Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunny Sunday

Day 3: Paihia to Kaitaia

After walking around the little beach town of Paihia we found this cozy little place to eat.

Matty with his muesli, fresh fruit, and yogurt sweetened with honey.

My bread, eggs, and yummy toppings.

Taking the very popular ferry ride to Russell. :) Matt and I of course chose the two seats that are not covered, to enjoy the wind on our faces and slashes of water. Since there was no on else onboard, our driver gave us a extra wild ride by hitting every huge wake and also a little tour of the Bay of Islands - which is why Paihia is so popular.

Enjoying the views

We're on a BOAT!

Destination: Russell. The smallest little town packed with history. Captain Cook and his crew took shelter among these islands in 1769 and gave the area its name. NZ's first colonists settled here and it became the first capital. The color of the water alone makes me want to live here.

A dreamy little town.

Lazy Sunday. Sitting back and taking all the time in the world to just stare.

Russell has NZ's oldest church.

Headstone stories

Some are just heartbreaking. I couldn't believe how many were from drownings, old and young.

Graveyard kitty, makes us feel lucky.

Sneaking a kiss (you know these sacred interred souls would love it--plus church was going on inside)

Everywhere you turn you are smacked in the face with beautiful bright flowers.

And my favorite - NZ's famous Pohutukawa tree, which they call the Christmas tree. These trees line the whole coast. A real sight to see. Plus the honey from this tree's blossoms is delicious (feel free to stop in for a sample :) ).

I can't take any credit for this one. Matt had seen another sign with the same name and was wishing he would have taken a picture of it. Well, what can I say, dreams do come true. Just around the corner there was this one just waiting for someone to stop and take a photo of it. (And NOW he feels sheepish about his immaturity.)

Walking to another waterfall. We could tell from the map that you could take a scenic walk or just drive there. We thought the walk would be fun. Wasn't till about an hour in we decided to actually calculate the kilometers into miles and realized it was not just any walk, but a long 7 mile walk (the Waitangi walking track, 6 km or 3.5 mi each way). Which was fine with us. We really had nothing else we needed to do but drive. So it was a nice stretch for our legs.

I don't care how old I get, bridges are always fun, but why?

The gem of the walk. Half of if was jungle and the rest of it on this boardwalk over mangroves, a crazy type of tree.

These are its roots (strange pneumatophores) sticking out of the ground to get fresh air. When the tide comes in, it looks more like a swamp.

Love running into beautiful flowers

that just grow naturally in the wild

We made it. Must say, it was a disappointment to see a road going over the river above it. I of course took the picture just right so it wouldn't ruin the picture.

Us and Haruru Falls

The Stone Store in Kerikeri, next to the Kemp House. These are the two oldest European-built buildings in NZ.

They sold some pretty cool looking books. (For the record, you CANNOT get these books in the US at all. You would have to order them from NZ. Even though they're published by Penguin. Strange. And defeats the purpose of having taken pictures of the books so as to buy them cheaper, later, from the comforts of home. Won't make that mistake again.)

Wishing I would have bought this one. It's too cute. It's about a sheep that went missing for five years and then magically was found one day. Look at him. I love you, Shrek.

We needed another stop on our long drive so when we saw signs for local produce we followed.

So glad we did. Kerikeri Organic. How often do you get to pick up your food from the farm and mingle with the farmer? He was a true kiwi and showed us how you're really supposed to eat a kiwifruit. The best part was when his family came home. He had the three most darling daughters ever. I would guess they were 7, 4 and 1. If only you could have seen them run from the car and into their daddy's arms. Rosie was the oldest and wore a fairy crown made from none other than huge beautiful roses that were all light pink and white. And they all wore the sweetest light linen dress. I felt like I was on the set for the cutest movie ever. Very heartwarming and it made me miss my kids. Inbetween hugging and greeting his kids he told us of a beach we should hit up.

We took his word and went for it. Cable Bay, farther north. Nothing beats taking off your pants and running to the beach after being in the car.

Shells, of course, make me miss the kids even more. I made sure to keep some treasures for them.

He finally got his ocean swim.

Arriving at our hotel at the perfect time of day. We were pleased with how nice it seemed. And the reason we decided to stay here is because we ran into a friendly old couple at the Beachcomber Motel who were touring their own country. We told them things we wanted to do but didn't know if we could afford it all. And they gave us the greatest news ever: we could do it all for half the price if we stayed here. At The Northerner. In the tiny town of Kaitaia. It was a no-brainer. We had big plans for the next day.

After driving through the small town looking for dinner, we once again found nothing open. We hurried back as quick as we could to the hotel remembering they said they had a restaurant. We got there right in time - for the grossest food of our life. I would rather have gone to bed hungry then to waste my precious money. Too bad we had already paid for breakfast the next morning!

Feeling cheery. We had booked the spa, thinking it would be something special. Who was I kidding. Just a regular old spa, not even built-in. They did dress it up a bit with lots of fake plants. Which just helped to make it all the more weird.

Walking down a hill back to our room. Best part: we were the only ones staying here!
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 -- 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

1 comment:

moonshinejunkyard said...

you guys packed in sooooo much!!! i feel like the seven mile hike ALONE would be a day's activity! but you road tripped, explored old churchyards, swam in the ocean, stopped at a farmstand and met adorable girls, WOW what a day. or are the days super long there? i bet you went just as the days were getting the longest...lucky coincidence! you got to enjoy nz to the fullest that way. i can't believe those incredible tropical flowers, oh amy i want you to grow some in your house! and the book sitch is really weird. it makes me sad how few books for sale here are written in other countries. as if the only great writers are american or english. excuse me?! i don't know whose fault this is but it makes me sad/mad. i want that book about shrek, what a beaut! can we please build our little village like that village by the sea? it looks so quaint, cozy and welcoming. of course, it would be fine and dandy to have some turquoise ocean at our porchfront too! LOVING THIS ALL!!!!

see you tomorrow lovebugs!