Just wanted to finally check in with you….it’s been a crazy couple of weeks here in New Zealand, with very limited internet access, too. But, I’m happy to be able to share some stories and pictures with you right now!
Our flight over was actually a breeze- not what you would expect from a 14-hour direct flight. It actually left Vancouver in the evening and arrived early in the morning in Auckland. We skipped right over the 23rd of December. I watched a couple of movies, took a wee nap…no biggie! And it wasn’t too much of an adjustment time-wise afterwards.
We spent Christmas Day in Orewa, and Rhys’ Gran made a suuuper delicious smoked fish pie. Something I definitely haven’t had before! I also tried a pumpkin and veggie protein pie at the mall. Pretty delish!
We got to spend a couple days on a farm and of course I was stoked to check out all the animals!
We went to Muriwai which is a beach on the west coast. I’ve learned that most west coast beaches have black sand, and Muriwai is no exception to that. To be honest I was a bit nervous of the waves at Muriwai because I’m just not used to swimming in surf. Although I do love swimming. I think now after a few weeks, I’m a lot more comfortable! Muriwai also has a really massive Gannet colony that you can check out.
Soon after, we re-packed our things and headed to Waipu where we had rented a “bach”. Also known as a beach house…. It was right on the estuary (which Rhys went fishing in)and once you crossed it there was a beautiful beach. We spent a week there including over New Year’s Eve.
On New Year’s Eve we went to a big drum ‘n’ bass festival which was awesome. I wish we had more of this stuff in Canada. It was in a huge farm field, with two or three stages set-up, great music and plenty of booze. They also had huge tipis that you could hang out in. It started early in the day and there was a little lake to swim in at the top of the hill…it was pretty hot out!
We also managed to catch a Shapeshifter concert which I was so stoked about. Ever since Rhys introduced me to their music three years ago, I have been wanting to see them live. They didn’t disappoint!!!
Our last concert of the week was Katchafire and Kora. I was quite familiar with Katchafire’s chill reggae tunes and I just loved hearing them live, in a small venue, in the summer. Kora kicked it up afterwards and I look forward to listening to more of them!
From there, we headed down the Coromandel Peninsula to Matarangi. We experienced a few very cool things here…it was mostly old news for Rhys, but I was pretty pumped about just about everything!
One of my favourite experiences so far was heading out in the boat to Great Mercury Island. Lucky for us, Rhys’ best friend’s family has a “bach” in Matarangi and we were able to stay with them. They are also boat builders, so we spent a bunch of time on the water! Shoutout to Smuggler Marine 😉
Great Mercury Island is a privately owned island, and probably has one of those most beautiful beaches I’ve seen. White sand, turquoise water, a waterfall to jump off up in the wooded area. Talk.About.Paradise. It kind of reminded me of “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio but honestly, I’ve been to the beach that the movie was filmed at and this one is way better!!!
While we were there, we dined on the most amazing scallops I have ever tasted. Probably because Rhys’ friend, Logan, had just caught them that day. He and his dad went scuba diving on the way to the islands and came up with a bag full of scallops. Talk about fresh…and sustainable- very cool.
About this time, we also saw a penguin swimming in the gorgeous water. And since then, we’ve seen two more. How awesome is that. I have yet to capture a picture of one though…fast little guys!!!
The following day we went snorkeling and Rhys and Logan caught some mussels. Again…fresh, sustainable, awesome.
Unfortunately, Rhys and I got a nasty little cold around this time and had to take it easy for a day or two.
We rested up, and then headed to Cathedral Cove. One of those “you have to see it” places of New Zealand. It was a cloudy day but you can’t deny the beauty of this spot, either. After a 20-25 minute hike, you get to the beach with the massive archway. We chilled here for a while waiting for the sun to come out, and then hiked back up. Before we left, I grabbed us each a Feijoa juice from a little food truck at the top. Although I have yet to try a real Feijoa, I have heard so much about this fruit that I jumped at the chance to try the juice. Oooh, was it ever tasty. Rhys tells me it has nothin’ on the real thing. But, I have to wait until April or so for them to be in season!
More to come…!!