Gannets and Christmas Cake.

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January 4th 2011
Published: January 4th 2011
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Now don't worry I havent been feeding Xmas Cake to gannets - tell you about that in a minute. So I left Sydney having sorted out my mess of stuff and got myself packed back into my 2 cases and rucsac and felt tidied up again. Angela was a star and got up at the crack of dawn to take me to the airport...we could have stayed in bed another hour as the plane was delayed coming from Dubai. It was one of this double decker planes - all very well but it seems to take ages to load all the passengers and then at the other end we waited ages for baggage...but I am cool about all that - NO WORRIES - I have adopted that Oz way of life. So eventually the plane took off - 3 1/2 hr flight to Auckland. Sydney airport has mad esome improvements since I was last there - nice comfy sofas , light and airy feeling and big bonus FREE WIFI.
On the plane what was breakfast now became lunch ( because of the late departure)and I didn't think Emirates food was as good as it used to be. Film I watched was Eat Pray Love - I know there was a lot of hype about it - but I thought it was a load of sentimental tosh ...sorry if anyone else found it a life changing experience!!! Well I never got to see the end cos the plane was gonna land. It was a lovely sunny day so flying over Auckland and the coast was beautiful.
My latest host exchangers are Patricia and Peter and they were there at the airport to meet me and drive me to my new home on the North Shore, Torbay. What a lovely warm welcome - I felt at "home" straight away..and first thing we did was have a cuppa and some Christmas cake ( ahah- thats where the cake comes into the story). So Patricia tells me she was waiting for me to help them eat it up - very happy to do that...I hadnt had any cake at Xmas....and I think she has been saving mince pies for me too!!!! So well fortifed we then went stright down to the local beach ( a few mins drive) at Long Bay Regional Park. Lots of families enjoying the public holiday- well set up with their picnics....and in we went for a swim. That's on a gulf in the Pacific on this side of the North Island...water was warm and I look foward to that swim on a regular basis while I am here.
This is a lovely house up on top of a ridge with views over a wooded hillside and fields , and then on tht other side we look over to the ocean...and you can see ships going in and out to the harbour.
So fisr day Patricia and Peter took me ona drive to the west coast where it is very different. Very high cliffs here are volcanic - look like ash layers the beaches are black volcanic sand tinged with gold ( mica maybe) and with a blue sheen . We took a walk over the cliff top to see gannet colony ( hence the title of this tale). Some are on top of a stack and some on the cliffs - and we stood on lookouts for ages watching them ...amd at last my binocs came in handy!!! The hazy cloudy weather shifted as the day wore on - but as you see from the fotos it all looks very atmospheric ....this beach is popular for surfing - so there were lots of people enjoying that. We had a lovely walk along the beach - giving us an appetite for a yummy picnic. Driving back again along winding roads up and down hills I enjoyed the secnery - the greenery is very lush and with beautiful purple and white agapanthus lining the roads - of course they are weeds here!!
Back home it was now quite hot so we rested - well I fell asleep - I think Patricia was tinkering away in the kitchen..then when I got up - it was back down to the beach for a swim again... I could get used to this.
So I have only been here just over 24hours and loving it.
So I will look forward to keeping you all updated and a tip for the people who are coming to New Zealand to meet up with me ....when you see a place beginning with "WH" it is pronounced "F" learn something every day when you are travelling.
Love to eevryone.
Lynne xxx

Additional photos below
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4th January 2011

I've been there too.
Hello again Lynne. I've been to Muriwai Beach and seen the gannets. An amazing sight eh? And so many of them. They were pretty stinky when we were there but worth the trek to see them. Rain has stopped in Brisbane. Hooray! Warren has been water-jetting pathways in an attempt to get rid of the mould which has grown over the past months. At least we won't have to worry about slipping over now. Keep on enjoying your trip. Fond regards. Jan
4th January 2011

Hi Lynne I remember that Margaret and I took lovely photos of the patterns in the sand - I took loads of nature photos with a view of making either a montage in fabric or doing a pattern painting - whcih have I done - well as you probably guessed neither!! I am also finishing Christmas cake - Dee made me a lovely individual one which she gave me with a bottle of red wine - needless to say the wine went quicker than the cake! Continue to have a fabulous time - gosh how on earth are you going to come home??!! Love Jill xx
4th January 2011

i have lost your email address
Hello Lynne, I thought Eat, Love, Pray was a load of garbage so I am glad that you did too.She ended up where she started so what was all the story the teenagers would say.... " hello "I seemed to have lost your email address so could you give it to me again. Take care love from Suzanne
4th January 2011

Glad to hear you've arrived in NZ
glad to hear of your safe arrival in NZ, Lynne. Do you think the New Zealander's got their individual style of spelling & pronunciation from the Welsh? It took me a while to grasp it when I lived there......... Have a great time. My daughter is now thinking of trying house swapping after I told her of your travels. Lots of love.
4th January 2011

Great hearing from you - Happy New Year flower. Much love Janice
5th January 2011

I'm Jealous!
Lynne you sound as though you are having a fabulous time! I'm exceedingly jealous! Fire works in Sydney then hopping on the plane to the beautiful city of Auckland. You couldn't have planned it better. I've also read that you are meeting up with an MW in Wanaka. Wanaka is one of the places in NZ where I would love to live. Its beautiful and unspoilt. I'm trying to pull myself together after a very difficult festive period. I arrived home from Mum's funeral with a raging temperature. Consequently spent most of New Year in bed with Tonsilitis. 2011 can only get better! Enjoy your next three months in NZ. I intend to settle down to hard work for 6 weeks then enjoy my retirement in the Spring. Take care. love Anne xx

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