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Published: December 7th 2018
15 to 18 November
Time is running out for Jenny’s Visit and we are grateful to Maree and Paul, who we met in Cambodia last year, for entertaining us and showing us the delights of Whakatane and Bay of Plentry. Breakfasting on poached eggs fresh from their chooks we set off with Maree and explored the town and harbour of Whakatane ( for those who aren't in the know a WH is pronounced like FF) ...the sun was shining as we whizzed around visiting Ohope, Opoktiki with their delightful small museums and a newly built Maori community centre. And all the time stunning scenery , coastline , spits, beaches hills and mountains . Don’t we just love all the place names and trying to pronounce them !! Lots of places begin with Wai which means water ... and there’s lots of water here !
The drive was more interesting as we got to visit a couple of newly built Grand Design type houses as part of Maree’s business. we poured over the plans , wandered through spacious rooms , high tech kitchens, discussed roof lines and where to put the ironing board and who would clean all the windows
!! Ever practical thoughts come to my mind !! Our travels wouldn’t be complete without a BBQ and at last with a lovely evening we sat out on the deck and enjoyed steaks and suasages along with beers, cider wine and later Iwas challenged by Marie with a special cocktail shot ...I can’t repeat the name of it here !!
Saying au revoir after a delicious breakfast on the deck we set of for Mount Maunganui and strolled along the beach watching surfers and out on a walk to promontory with great views of the Mount. We were heading for Auckland on the pretty route and taking our time we stopped at Karangahake gorge ...definitely stop and walk along the sides of the gorge if you are heading this way . A former goldmine area there are same great walks here and we wished we could have spent longer but we were trying to avoid too much traffic building up in Auckland before Friday rush hour. We neednt have worried ...it’s Friday rush hour conditions permanently on roads leading into and around Auckland. I won’t say more about the Auckland traffic problems ...except horrendous! I love the way people
Flowers around Nov/ Xmas time
live in these discreet little towns and bays but as soon as you want to go anywhere you have to get on the very crowded motorway. I supposed you get used to it and begin to say “ oh it only took me an hour ..that’s not bad “!!!
Thanks to our hosts, we were staying with Patrica and Peter , old house swap friends , who live in Long Bay ... right up on a ridge with views over to the sea and Rangitoto, which is a dormant volcanic island, a landmark which is seen almost everywhere you are in Auckland. When I was here in 2011 there were plans to build on the valley and hills across from their house ...and so it was shocking to see 100s of houses and with diggers still working at it many more to come . There’s obviously population expansion here in Auckland while the rest of NZ feels so empty.
Long Bay is beautiful with it’s long beach and flower pot type stacks and cliffs ...perfect for a quiet evening walk. There was onLy one more day for exploring so we opted to take a ferry to Rangitoto Island
and then one back to Auckland Harbour so Jenny got a little bit of a feel for the city. As Jen set off for the summit I opted for a walk along the foreshore to explore the native bush ( again this island is a predator free zone now ) and the old cottages or baches as they are called here. As you can imagine being a volcanic island there are lava flows and old lava pipes , pumice and ash deposits so I was happy to see thaT. Most of the fellow tourists coming here had made the dash for the summit so I was almost completely alone as I wandered through the paths in the Native bush and sat peacefully listening to birdsong. And I got to see the rare kidney ferns.
Back to civilisation at the harbour we enjoyed walking around the various yacht basins , cafes restaurants and shops and a great children’s play area ...old grain silos had been turned into works of art ...it was all very lively.
A ferry back to Devonport and then back to Long Bay and the following morning early Peter took us to the airport in their
electric car and I said goodbye to Jenny. We have had a great trip together and I think she would opt to do another one of my travels with me and all I can say to that is a hope she jolly well does!
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