Whew, what a crazy week. Now that hurricane Matthew is completely out of the picture, it's time to get back to business. I'm not going to lie, being a West Coast girl and unexperienced with hurricanes, that was pretty scary, especially with Russ still in New Zealand. I'm just so very thankful for the minimal damage in our area.
Speaking of Russ still being in New Zealand, it's time to get the last of our trip posted. Sorry for the hurricane delay. New Zealand has so many unique sights to offer that it's going to take many trips to experience them all. Lucky for us, Russ's family will keep us returning every few years. Much of our time this trip was spent with family and friends, but we did manage to book a little two night getaway for ourselves. Truth be told, Russ booked it. I didn't know that he even knew AirBNB existed. See, an old dog can learn new tricks!
We left our home base of Mt. Maunganui Friday morning en route to Waipu Cove, which is North of Auckland on the west side of the island. Along the way, we made a few side trips that caught our eye. There is definitely something to be said for not being on a tight time schedule. The first of those stops was in the Karangahake Gorge, southwest of Auckland. We happened upon a very short hike to Woodstock Battery. For those with more time than we had, there are many trails, even some leading to glow-worm caves.
Our short hike took us across two suspended bridges, to the remains of Woodstock Battery, and along a scenic view of the Ohinemuri River. Woodstock Battery crushed the gold ore mined out of the surrounding mountainsides by Woodstock Mining Gold Mining Company during the late 1800s to the mid 1900s.
Now this couple knows how to road trip in style!
Our next stop was Puhoi, just north of Auckland. Secretly, I think Russ wanted to check it out because I had stopped there with my parents on our last trip when he was occupied with family. Of course, I can't have been somewhere in New Zealand that he hasn't. Regardless, it's a quaint little town settled by Bohemians in 1863. This was another quick stop for us, but there is a museum, beautiful church, and fantastic restaurant and bar. Unfortunately, a tour bus had just arrived, and the bar was packed. Food would have to wait for another stop. Always having a fascination with books, I fell in love with the miniature library in Puhoi. For those Stephen King fans out there, scenes from the Tommyknockers were even filmed here.
Our home for the night in Waipu Cove was Cabin 23, an absolute gem. Jo is a wonderfully warm and welcoming hostess. The accommodation is perfect for a couple. There is a queen size bed in the bedroom, a nice seating area in the kitchen/living room, and a deck with beautiful views.
Jo even helped me pick fresh veggies from the garden--lettuce, chives, carrots, and beetroot for a fresh salad. And, cabbage and spring onions to saute with a little butter, salt, and pepper. The small town of Waipu had a market where we were able to purchase steaks to grill up with all our fresh veggies. Yes, Cabin 23 had a gas grill at our disposal. Have I mentioned the beef in New Zealand is all grass-fed with no hormones and no antibiotics? Milk and cheese taste amazing here as well.
A bottle of local Pinot Noir to share and we were set for the evening. Our only disappointment was that we were not able to book a 2nd night with Cabin 23 because we were leaving our itinerary open, and someone else had already booked the weekend. However, that forced us to explore other areas of the North Island.
Next post, days two and three of our mini road trip.