Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Living a dream

Day 2: Orewa to Paihia

Our visit to New Zealand was one big road trip.

The Beachcomber Motel. We had the teeniest room (that's our car at the back left--our door's right next to it!). So nice to wake up and open your door to the ocean.

We found the cute little Pine Cafe right next door for breakfast. Matt was dying to run over to the beach and jump in. But by the time breakfast was served and eaten, the beach had gotten pretty popular so we decided to move on.

My lap looked about like this the whole trip. My trusty traveling blanket, guide books and magazines plus a little junk for the trunk.

While driving into Warkworth, Matt happened to pass a little turn off the highway and a brown sign that said, Honey Centre - he turned around so quick. Matt has a passion for honey.

And walked away with one of everything. While here, we were mesmerized by the cutest kids. We probably seemed a little freaky. I even took a video of them. They had the sweetest little voices and spoke with a proper British accent.

We both had to stop when we saw this sweet vessel. Cafe Eutopia.

When you walk in there are just tons of tiny little nooks to sit, chat, sip, and read. One artist made the whole thing. And there was such unique detail in everything. Very inspiring.

He had made tons of different types of windows out of those little glass rocks. I think I took a picture of each one. So don't be surprised when you come to my house and I'm trying to recreate one of them. I love stained glass and even took a class on it once. But this is a little more up my alley as to what I can do in my own home.

In the back was one big gypsy tent. I want to have a party here!

After a long drive down a bumpy road we found our first planned stop out in the middle of nowhere. There was no parking so we just parked on the side of the road and started down, down, down.

After following the stream up a bit we ran into this!!! Piroa Falls. And it has three swimming holes! I grew up swimming under our waterfall, but ours only had one pool. This was just HEAVEN. And no one was there but me and my love. We forgot our togs, but were not going to let that ruin a perfect day. (If you are shy about nudity, you might want to skip the next few photos. Sorry if this offends you, but this is my blog, my dream trip. I am not leaving out my favorite parts. And for you others - don't get too excited - I picked the most modest ones for the blog, you don't see a thing!)

This was our paradise.

Living it up, fancy free.

Matt jumping in after setting the timer on his camera.

This was the BEST way to start our trip. We both felt that if nothing worked out for the rest of the trip that it was well worth it all because of a few hours alone at our own private waterfall. It awakened all of our senses, hopes, dreams, and made us feel so alive. Life is wonderful.

After another long dusty road (and watching our hubcap roll down the steep gravel hill in front of us) we came to our next stop - we think? There was another car parked here right next to my dream mound of mossy rocks and trees. Who wouldn't want to go exploring in such enchanted woods?!

And there's the sign - Waipu Caves. New Zealand is great with signing everything, whether people go there or not. Don't you wish we had grassy parking lots here.

Finding a trail that hopefully leads us to the cave.

Why wouldn't we think we were on the right path?

But after much walking and climbing (got to love my granny back poses) we get to a top of a mountain and no cave.

Our tramping (what they call hiking or backpacking in NZ) feet. Most likely on someone's beautiful private property.

Coming back down - all the way down. And what do we spy? Looks like a cave. How in the world did we miss this.

I was a little scared. You can't see in there. This photo looks nice and bright because of the flash.

One without a flash - and this is at the opening. Take that first turn to your left and you are in outer darkness. We heard that you can follow this cave all the way to the beach. While starting our walk up the hill to look for the cave we saw a group of people below us in wetsuits. I wonder now why we didn't think that they were going to the cave, and followed them. But by the time we came back down the cave was all ours.

Walking through water. The book said to wear boots but it was way deep in places and not knowing how far we were going to go and how deep it was going to get we decided to go back to the car and keep our boots dry and just go in our sandals.

Once we turned off our headlights we were transported into the stars. Glorious glowworms everywhere.

Now the tricky part: trying to get a photo of us and the glowworms. To be able to capture the worms on camera you have to use a long exposure, no flash. Matt had a trick up his sleeve though. We painted each other with our lights and then covered them and this is what we got.

trekking back to the light

without our lights :) (and the largest stalagmite in New Zealand's silhouette)

As you can see we invested time into finding every free nature trail or sight, like this canopy walkway to see ancient kauri trees. But in the end it is all priceless. Walking through NZ, talking, laughing, dreaming, gazing all hand in hand. No worries or cares. Just loving every single moment together. Money can't touch this.

Second falls of the day - Whangarei Falls

You don't see public toilets like this everyday. Someone had a vision, and out came the infamous Hundertwasser toilets in the small town of Kawakawa (1300 people).

So glad he acted on it. Look at this masterpiece!

You might not know this, but Matt loves bottle art. And has many a times tried to make art out of his bottle collection. Everywhere we go we get new ideas!! After visiting the loo, we needed food. But we had to the learn our lesson the hard way over and over again: that small beach towns close down early.

Fortunately not too far away was a more touristy beach town that lives off the night life: Paihia. We didn't have to go to bed hungry!! This was our second vege burger in NZ (it's "vege", not "veggie" over there).

And even got to park on some lovely green grass again. Our first hostel of the trip, the bumping Peppertree.

What will we do tomorrow? Hmm. Whatever the heck we want!!

And to end on a bittersweet note - my kids just ate the last of the candy we brought home while I was writing this blog. :)
--- ---

 -- more NZ 2010 --
Pre-trip preparation
Day 1: Auckland
Day 2: Orewa to Paihia
Day 3: Paihia to Kaitaia
Day 4: Ninety Mile Beach to Rawene
Day 5: Rawene to Hamilton
Day 6: Hamilton to National Park
Day 7: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Day 8: Taupo to Rotorua
Day 9: Rotorua
Day 10: Thames to Hahei
Day 11: Coromandel


Rachel said...

Your trip was amazing! I want to go! And I love so much that you swam naked under a waterfall!

Rachel said...

p.s. this house looks like you

Katt said...

Love this! New Zealand is an awesome place. SO PRETTY.

mooncowboy said...

Rachel: that house looks awesome! I could handle New York--upstate.

Katt: Did you guys go to NZ when you were in Australia?

GrittyPretty said...

glow worms! hundertwasser! glass bottle art! each part of your entire post is worthy of lots and lots of exclamation points!!!!!! we've always wanted to explore NZ! thanks for taking us there!!
and grass parking lots!!
p.s. is it true that there are no spiders nor snakes in NZ?

Harris Family said...

love skinny dipping thats how I new that rob was the one for me-- he saw some similar pics and still asked me out haha!! Thanks for sharing your trip!

moonshinejunkyard said...

oh my goodness i am overwhelmed!!! i agree with raquel, each and every photo and story is worthy of many exclamation points! that EUTOPIA place, ummmmmm no. NO WAY. i want to create that for my home, all of it. all these creative and inspiring visions for buildings and then in the midst of such abundant verdant nature. the waterfalls, the private swimming pools, the nudity, (cmon, you couldn't give us any more than that ;) ) such a dream. and the way you describe it, walking along hand in hand discovering it all together....traveling to new lands is definitely one of the most romantic experiences i can dream of. everything new and exciting and dreamy, honey and caves and glowworms and tricks. i love the two-matts photo in the cave.

and what's with the vege burgers? what the heck is that stuff on there? it looks soooo yummy, like some kind of fluffy sprouty egg salad??? mmmmmm methinks new zealand knows how things should be done.

can't wait to see the rest. this is such a perfect amazing adventure.

Lisa said...

You are crazy girl! I don't think I would have the nerve to skinny dip in broad daylight.

Some of those pictures are so beautiful, especially the water ones. Think of all the wonderful memories you and Matt are going to have to look back on one day.

You've become a traveling maniac!