How time flies when we’re on the road. Tolaga Bay seems ages ago now.
We did have a walk – to Cook’s Cove. And then moved on to Gisborne where we stayed the night and sorted a few things out in the morning, We headed on south to the hot springs at Morere. Only to find that they are closed. Have been since big rains and a slip in April dameged their spring. So it was on down to Mahia Peninsula and Mahia. We spent two nights there and had a walk and explore on a cloudy sort of day.
Then it was north again to Gisborne with the weather fine again. We had a better look around the city and watched the sun set from the hill and parked up in town and went to the movies at their fabulous theatre. Bean bags and wine and fudge and jaffas in a crystal dish. Next day we were away north, through the gorge to Opotoki. The rain started as we got closer to the Bay of Plenty but the gorge was still interesting and spectacular. We arrived at Whakatane in a thunderstorm when it really rained. It seemed an appropriate welcome back.
Friday we headed on to Te Puke to get a few things sorted, and then Papamoa to pick up our car and farewell our friends. A downpour saw us off as we headed north to spend the night with Wyn’s friend at Matatoki. We had time in the morning for a quick visit to the Thames market before heading to Auckland via the old Kopu bridge. We used the new (for us) South Western Motorway for an easy drive over to Titirangi where we parked up near friends for a birthday party that night. They took us for a look around on Sunday – it’s great to have guides in Auckland. The views from Mt Eden were great even if the wind was chilling.
Monday we moved down to Henderson to a place we can park up close to the shops and the railway station. We had a walk around the shops late in the afternoon and sorted out where the station was. Tuesday was another walk around Henderson including a visit to Harvey Normans where I had to ask if someone could show me a camera. They didn’t have the model I wanted to see and said that their one at Wairau Park did. We stopped there on our way and had to ask three people if someone could show us a camera. We carried on north to visit Wyn’s cousins in Albany. We had another downpour on our way back to Henderson.
Wednesday was a busy day. We got Discovery tickets on the train for $15 each and set off to discover Auckland. We trained in to Britomart in the centre – nice trains. It was cold with showers. We headed up Queen Street to the Auckland Art Gallery and warmed up with a coffee in their cafe. We enjoyed the Brian Brake photographic exhibition. The photos I found most stunning were ones I hadn’t seen – like his aerial photo of the Sydney beach. On the way back down Queen Street we visited a camera store and bought a new camera – a Canon.
With our tickets we were able to catch the ferry across to Devenport for a late lunch and look around. Mt Victoria provided another great 360 degree viewpoint . The sun was setting as we waited for the ferry back. We got a train up to Newmarket to go for tea with one of my cousins. Their apartment is about 2 minutes walk from the platform. We had a lovely catch-up and then headed back to catch the last train to Henderson.
Thursday we hitched up the car (first time since we arrived in Te Puke in March) and headed out on the motorway south. We exited and went to visit my uncle and aunt in their retirement apartment in Flat Bush. We had lunch with them and enjoyed the view from their lounge – green park and distant houses and city. Then it was south on the motorway again and off at Drury to visit Traillite in Pukekohe. We meant to follow SH22 south from there but it was getting dark and Nev the Nav was confused and took us back to SH1 at Pokeno. We turned off at Huntly and headed West and stayed at Waingaro Hot Pool camping ground. Lovely woman running the place. She found us a safe place to park and we still had time for a cook in the pools. The hot one was very hot – maybe 42-43 degrees.
Friday morning was lovely. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. We had another slow cook in the hot pool before heading on to Raglan where we parked up a carpark in the middle of town. After a walk around the town we went to explore the beaches and watched the surfers. There are some great places for watching where the (left?) break takes them almost parallel with the shore. Friday night we had dinner at the hotel.
Saturday I was out early (7.30am) with the new camera for a walk. Wyn was up not much later and we met up and walked on. It was cold for a start but warmed up as the sun got going and we removed layers as we went. It was well after 11am by the time we got back – struggling to carry all our clothing. After lunch we went for another explore to watch the surfing – and the sunset. Saturday night we went to hear some great live music in a local cafe. It was only spoiled by the noise made by a number of patrons who were clearly not there for the music. They had to talk louder to talk over the singers. It seemed extremely inconsiderate but maybe that is how it is in cafes with live music?
Yesterday we went for a drive south in the car. We did the short walk to Bridal Veil Falls. This is a 55m waterfall and somehow Bridal Veil doesn’t convey the power and the noise. The first observation platform is beside the top of the falls. I couldn’t bring myself to walk right to the edge to look over. The falls are not so much vertical as overhanging. There is a good track to the bottom – or 200 steps to be more accurate. From there we carried on south, first on gravel roads and then on roads without much gravel! First we came to Aotea Harbour. Hands up who didn’t know that NZ has a harbour called Aotea. We hadn’t. Then south some more to Kawhia Harbour and Kawhia. We had late lunch by the wharf and enjoyed a browse through the museum there. They had a display of Maori weaving including an exquisite feather cloak. We discovered that Kawhia has a hot water beach. Hands up who didn’t know that! We had a drive over there and saw one man well set up beside his vehicle on the beach with his steaming hot pool.
It was getting late so we didn’t go right down to the beach – another time. We headed back to Raglan on the gravel/mud road. On the way we stopped to enjoy an awesome sunset and it was dark by the time we got back to Suzi in Raglan. Fish and chips for tea and time to catch up with the sad episode of Packed to the Rafters.
Today is cloudy and cool. Maybe the sun will break through. We’ll head on today – maybe to Hamilton – maybe further south. We’ll see where the day takes us.