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Published: January 27th 2015
The sun shone for us again as we drove down State Highway 35, New Zealand's Great Ocean Road, towards Hicks Bay. Not far out of Whakatane, we took a side trail to some grasslands in which fern birds and other native birds nest. We did not see any but the grasslands were worth the walk - swathes of land all hues of russet, rich brown and olive.
The coastal scenery was gorgeous: the turquoise sea, the red of pohutukawa blossoms, pale beige sands and slate silver rocks. We kept stopping in perilous places on the road to take photos, hoping no hoons were around to end our lives prematurely.
At the end of the day we drove up to Hicks Motel, a brick structure with heaps of outside motel units, perched on the edge of a cliff. The rooms were out of the 1970s, with sagging beds, bare brick walls and old shower units but everything was clean. The friendly receptionist told us we could book dinner "... any time between six and seven." We booked for seven.
A path led from a picnic area with good views down to Hicks Bay. I could hear and catch glimpses
of tuis and bellbirds in the trees. On the beach, kids were paddling, adults chatting, dogs playing in the waves. There were some youngsters on horseback too.
Dinner was tasty and plentiful: barramundi, salad, chips, served with exuberance by the jolly waitress.
I am loving this break: it is so relaxing and pleasant.
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