So will try again! Got to Wanda's in TeAroha on April 3. she lives in a town that is famous for its hot springs - soda water though not suphur and the "mountain of love" is what TeAroha means. Wanda is the best hostess and its been great to spend time together and she has introduced to me to some of her interesting dramatic friends, sent me out mountain biking with other frriends and we spent a day at a felting workshop. I made hat and bag in one day! Hope I can remember how to do it by the time I return.
Having a spent a few days with her I rented a car and took off for the East Cape area which is much less commercial than some of the other places I had been to in the North Island. Lots of Maori living there and the most amazing beaches and cliffs and scenery! Stayed in some great backpackers, met interesting people and generally had a lovely time - took masses of photos and found some great walks. Stayed in a place at Hicks Bay where I never did meet the proprietors but just made myslef at home, left the money on the side in the morning. There were 2 big dogs who followed me when I went for a walk along the beach - I had the feeling of being a local talking the dogs for a walk - on this huge beach with only me and dogs - lovely! - Went out to the East Cape lighthouse which is where people flocked to be the first to see the sun rise in the new millenium. Spectacular coastline!
Easter Sunday I stopped at the national Arboretum. Eastwoodhill which has the largest collection of trees from the northern hemisphere - lovely place but unusual to have autumn leaves on Easter Sunday! The chap who developed this was of course an eccentric Brit who apparently gardened with only his rubber boots on -
Came back to Wanda's again for laundry and more wonderful meals and visits and then headed up to the Coromandel penensular which is just north of TeAroha. Went up the west coast and stayed at a farm in Colville a delightful little village on the coast. The farm was run by 6th generation NZer's which is prety unusual I would imagine. They had sheep, cattle, horses, a cow and some "chooks". Had the opportunity to go "sheep mustering" which was a real highlight - we were driven up to the highest point on their property 2,000' and then with the 7 dogs and 2 "shepherds" brought all the sheep down - the shearers come on Tuesday! Would have liked to stay for that but time marches on!
Drove up this treachorous gravel "metal" road to the tip of the peninsular and walked the coastal path - again with breathtaking views and heartstopping driving on the road up and back - big SUV's pulling boats on this narrow twisty road with extreme drop offs - and of course they are not driving slowly - that is not a NZ custom!
Visited Cathedral cove which is a famous beach and was lucky to be there late in the day with only 3 others on the beach - and the same the next morning when I visited Hot Water Beach - 8.30 am only 4 others there - had the experience of sinking my feet into the sand which got progressively hotter as you sank down into it - No I didn't put my body in it - just my feet!
I did walk along the huge beach and found these amazing "blue bottles" - the colour of blue cool aid and tranparent things - took lots of photos of these strange creatures - as well as beached blow fish - and later discovered they are "Portuguese man of war" jelly fish! They weren't going far though!
Explored more beautiful beaches and did some lovely walks and then returned to Wanda's again for her great hospitality.
I leave tomorrow for Northlands - the area north of Auckland and hope to go up to Cape Rienga the northern point of NZ.
I have booked to haveWednesday night in a cabin on Tiritiri Martangi which is an island bird sanctuary - that should be great.
The weather has been fantastic except today which has been very wet and windy - a good day to get it over with so it can get back to sunny tomorow.
Will be back in Auckland on Thursday April 30th to prepare to leave for Perth the next day - and that will be a whole other adventure!
So thats the brief version of the latest in my wondeful life!
love and hugs to all my readers!