Saturday, June 14, 2008

Another Year Older...

The turning leaves at a vineyard near WarksworthA few weeks ago we headed up north to KeriKeri to visit cruiser friends Mike and Heather from Chica Bonita. On the way, we took a little tour of Northland. Northland is considered the area at the top of the North Island. It is a really lovely area, and has it's share of nice wineries and lots of agriculture. We spent the first night of our trip in a really neat little cabin on the beach in a town called Waipu Cove.When we arrived in KeriKeri the next day, birthday week was already in full swing with Mike's b-day on June 5th. We had a succulent dinner out with our hosts and our friend Courtney. Then Friday was a big bash at the Chicas gorgeous rented pad on the water.
In between birthday celebrations we took some time to make a few day trips from KeriKeri. We even made it to Cape Reinga, which is at the very tip of New Zealand where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea.

Mark, Heather and Mike checking out the Farmer's Market

A self-portrait at Haruru Falls
This a tradional Maori canoe, called a waka
Part of Cape Reinga The Cape Reinga lighthouse At the end of our week up north, it was time for me to turn another year older. I was spoiled with lots of pressies, a great dinner and even a homemade cheese cake. Oh la la ! I was even greeted first thing in the morning by a pod of huge dolphins right out the window. Everyone should be lucky enough to have their own birthday dolphins!
Me and the hostest with the mostest

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Coromandel Penninsula

We recently had some business in Auckland and on the way back home we took a detour through the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is just east and north of Auckland. We had sailed past on our way south but had not yet gotten a chance to explore it on land. We spent the weekend visiting all the hotspots from the pretty beaches to the Driving Creek Railway. The Railway is a little train that a New Zealand potter built in his "backyard" to collect clay from the hills. He originally wanted to keep the train to himself but found that tourism was a big money maker and since then it has been quite busy. The train which starts at a lovely pottery shop and sculpture garden, climbs up into the hills for a wonderful view of the town of Coromandel. The Coromandel Peninsula is known for it's smoked fish. We must have tried five or six varieties and Mark loved the steamed mussels. The Coromandel is also home to several Kauri groves. Kauris are the largest tree in New Zealand and often the oldest as well. Heavily logged in the past, there are very few left to see. They are now protected and New Zealand is trying to replant and bring them back.