Cheese, chillies and chocolate

Trip Start Sep 23, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Yay! Queen's birthday holiday! Long weekend! The day that makes Royalists of all Kiwis... Not wanting to waste the potential to go away in the inevitable bank holiday drizzle (a global constant), I headed up to Kerikeri for a short break with my friend Hayley. Hayley is also Deputy Principal and therefore my boss. Not a problem except she asked me to help drive... Luckiy we got there and back intact and she wasn't too traumatised so I think I get t keep my job.

Kerikeri was lovely. It is home to two of the oldest buildings in New Zealand- a timber colonial house and a stone store, set up as it would have been 100 years ago. The traditionally made produce was for sale- if you ever need any old-style nails or scythes, it's the place to go. Other highlights included a lovely waterfall and a kaleidoscope shop! This was an amazing place. I think that if soap bubble kaleidoscopes were sold more widely it could greatly cut recreational drug use, they were very trippy and psychedelic and I'm sure I could have spent hours staring through it... The scope looked at a permenant bubble which had beautiful colours whirling around and was very psychedlic when reflected in the mirrors. Another responded to music and beat the best efforts by Winamp, others looked at pools of floating flowers, fishing tackle, computer chips... Very cool. There were even kits to make your own. I was very tempted but wasn't sure I'd ever get any work done again. It took a while for the world to stop spinning after we left! Hayley drove that bit...

One of our main priorities for visiting was the Makana chocolate factory (yum) which let us sample some of their delicious treats. The only downfall was the price tags were in proportion to the taste, and after stocking up on goodies (for Rick, of course) I was glad it would not be long until paday! We also explored lots of crafty shops and a wonderful farmer's market selling delicious fresh veggies, chillies of most colours of the rainbow (including purple- bought a mixed bag with which to experiment on Rick), cakes, nuts, seeds, cheese and all things good. The inevitable bank holiday torrential rain arrived as we were making our purchases and planning very healthy veggie meals for the rest of the week, and we arrived dripping back at the car. Fortunately the weather did decide to give us a break on the way home and we stopped off at the Kawiti caves near Pihea. The caves were on Maori land, and we were given a marvellous tour by a local guide, who gave us an insight into the history of the cave, which was discovered by a woman who was running away from her husband and chose to make the cave her home. It was later a burial site before being blessed and opened up to a small tourist trade. part of the beauty of the cave was the small number of visitors. With just three in our group, plus our guide, we could experience the peace and solitude of the cave, with only the sound of the stream running through it and the lights of the glow worms, which we got to meet close up (long and slimy!).

Blinking our eyes, we found the sun was out when we emerged into the day, and made the most of it with lunch watching the boats at Whangarei harbour and a quick detour to pick up a few bottles of Pinotage from my favourite Matakana winery. A delicious weekend!
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