Edit Blog Post
Published: February 25th 2008
from viewpoint above golf course
Sunday 16th April
Another pleasant sunny day when we awoke after a much needed kip.
Today would see us head back into Auckland (by bus this time Mum !) to see some more of the city and pick up our hire car.
We travelled around the outer city centre by bus and decided to head down to the harbourside for lunch. The harbour area is right in the central business district and is therefore dwarfed by the high office buildings but the quaint old Ferry terminal buildings still remain and are a welcome sight amongst the glass and concrete towers.
So after a spot of lunch and a shandy we picked up our Toyota Previa and headed back to Bavaria to collect our luggage. After loading up, we took a trip up to the top Mount Eden for views over the city, but being Sunday afternoon it was extremely busy so we cut short the trip and began our journey North, destination Mangawhai.
After negotiating the Auckland traffic system, we found our way over the Harbour Bridge and out into the open country. The roads were quiet on our side of the highway, but not so
through the fern's
on the city bound lanes. Tonight there would be a Rolling Stones concert in Auckland and the traffic queues heading the opposite way were reported as 10 kilometres plus on the radio !
We arrived in Mangawhai early Sunday evening. A very quiet seaside village.
Our accommodation, the Mangawhai Heads Lodge was built on its own small hill with lovely views over the beach and surf to the delightfully named Hen & Chicken Islands.
Compared to the pretty basic house we stayed in , in Auckland, this was quite luxurious. A lovely Swiss chalet type house with wraparound balcony. We were met by Jeanette, the friendly, enthusiastic owner, who immediately enquired what our plans were for the 3 day stay. She recommended we book a restaurant in the village for that night. Considering the place was so quiet we were a bit surprised at this but it turned out that the village was SO quiet that the restaurant (the Barracuda) would not have opened if we hadnt booked in advance ! We were the only customers. The food however was fantastic.
We discussed our plans for the following day (our first full day in Mangawhai) and
having agreed on a local coastal walk we headed back to the Lodge and retired for the evening, still a bit weary from the travelling.
Monday 17th April
The following morning we were treated to Jeanette's wonderful breakfast, sitting out on the balcony in the sunshine with views out to the ocean.
The walk we had planned was around the cliffs at the opposite end of the village. We decided to walk to the cliffs from the Lodge (it didnt "look" that far). Having detoured via a viewpoint above the local golf course we trekked our way through the village, down to the sandbanks, back through the village, around the winding road and up to the cliffs. In the 75 degree heat we were pretty weary by the time we reached the "starting point" of the walk !! Of course we were conscious of the return walk too so decided to abandon the official walk as the afternoon was getting on and we still wanted to fit another trip into our day.
After the equally draining return walk we decided on a wash and brief rest back at base camp before jumping into the Toyota and
heading for the Kauri Museum (about 40 minutes drive from Mangawhai), dedicated to all things Kauri, which is the the local tree !! Its no ordinary tree though, but a huge, centuries old species which grows in the forests over many parts of the Northland. The museum showed the various stages of the tree's life, its uses once cut down and the lives of the men and woman who were employed in the Kauri industry. A very interesting and worthwhile trip.
Back in Mangawhai we had a quiet evening at the Heads, ate at The Sail Rock Cafe before turning in for the night.
Tuesday 18th April
We had decided in advance that the Bay Of Islands was our "must do" trip whilst in the Northland and that day was now here.
Unfortunately, we awoke to dark skies and rain clouds all around. Nevertheless we were not going to change our plans, as this was our last chance to see the BOI. We travelled North along the coast road and through Waipu village, set up by an immigrant Scotsman and which retains many of the features you would expect in a typical Scots village. An advert for the Waipu Highland Games added to the familiarity of back home.
The rain was pretty much non stop and the low cloud / mist struggled to lift the entire journey North to Paihia.
Once in Paihia we decided on a boat trip to Russell, a pretty little town on the other side of the Bays. The rain never really halted the entire time we were there so we resorted to dodging in and out of shops and pubs for the remainder of our time in Russell and Paihia.
Heading back South we stopped off at the Kawiti Glowworm Caves north of Whangarei. An interesting visit for the hour or so we were there. Even inside the caves there was no escape from the rainwater !
As we headed back into Mangawhai, Jane wasn't feeling too good and decided not to "eat out" that night. I tucked her up in bed, checked she had all she needed and left her at the Lodge whilst Mum and I headed out for dinner. We had though about getting a take away but there isnt a lot of choice in Mangawhai ! We headed down to a small restaurant in Mangawhai Village and just as we had ordered, a power cut ensued as a result of the awful weather in the area all day.
Whilst wondering if it affected the whole area I received a text from Jane to say that the Lodge was also in darkness. We gave up on the restaurant despite being offered something cooked on a gas stove as we thought we had better get back to make sure Jane was ok on her own in the dark !
By the time we arrived back, Jeanette had organised candles, temporary lights and sandwiches. A very thoughtful and much appreciated gesture. The power stayed off most of the night.
Tot: 0.039s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 11; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0087s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb