Getting up and going in the morning is great when you sleep in the car! After a quick grocery stop in Thames we headed north up the coast to Coromandel Town. On the way we saw some people picking blackberries along the way, and I made Curtis go back so we could pick some for breakfast. When we were thoroughly mutilated by thorns and stained purple, we went to leave and the car spun out in the ditch and Curtis had to get out and push from the middle of the thorns! We got out pretty quick, but not before a few cars full of locals and a bus full of asian tourists offered to help! When we got to Coromandel Town, we bought these smoked mussels that we had heard about, and they proved to be absolutely amazingly delicious
. We are addicted. Coromandel has a lot of artists, so we went into lots of galleries. There was one shop in particular that was amazing, a jewelry store that sold a mind-boggling amount of different types of beads. I took pictures. We headed across the peninsula to Otama Beach where we stayed in a field with some turkeys. (On the way, we passed a road called Peebles Lane! Yay family!) We went down to explore the beautiful beach and tide pools. We found a crazy camouflage crab, that covers itself with bits of moss and seaweed. We went back down to the beach after dinner to look at the stars, which were amazingly clear. The milky way looks actually milky from here, so beautiful! We took the fly off the tent so we could sleep under them.
We had a wonderful morning; we found the leak in our camp mat and Curtis fixed it, so no more sleeping on the ground for me! Then, Curtis made us delicious pancakes to eat with the blackberries. He is an amazing chef with our little cook stove now, to make pancakes with that thing is quite the feat! We headed out to Whitianga, and found Harbourside Holiday Park. We stayed there to fulfill by birthday wish to have a shower on my birthday! We walked around town for a while and Curtis picked out bracelets for us:) After dinner we headed out to Hot Water Beach. This is an amazing beach where, for two hours either side of low tide, hot water seeps out of the sand
. So we rented a shovel and joined the small crowd on the beach to dig ourselves a hole. There were tons of holes dug already, so we hopped from puddle to puddle trying to find the perfect one. It was funny, because there would be a few holes right next to each other, and one would be scalding, one lukewarm, and one perfect! We finally found "the one", and laid there for 3 hours! Curtis kept getting antsy and revamping our hole, but I was perfectly happy just laying there, people watching and enjoying the hot water and the view of the ocean. We were just trying to decide whether we had been there long enough, when a huge wave came and washed away our pool! So we were done.
My birthday! Yay me! We spent the day out at Cathedral Cove, by Hahei. It was amazingly beautiful, a complete paradise for sure. Apparently part of the Narnia movie Prince Caspian was filmed there. Anyways, it was super hot, so we lounged about on the beach and played in the waves. On our way back to camp, I got to talk to my Dad, so that was a good birthday present! When we got back I had my birthday shower, haha. We went out for dinner to this wonderful Indian place. Curtis convinced me to go there (only our second time trying Indian food, pathetic) and we loved it! Dinner was delicious, and we went home stuffed. (I have to thank Marwa for introducing us to lamb; we both love it now!) There was a large table next to us with a guy also celebrating his birthday
. After our meal, Curtis all of a sudden stood up, and asked that table if they would help him sing happy birthday to his wife! So funny and cute and embarrassing. Little side note, February 6th is a holiday in New Zealand (Waitangi Day), so the other birthday guy said he has the day off from school every year on his birthday! Lucky guy. After dinner we went back to camp and drank some wussy sparkling wine (I still haven't acquired the taste) and I kicked Curtis' butt at pool (actually we tied). It was a very wonderful birthday. My first without snow, and more importantly, family. It was a little strange and a little lonely because of that, but fantastic nonetheless, a day to remember for sure! I wish you all could have been here with us!
We had an uneventful day in Auckland, picking up mail from the hostel, dropping off my camera to get fixed, emailing, banking, etc. We somehow ended up paying um, $39 dollars for parking... we don't like to talk about it, haha. We left Auckland late, and finally got into Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula. We drove way up into the woods and slept in the car:) Fun times.