru the giant trees. Then we tried to find a gorge walk we saw on the map, but it started to rain and we couldn’t find where the trail started. As well, one trail sign said it took 2 ½ hours so we headed for home. We stopped in KeriKeri at the farmer’s market and bought some fruit, etc. Then home to have some breakfast and pack some food to take with us for lunch. We went to the free concert in the park, which turned out to be a young people’s talent contest. So we didn’t stay very long, but drove over to the Croquet Grounds and walked the trail into Charlie’s Rock. This is a lovely waterfall with a deep pool at the base and lots of good jumping in spots.
Charlie's Rock Waterfall

Charlie's Rock Waterfall


We had our lunch there and then a swim, with jumping in from high spots for some and just swimming for others. Got home quite early and the guys went to hike the ridge trail, while the girls rested. Then supper and bed.

Monday we drove over to Pahia to buy our tickets for the tall ship and then took the ferry over to Russell. The tall ship was called the R. Tucker Thompson and does 6 hour sailing trips for tourists.
The ship from the bowsprit

The ship from the bowsprit


The profits are put into teaching kids to sail – they take them out for a week and they live on the ship, catch their food, learn all about sailing. It was a great day. Captain Steve with Nick, Terry, and Janna for crew. We also had Sam, a captain on his day off, with his wife and 2 kids and grandma. They showed us how to put up the sail and take then down again. Some people climbed the rigging and Murray and I went out on the bowsprit. Quite exciting. When we got back we took the ferry back to Pahia and had supper at Alfresco Restaurant, which was very nice. We finished it off with an ice cream from the Swiss Ice Cream store, before driving back to Kerikeri. Did some cleaning up and packing before going to bed.

Posted by katdill 17:34 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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