What a Life

Trip Start Dec 08, 2009
Trip End Mar 15, 2010

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Where I stayed
Miranda Hot Springs Holiday Park

Flag of New Zealand  , Auckland,
Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Week 3

Sunday, December 20, 2009

We arrived at Valerie and Dan's about 5:30 this evening.  As with our other friends, we picked up where we left off four years ago and moved forward.  After dinner we waited until it got dark on this longest day of the year in NZ and headed for Ponsonby which is the place to see and be seen in Auckland.  We went to see the holiday lights.  The Telecom Christmas tree was the most impressive with ever changing multicolored lights.  The diameter of the base of the display was about 50 or 60 feet, and one could lie on a beanbag beneath the tree to get the full effect of the light show.  Off of Ponsonby Road is Franklin Road where the neighbors all decorate their homes.  One even had a light show set to music.  Aucklanders were out in force from children in their jimmies to grannies and everyone inbetween.

Monday, December 21, 2009

This morning we got the 11 am ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island.  The trip is about 40 minutes.  The island abounds with vineyards, crafts people of every ability and tourists.  We went to the Cable Bay Vinyard to see a sculpture exhibit.  It was about a 2 mile walk round trip from the village of Oneroa; so I am continuing to get my exercise.  The highlight of the day for me was getting to meet Christine Helfmatz Wheeler, the artist who made the Jade necklace I bought in Napier two trips ago.  Her work was on display at the community arts gallery, and I found out her studio was nearby.  She was very gracious and I tried on some jewelry…no sale. We took the bus for a ride around the rest of the island, caught the ferry back to the mainland and had dinner at Val and Dan’s local Italian restaurant including a complimentary, house-made limoncello with our coffee…delicious. I had a quick look at email and Facebook and got to bed before 11 PM.

Tuesday, December 22

We had breakfast with Dan before he went to work.  He can walk to work; so we watched him go out through the back garden and disappear down the hill!  We were packed and on our way by 10am.  We made a stop to deliver a parcel to Andrew Lorrey and then tried to get out of the city of Auckland…even with our GPS it was a challenge.  When we were passing the same intersection for the third time we asked for directions!  Once on our way, we relaxed and enjoyed to coastal drive past Cleveden and Kawakawa Bay on to our destination at Miranda.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We checked in to the Miranda Hot Springs Holiday Park, unpacked the car, and headed over to Thames about 25km from here for groceries and internet connection.  The park has tent and camper van sites, bunkhouses and self-contained units.  The rest of the day we relaxed and read our books.  I cooked a chicken stirfry for dinner.

Today we drove to the Taramaire Wildlife Refuge Reserve near Waiaua.  We walked along the beach and collected shells.  Most beaches are sand with some shells.  This one is mostly shells with a bit of sand peeking through here and there.  We visited the Shorebird Center, but the only birds we say on our walk were sparrows and seagulls.  We had a picnic lunch on the seafront and a stop at the Waiaua Fish market to get some fresh Gurnard for tonite’s dinner.

Back at Miranda we changed into our bathingsuits (togs as they are called here) and had a soak in the 38degree Celsius (106F) mineral pool which is just steps from our unit.  Bliss.

A long soak in the pool and pan seared fresh fish for dinner.  Not much could be better.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We drove from Miranda back through the Kaiai mountains to Ohope Beach today with a stop at Pukehina Beach for a picnic.  The picnic spot was nice, but the beach was difficult walking...very deep sand.  Such travail!

Friday, December 25, 2009

We spent Christmas Day with  Cathy and Max's daughter and son-in-law Anna and Mark Law and their family.  Their four boys ranging in age from 18 months to 8 years are delightful.  Mark is a helicopter pilot.  He has a business giving lessons to aspiring pilots and taking tourists to White Island.  Anna works in the business, too, but is mostly occupied with four very active boys.  After a wonderful lunch and lots of presents, we went back to the flat for a rest!  Reading and a late evening barbeque finished the day nicely.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Yesterday we had a very relaxing day and a long walk on the beach.  Cathy and I walked the few blocks into town to go to a very nice gallery...nothing either of us couldn't live without,  but lovely to look at.  Today we left Ohope Beach around 10 am and started the drive to Feilding.  It takes about five and a half hours driving, and we stopped along the way for photos, etc.  We got into Feilding around six pm and made ourselves at hoe at the Black's house.  They will be back sometime tomorrow.  We will be in Feilding until January 3 when we head to the South Island for most of January.a
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Javier, from Madrid on

Your trip is being wonderful! I already know my next destination :).
Best from Spain. Javier

Don Heath on

When you return to your e-mails you can tell me what a limoncello is. The flower amoung shells is quite an extreme. Do you walk barefoot on those??

Wendy Poskanzer on

Hi Elaine,
I am enjoying reading your postings- the trip sounds wonderful!
I have a friend who moved with his family to New Zealand about 3 years ago. He is currently in a small town near Wellington where he is working as a physician. If you are interested in getting in touch with an East Coast Jewish transplant let me know and I can send you contact information.
Respond to my email wendyxp@comcast.net
Enjoy your trip!

ben Freedman on

lovely ... thanks for sharing! safe travels ......

Randy Shepherd on

Not one snow flake in any of your photos. That alone is a priceless trip. Continue to have a wonderful time.

Cynthia Hallonquist on

Jan. 1, 2010. Sitting in a lovely hotel in Montreal watching it snow (yuck!), I finally have some leisure time to enjoy your travel log. Your trip sounds so wonderful. You are doing all the things I love to do. Traveling, reading, eating, visiting with good friends, and all of that at the beach with warm temps. Thank you for sharing your experiences and pictures. I look foward to more, it is like reading a good book.

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