Our time in New Zealand has come to an end, but we did have an extra fun last week, so I thought I’d share a few more stories.
I took Erica’s bike to Waiheke island for the day. It was an easy ferry trip from Devonport, and though it was cloudy and threatening rain when I left, in half an hour I found myself back in the sunshine. Turned out to be a beautiful day–perfect for biking and wine tasting around this little island. As soon as I got off the ferry it was easy to navigate my way through the quaint streets of Waiheke. The island has a very mellow, slightly hippie vibe. There’s not much on the island except for beaches, bed and breakfasts, and wineries.
I started on the south side of the island where there was a lovely auto-free coastal track.
Then I made my way to the first winery: Goldie’s Vineyard. I hopped off my bike and met a friendly American in the tasting room who hooked me up with lots of wine and then sent me to the top of the hill with my glass to enjoy the view. Not too shabby.
From there I went to two more wineries (already forgot the names) and one of them also was a brewery, so I got to taste some beer, too. I treated myself to a lovely lunch and then rode around the north side of the island, stopping at various beaches along the way. The entire time I was thinking of Mark and Jennie Johnson–you guys would love this place. I was even scoping out the best hotel to recommend to you, so if you ever are in that part of the world, let me know!
One day we rented a car and headed to the west coast to see what kind of surf is on the Tasman Sea. Piha is a well-known surf-spot for Aucklanders, and the beach is just gorgeous with giant rocks framing the surf. Mark rented a board and caught a few waves while I enjoyed lying on the warm black sand. We wandered around a bit and saw some pretty cool surfshops/beach pads. Everyone we met was really laid back and friendly, including the deli shop guy who gave us free brownies. Mark was impressed with the friendly vibe out in the water, too. Out in the lineup he accidentally bumped the board of a huge Maori guy. The guy turned around, and Mark got ready for a thrashing. The guy said, “I’m so sorry, brah!” and smiled. Love those kiwis! Overall it was a great day and felt a lot like being back in California.
We had a few more touristy things to knock off, like the zoo, which was fun.
Then Erica and Rob took us to the Sky City Casino for a big night of gambling and fine dining. The view was fabulous from the observatory (probably the best view in the entire country) and we had fun down in the casino, too.
The very last night Rob took Mark sailing, and they both came back hooting and hollering with excitement. They had four races and managed to place in the last one. Mark loved every minute. Here are few videos:
Well, I thought another month in Kiwi Land might make the novelty of this country wear off, but no such luck. We just love everything about New Zealand, and we’re truly grateful that we got a chance to spend two months there. Here are a few more classic kiwi pictures:
Love the Airport Terminal Screen, with its “Relax” message:
Will always remember our view from the Spencer on Byron
God Bless New Zealand!
And where do we go next? Well, the five readers of this blog probably already know…but stay tuned for our next blog coming soon!