Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Taputaputa Bay

I pulled off the road just south of Cape Reinga to have lunch at a bay just a few kms south, Taputaputa Bay, where there is a DOC campsite and 'day area'. Exquisite. If I had my tent in the car with me, instead of it being at the Ahipara campground, this would have been my night's stop for sure. As it was, I grabbed my lunch to eat calmly at the table in the shade.

Then I grabbed my deckchair and sat down to read my book.

One of the pohutukawa trees was even still flowering.


I thought I had the perfect bit of heaven. Imagine my surprise when a bus load of people arrived for their lunch too...

Lastly I roused myself from my book and deckchair and took a walk. Saw this bird near the rock pools and will check my books back at home to see what it is.

Before I leave this idyllic campsite, I'll show you someone else's tent!



Cape Reinga

I've been to Cape Reinga before, nearly the northern tip of the North Island, and a place of special significance for Maori, as they believe the spirits of the dead make their way along a pathway here into the sea, to return to their homeland of Hawaiki.

It felt almost like I was making a pilgrimage here, and I took my time in this place. I was glad of the many informative plaques around as well (though the limestone ones are eroding and are not so easy to read.) I had been wondering how Northland was formed, and why it was so hilly. To my surprise I found that huge amounts of the land were of volcanic origin. Some came from marine volcano remnants later pushed up, and lots of the sand had found its way north and was blown onto land later, after massive eruptions in the central North Island.

I felt quite at home with all the flax, after leaving the tuis behind on my flax at home.
And now to the 'meat' of it all. Last time I came here via a bus that allowed me to go via 90 Mile Beach, and to go sand slicing on the dunes, but it meant limited time at Cape Reinga. Today I took my time.
There was a mown path today up on the hill above the lighthouse, so I took it.

It gave superb views in all directions.

One of the things I love the most is that huge ocean currents meet here, from the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean in the east.

Last time I was here, it was overcast and drizzly. Today it was cloudy to begin with, but then the sun came out magnificently.

Seeing the place where the spirits are said to leap off from is very beautiful.

And then just to finish, I got distracted by the cicadas which were coming out noisily with the sunshine.



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Karekare to Piha

It was time to brave the Auckland Motorway system again to get to the west coast beaches, but there was less traffic on it than when I'd arrived, so I was less panicky about it.

The journey was much faster than I had imagined, so I drove down to Karekare beach en route. There is a modern sealed road now, though it is still a narrow road. In the past it must have been a difficult and somewhat perilous journey downhill.

But the beach was beautiful. The tide was low and it was a bit of a trek from the car park to the water.

Marram grass has always fascinated me, since the day I saw seed heads all rolling along the sand in a storm. They've been planted in Manawatu, but with limited success. They build dunes high and quickly, but can be subject to blow-out and quick disappearance. There were a lot of marram grass seed heads to fascinate me on dunes they've planted here. I wish them luck.


I've been surprised by how little driftwood I've seen, especially since there is so much forest nearby.

The iconic rock of Karekare.

It wasn't far to Piha, and there was a viewpoint at the top of the hill.

Piha beach is a lovely place to walk along.

Yesterday evening I stayed on the beach to watch the sunset over the ocean. This morning I was up early to walk, when it was mainly just surfers around. And this afternoon I put on togs to swim between the flags. Exhilarating- like a combo between a washing machine and a spa bath. Brought back many Taranaki childhood memories!


Wedding Tidbits

Well, my blog isn't the place for personal/family revelations - but here are a few photographic tidbits from my niece's wedding, without the people- but they still give a taste..

The wedding ceremony was at St Francis de Sales church in Devonport. I took a quick drive in the morning to spy out the lie of the land. It was a showery morning, but the sun was shining when I visited. The wedding was at 3pm and at 2pm it hosed down. But in the event, the weather was glorious.

When I arrived to visit the venue I was gobsmacked: it was right on the shoreline at Cheltenham Beach, right opposite Rangitoto.

The wedding candle they lit together in the ceremony.

And the afternoon, sunshine view of Rangitoto from the venue. I really wanted to jump in and gave a swim!

A link with the past: wedding ring cake decoration from my parents' cake.

The table for the bridal party...

The view from the venue.



Thursday, January 09, 2014

Night views

At the hotel I am in, Takapuna Oaks, there is a top floor lounge for guests, that has superb harbour views. Here are two evening views as the lights were becoming visible yesterday evening.

Lots more photos on Flickr once I get home!


Outdoor Seats

I have a growing fascination with outdoor seats of all kinds, and have a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with getting older and taking rest stops along the walking way. But here are three splendid seats I spied while out walking yesterday evening down by Bayswater Marina. Two of them were 'memorial' seats, and one was just straight fun.

Here is the plaque off the second seat, overlooking the ocean.

The third seat was in a small park next to a historic yachting building that is being restored. It was a memorial for Fr Terry Dibble, a priest who was an activist for peace and justice.




A walk from the hotel

I'm staying at Takapuna Oaks Hotel, with a harbour view to die for. Even my ground floor 'garden' view apartment has a view of the harbour. Staff are friendly, and it's a short walk to where the Bayswater ferry departs. (This first photo is of the hotel, looking back at it from just down the road.)
The views back over to Auckland City are also pretty amazing.
There were kitesurfers in action on the harbour and jeepers they could move fast!
The nearby marina was full of yachts. Beautiful I know, but somehow they always remind me of the inequities in wealth here in NZ.
But I always love to see the 'working' boats.
From the ferry wharf you could see Devonport where my niece is to be married. If you look hard you can even see the church steeples...
And you get great views over to the city as well of course.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Trip up to Auckland

Driving up to Auckland gives me the heebeegeebees. It's a long way, 500km or so- and at the end of it, there's a long stretch of motorway, and the Harbour Bridge to cross. But I made it, with the help of my GPS for the last section, where it very helpfully told me to keep right and stay right. Only scary bit was when I struck an X in the lane when I was heading onto on the bridge so I felt the need to change- but that might have just been meant for trucks. But I made it. Quite a different experience from the Wellington motorway. Anyhow, I am safely here, and can relax before the wedding tomorrow. Gave my sister a ring when I arrived and sounds like she is flying round doing jobs. But hopefully all will be calm in the morning.

I never took many photos on the way up- just wanted to get here safely. But here is one of Mt Ruapehu as I arrived in Waiouru. The top was covered in cloud, and in fact I drove through rain along much of the western route.

I took back roads to avoid holiday crowds from Taupo and Coromandel- but there was a roadworks stop inside...

I have a lovely motel / hotel room overlooking the harbour. Once I left the motorway I drove down a quiet road to reach here. I have a 'garden' room so assumed I wouldn't see any harbour, but the first photo shows the view from my 'lounge'. Amazingly peaceful after the motorway hell! The other photos are also taken from the motel grounds.

It must have benn amazing here a few weeks back when the pohutukawa were flowering.