Coming to the end of a fabulous road trip with my long time friend Jane. We've been away for a couple of weeks here in the North Island. We are celebrating our 60th birthdays which are coming up in April and May. We've been right up through the Bay of Islands and Northlands and down to the Coromandel and pretty much everywhere in between. We are in Taupo now on the Lake front and have just got back from a very cool restaurant. Tomorrow we are going for an early swim in a hot water spring in a river under a bridge that some locals showed us, then we're off to Napier. The Bay of Islands and Northland are absolutely beautiful and I'd go there anytime at the drop of a hat, but it's the Coromandel that has stolen my heart. I honestly don't know why anyone bothers going overseas when we have such stunning beauty on offer right here in EnZed. We hiked around the rocks and then along a beautiful track and over the saddle into New Chums Beach and what a treat that was. Miles of pristine untouched golden sand beach with many huge Pohutakawas for shade. I can only imagine how stunning it must look when they are all in flower. The water was blue and warm and wonderful and I enjoyed a fabulous swim and some body surfing. We went to Whitianga after that and got a penthouse suite over looking the beach and in the afternoon we went out on a boat around all the bays and islands and saw Cathedral Cove, and we went into a big cave and saw lots of fish and kinna through the glass bottom. It is all very picturesque and I took some great fotos. We found another gorgeous place called Tairua where our friends Peter and Sue have a bach so we walked all over the place there, and we both want to live there. Beautiful beach, only one person on it at lunchtime, and a big lagoon as well, and all so immaculately kept, mowed bright green grass for miles around the lagoon. Some houses have a big deck over looking the beach, and another one at the back overlooking the lagoon. Opposite this place is another place called Pauanui which looks quite rich, lots of nice big yachts and houses but not quite the same homely feel of Tairua. We went through Thames on the way in and up the west coast to Coromandel Town. Both of these places are full of quaint and gorgeous little old cottages which are beautifully kept, and fabulous old buildings and pubs in both towns too. The drive up the West Coast was breathtaking and spectacular. As was the drive down the East Coast and on out to Waihe and Whangamata and then down to the Mount and Tauranga.
Earlier we'd been to Whanganui and right up the river to Jerusalem where James K Baxter is buried, he had a commune there where my friend Sarah used to live back in the seventies. We went to Mt Taranaki, Dawson Falls, New Plymouth and Pukakura Park. We had a nice walk around and breakfast in Raglan, my first time back there since going there on the way to Ngarawahia Music Festival in the early seventies. We stayed in Auckland for a couple of days with Peter and Sue, which was so cool, and I got to catch up with Kerry and Duncan and Rose and Paul as well. Then on up to Whangerei, had a good look around it's beach areas then up to Paihea for a couple of nights and there just happened to be a Harley Davidson Convention on there for the two nights we were there, so there were 2000 bikes and about 3000 riders/passengers. That kept things busy and interesting. We walked over to Waitangi and saw the Treaty House, the beautiful big wakas, the magnificently carved Meeting House and the new museum. We had a really nice two bedroom apartment in the bush which we were lucky to get, and we stayed a couple of nights there. We explored Russell, going across on the ferry, and we drove right up the coast to Whangapaoa and out to a gorgeous beach and we were awed by the beauty. Back to KeriKeri and a cafe in dense bush surroundings that was very hard to find.
I am so glad to have seen all these places. Apart from the Coromandel I have seen them all before, but many years ago, like about 25 or longer. It is good to remind one's self of the beauty of New Zealand. Really we needed way longer than 2 weeks to cover so much ground, but I am so grateful for all we have seen and experienced. I am also grateful that I am not drinking and that I seem able to cope with it being around me every night in the motels and at the restaurants. I did not ever want to be the sort of sober person who feels threatened or uncomfortable by the choices other's make. It was me who had the problem, not anyone else. I just stick with my lime and soda and feel 100% every single day. Bring on tomorrow.