Thursday, 22 December 2011

Coromandel and Nelson

The Coromandel Peninsular
Before Christmas week we have our w/e in Coromandel which we’ve been planning for ages. It’s about 2 hours drive from Auckland and is a popular place for Aucklanders’ to go for a short break. We’ve booked a bach for 2 nights in Hahei, a little seaside place about half way up on the Pacific coast. Bach apparently derives from batchelor pad; ours is called ‘mini-Beaujolais’ for goodness sake. It’s actually quite large and just a short walk to the most beautiful beach, but it’s early evening and a bit cool to swim so we settle in and go across the road to the pub/restaurant. On the way down we realise that I’d forgotten to pack 2 of the most important items: camera and rucksack. Oh well we’ll have to manage without. Next morning is bright and sunny so we pack our gear (into a plastic bag) and set off for Cathedral Cove, a famous landmark beach a little further north.

We have an encounter with a large family of Californian quail, mum & dad with 16 chicks. Unfortunately they’re going the same way as us and we have a devil of a job overtaking them. It’s a lovely stroll along the hilly coastline with great views over the Pacific dotted with islands, spotting groups of kayaks, and looking out for birds. Eventually we get to Cathedral Cove, named after the massive stone archway dividing one beach from another, you'll have to look it up on the net. We swim when we get back to Hahei in beautiful clear turquoise water. By late afternoon we’re at Hot Water Beach, with flocks of people digging holes in the sand to make their very own spa pools. There are hot gases released at a couple of points beneath the sand making it really hot. We don’t go as far as stripping off and lying down, but it was fun watching people who did.

That evening we eat very well at The Church Restaurant. Next day the weather’s foul so we pack up and made our way back to Auckland.

Off to Nelson
Nelson has suffered worse weather this week than Auckland resulting in the worst floods and landslips they’ve had for many years, and Mike has been asked to go and do the assessment visits. So I get to go too of course; just as well I’ve not got a proper job and can just skive off the Hospice Shop shifts. All very sudden and we’re booked to fly Friday pm, staying in a motel. So we cancel our plans for Christmas up north and reckon we’ll plan what to do once we’re down there in Nelson.
The town is pretty small though it does have a rather ugly grey concrete cathedral up on a hill in the centre of town. It’s a little bit Wild West with a touch of Hicksville thrown in, but there are loads of individual potters, glass-makers and art galleries dotted around the place, so the town has a certain charm to it. We get invited out to meet Mike’s work mates on Monday evening which is a rather nice introduction, and on Tuesday I find a large Op Shop and offer my services to the manager. She’s glad to have me as lots of volunteers are off for Christmas, so I get 2 shifts for the week. No messing, you just roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. It’s great for me as it keeps me occupied and I get to meet a lovely group of women, all good fun.

Tahunanui Beach

Wonderful views across the beach to the Abel Tasman in the far distance
Tuesday evening we go for a walk on the town beach. It has loads of drift wood and stretches a long way westward. You can see the Abel Tasman hills away off north west under a very dramatic sky. There’s a group of people practising Tai Kwon Du (?) and further along a gang of kids performing with steel drums and whistles. Erosion has left enormous tree roots exposed where the sand meets the dunes, perfect for kids building dens.

Lovely tangled tree roots exposed at the top of the beach where trees have fallen
23 DecemberSo far we’ve had 2 invites for Christmas dinner (one from each work place) but we’ve decided to get away and go walking. Have a lot of trouble with internet connection at this motel and of course a lot of places are booked up but eventually find a little place in Picton, which is down on the Marlborough Sounds, quite close to the famous Queen Charlotte walking track. We’re booked in for 3 nights. Mike’s been asked to extend our stay as there’s a lot of work here so we agree to extend our stop till New Year w/e. We’re just getting ready to go and Mike gets a call to say there’s been yet another earthquake in Christchurch. We turn on the news and they’ve had 2 in quick succession: 5.8 and 6.0. No deaths reported but plenty of damage. Does this mean we’ll be here moved down to Christchurch next I wonder?

1 comment:

  1. Lovely pics as always Sue and looks so nice there. Has a slight mystical look to it, unless just me of course!

    Saw on news about the earthquake and wondered if you be sent there to help or not. Least no casualties which is good. Seems like work is pretty busy, just sadly not for the best of reasons.

    Enjoy your Christmas break and love reading your updates on life down under and the places, charity shops and general news.

    Merry Christmas to you both from us lot over here :o) xxx