My memories of my time on the North Island of New Zealand are starting to fade so I need to hurry up and finish this journal!
After breaking camp at the Pueroa Forest, we headed on a hike that we had read about online. The directions were a little sketchy, so it took us a bit to find. It was billed as a short hike that went to a beach on the Tasman Sea–perfect. This is where we ended up after a fairly hot and longer than expected hike (much grumbling by the kids)–on a beautiful beach on the Tasman Sea.
As you can see we were the only people there–no resorts, no houses, just a big long beach with shallow water all to ourselves.
Somehow we didn’t bring any towels or swimsuits with us on this hike.
As we got ready to head back to our car we saw another car drive down the beach and set up camp…so parking seems pretty easy. :0
Now onto those killer cows. Our hike to the sea was almost entirely through pasture land and judging by how curious the cows seemed I’m pretty sure they don’t get many hikers on this trail. Even though I didn’t see any bulls the evil eyes the cows gave me had us all a little on edge.
Can you believe the views these cows have? I kept thinking that this would be a resort or a golf course if this spot was in the US.
Another view of our “trail” to the sea.
Feeling happy now that we have gotten past most of the killer cows.
There was a large hill at the end of the trail and I noticed some hornet nests on the way up so I warned the kids to be very careful where they stepped on the way down.
Right after this photo the hornets found me. I only got bitten once, but Jason was trapped for a bit behind me while he had to make a new trail down to avoid the angry hornets.
Another view of the stairs to the sea.
After our beach time we headed back to the forest to look for some of the biggest Kauri trees .
We also had our first taste of something truly New Zealand–hokey pokey ice cream–which is vanilla ice cream with little bits of honey toffee in it. I think it is the most popular ice cream flavor here.
This photos is just an example of a random spot on our drive. This spot isn’t in the guidebooks you just drive around a corner and bam! another little beautiful spot.
This was one of my favorite campsites of our trip- at the Aroha Eco Reserve.
The view from our tent at sunset.
Sadie found a great climbing tree that also had a tree swing.
Rainbow falls just outside the town of Kerikeri. This part of New Zealand kind of reminded me of Central New York.
We skipped most of the famous caves on the North Island, but we did stop at Waipu Cave. Sadie insisted on stopping pretty early into the exploration, but we did get to see some of the famous glow worms. Can you see them too? They are not actually worms of course, but they are insects that glow through bioluminescence. Jason and Echo traveled further into the cave and were treated to a ceiling totally aglow.
The cave entrance.
We left the very north, drove back through Auckland to the tiny town of Matamata. The town is now famous for being the location of Hobbiton from the Lord of the Rings movies. We stayed at the lovely Chestnut Lane Cottage. We stayed in the same place that Martin Freeman stayed in while filming The Hobbit. Our hosts were amazing and brought over fresh scones with cream and jam as well as a cheese plate.
The view from our cottage.
Next up–our visit to Hobbiton.