House by the sea

Trip Start Feb 12, 2011
Trip End Jul 09, 2011

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Where I stayed
Uncle and Aunty

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Monday, March 21, 2011

Hello there!

Ok so we have been exploring the far west side of new zealand in the province of taranaki, and staying in the town of New Plymouth.  I left you with a rather painful encounter with a mountain last week, that seems so long ago now.

We spent wednesday on buses heading back up to Rotorua where when we hopped off the bus my uncle was waiting for us!! so cool to see him again! we hopped in the car and raced across country hopeing to get to the town of mokau (mo-cow) where he explained were the most amazing whitebait fritters! When i say race across country, its not like in england where you can hop on a motorway and speed at 80-100mph up or down country, no no... even the main roads here require a certain level of rally driving as you wind up through the mountain ranges, huge drops on the sides and the occasional remnent of a landslide! quick on the wheel we passed through forests and farming areas, mountains and huge plains of land. Before we hit the real twisting and turning of the mountain ranges just before taranaki.  Racing into Mokau we were 15 mins too late for the fritters - never fear - see later in blog! 3 and a bit hours after leaving rotorua we arrived in New Plymouth, characterised by the looming mount taranaki - a 2500m mountain just inland that is just aweinspiring and you always navigate where you are in relation to the mountain.  There was the most amazing sunset over the sea...we pulled into their driveway and wow! they literally live on the sea front, plenty of glass at the front of the house means you look right out over it from almost anywhere in the house, beautiful. We spent the evening admiring the house and views and eating the mountain of food prepared by my aunty, and catching up on many years, fabulous.

Thursday after a lovely breakfast of fresh fruit and muesli (by a brand called vogel - its really good!) we headed off into town, my uncle had taken several days off work and so we really did get to see so much which we wouldnt have been able to do half of (there is no public transport over here!! everyone has cars!) so thankyou tons to him! We pottered around the town taking in the many shops and sights, and the famous wind wand sculpture - it cost thousands of dollars, is routed in tons of steel and is a huge bendy pole with a light on the end that gets really pushed around by the wind.  The designer specialised in movement designs and only ever built small models hopeing for a big one but had died before the councils decided on this one, as always an artist is far more famous in their posthumous lifetime. We headed into the harbour where steve tried his first nz cafe coffee (the kiwis look down their noses at english coffee, he did very much enjoy it but has not yet decided where his allegiance lies!), i sipped on good old english breakfast tea as we looked out over the boats, i had jumped at the fins in the water before realising they didnt move, a joke by the local fishermen. Heading out just out of town was Paritutu rock, a very steep point jutting upwards from the flat, i climbed some of the way on the stairs before having to grudgingly watch the boys climb the rest (the black ankle was having none of the steepness) and use chains up the last bit to heave themselves up and get the birds eye view of the city and its 180degree beach surroundings, on one side golden sand, on the other side black sand, such a contrast! i could see pretty far where i was so still got a good feel of the place. We had wanted to go on a boat trip out to the seal colonies but they had said bad weather was coming in and boy did it start to rain, no of this pansy drizzle stuff we get back home, it totally sloshed down, luckily we were in the car and just had to duck out to a nearby uncle owns the place! Walking in with him was pretty cool, obviously everyone knows him and we got free food! oh and over here he has a brand thats called McCafe..they do quiches and bakery things as well as the good old burgers! good good food, i swear it tastes amazing here, i had avocado in my burger - delicious! Next on the stop list was a local brewary, mikes ale.  I stood around vaguely amused as the boys sniffed and tasted the different beers like professionals before buying a crate or two for later.  Noticing we still had a bit of time before dinner we drove out to Mokau again and the inn was open! whitebait fritters allround as a takeaway before zooming back to the house by the sea for fritters and salads and amazing homemade chocolate puddings!! That evening we swam in their pool, heated and amazing at the front of the house as we lazed around swimming under water and getting to know my cousin (i would say little cousin but this would only be true age wise - shes beautifully tall).

Friday on persusion of the others we dropped into see an emergency doctor about my ankle, i was so worried I was not going to like the news but luckily after a fair few prods yanks and pokes she said she was pretty sure its a sprain and not a break therefore strap it up good, have it elevated as much as poss and take some pills to stop the pain when walking and most importantly keep walking! woop just what i wanted to hear!! We headed down to the harbour, it was a beautiful day and jumped on chaddy's charters, an old isle of man rescue boat with a local old man who knows his history we speed towards the nearby islands. learning all about the boat, and legends of the land and sea we were rolling around on the waves and diving up and down on pretty choppy sea (this is a good area for surfers, good swells!) we saw seals lazing around and flapping their flippers at us - unbelivably cute! avoiding the trecherous water smashing into the islands (where back in the day maori tribes had hidden their women and children in the wars for up to 3 years!!!) we were guided around the rocky outcrops and crayfish were pulled up in their catchers into the boat right infront of us ready for the guy to swap with the baker for bread! hungry from the sea air once back on dryland we pottered next door to the Pipi cafe (unfortuantely not named similar to me but after the pipi shellfish in nz =) ) and tasted prawns in butter and garlic with crusty bread, amazing.  just over the balcony we could see huge stingrays who have taken a liking to the feeding they get in the harbour, they were really huge!

We drove around the otherside of the mountain (quite an undertaking! this thing is massive!) and headed into the goblin forest...i really felt like any second we would come under attack by the elves or orcs from lord of the rings.  the trees are all old and knarled, moss hangs down from their branches as they twist there way upwards and outwards, beautiful little tracks wind around them, we followed one through them, climbing over sprawling tree roots and making our way down the side of the stream and to the bottom of the waterfalls.  It was lovely, diving off the rocks and landing with such power that quite a deep pool formed at the bottom and if you stood close enough you got a bit of a shower too =) Next we climbed up through the forests to wilkies pools, a hole chain of pools collect on the different levels as further upstream the river flows through them, the water is crystal clear and we enjoyed leaping around the boulders to see as much as we could.  That night we had worked up an appetite and we were treated to dinner at a mongolian resturant, you pick you food, follow the recipe for the sauces and hand it all over, they cook it with huge chopstick like things on a massive hot plate before we tucked into our recipes, delicious!!

Saturday the guys got their active heads on and we arrived at the surf club, they joined a couple of other islander guys and started their surf lesson with an amazing women, really blonde hair, really brown and has obviously been in the sun all her life, she was really nice and called daisy, child from the flower power 60's my uncle and aunty thought! Once they were champions at leaping up onto the boards from the sand they hit the water, many times!! haha no i wont be mean, i was fairly impressed, only within a few mins they were all up on their surfboards for at least several seconds at a time! from the beach i got a pretty good view of them all, and many giggles from it, steve did get pounded over the head and sported a nice purple eye for the next few days, i think he was pretty proud of the machoness of it! Surfing lesson over proud and exhaused (they were at least, i had been lying on the beach reading and photographing and resting my foot) we headed back for lunch before driving out to the nearby whitecliffs for a nice afternoon walk.  Not one to be undertaken lightly the climbs up and down the cliffs are huge but so rewarding with the views at the top, amazing country to walk through before we climbed down about 1000 steps and snaked our way through the bush and to the beach.  Beautiful beach and cliffs with mini headlands all the way (my uncle had made sure we would arrive there at low tide) and we wandered back along the beach with the waves creeping ever closer.  We spent the evening eating fish and chips in the harbour before heading to the famous Iona Dairy in New Plymouth for the biggest best icecreams, i had a lime scoop and an apricot scoop, mmmm.

Sunday was extra extra fab, as an awesome treat for my 21st my uncle and aunty treated me to a ticket to the world famous WOMAD festival. I cant even begin to describe, think of the biggest beautiful park, on so many levels, stages all sizes within the trees, amazing sunshine and the biggest variety of bands from around the world, inuit throat singing, irish acoustic guitar singing, of course maori culture performances, chinese dragon performances, brazillian martial arts contests and dances, rap, hiphop and our new favourite band - mongolian rock/punk/country!!! they were incredible!! the audience went wild!! i shall have to get the name and see if I can get a link for you, they went from the haunting powerful voices to the drums and beats of their history, incredible. Also one of the best things was the food!!!! from all around the world, i lunched in malaysia and dinnered in hungarian style. a fantastic day I also treated myself to a little henna! ahhh memories for a lifetime!

We've made the journey down to wellington now, loving it, more next time

Lots of love always,
P xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

run out of internet time so will contine asap =) love to all xxxxx
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Hazel Genner on

Sounds like you had a really fab. time in and around New Plymouth Pip & Steve. It really is a lovely area isn't it? Do hope ankle keeps improving, & that purple bruised brow is fading Steve. Luv, Kiwi-Granny & Poppa xx

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