Leaving NZ

I've already fallen behind again, but rest assured, you haven't missed too much. After four very nice days in Ohope, we drove across the Island to spend our last night in Piha. I still remember very fondly the beach and the waves I was enjoying a few years ago together with my faithful Harald, his sleek and slender body carrying me across the surf at high speed. 😁Well, anyway. Unfortunately, the night was short for me, not a single minute of sleep, since the room was infested by super aggressive mozzies. Bathroom as well. I killed many, but couldn't stem the tide. Felt a bit like 'Nam back in the days, Hamburger Hill.Didn't matter too much though, only had 40km to drive to the airport, and afterwards, nothing. I really enjoy Singapore Airlines C product, this time on the A380, the widest seats I've ever seen and managed to get a few hours of sleep before reaching Singapore on Wednesday evening. Also managed to watch Geostorm, what a shitty movie but just perfe…

Ice cream dementia setting in

Nuff said. 😁 🍦 😍 πŸ’• πŸ’ž

Ohope Beach / Whakatane

Fourth time we come to this wonderful, fantastic, beautiful, quiet, relaxed, marvelous, paradisical spot. Probably fair to say that this is our favorite place in NZ. I've written about Ohope so many times, so I won't repeat myself. 11km of wonderful, almost empty, sandy beach. Nice surf. Great food. Lovely ice cream. Berry orchards. Macadamia orchards. Running along the beach. Surfing. Body Boarding. Chilling out. Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream. And some nice walking tracks. And very friendly people. And no bus crowds. That is probably the thing that still surprises me, in a positive way. Apparently, Whakatane/Ohope is just far enough off the beaten track so that the big tour buses don't come here. Bliss! Of course, we paid many, many visits to our favorite berry and ice cream dealer, The Blueberry Corner. :-) And we stayed at Surfs Reach Motel again, which was every bit as nice and welcoming and perfectly situated right on the beach as two years ago. The ice cream at The…

Tongariro Northern Circuit

We left beautiful Cape Palliser with a heavy heart early Wednesday morning for the long drive to Whakapapa Village, which is the starting point for the Tongariro Northern Circuit multi-day hike. We took it slow, meandering through the Hutt Valley and the took the Manawatu scenic route, very beautiful and definitely a spot we need to explore more in future visits. Lunch stop was at an old familiar place in Woodville, the good old Aryan Cafe 88. I've made enough jokes about them in previous years, so nuff said. But it's a nice cafe, very friendly service. On we drove and got to Whakapapa Village shortly after 1pm, checked into the DOC office, and were on our way at 2pm. The first leg was a short one only, ca 9km to Mangatepopo Hut. They call it the "ditch track" and the name is well deserved, a bit muddy in parts, but nice, coming ever closer to Mt Ngauruhoe. The hut was ok, too. Not the biggest cooking/dining area, but it worked, since it wasn't cold. But if it ge…

Cape Palliser

Remote, rugged, beautiful. Cape Palliser. That's were we headed to Monday morning, taking it slow through the Hutt Valley and then a superbly scenic drive down to and along the coast. Wow. It's really hard to stay focussed on the road here with fantastic ocean views on the one side and sheer cliffs or bluffs on the other. But I managed. ;-) This was actually the second part of the Reisebegleitung's birthday present, for she is in love with lighthouses and that's of course what's to be found at the very end of the road at the Cape ... a super remote and super nice lighthouse. And only ca 250 steps to go up to it. :-) I'd booked us into the Cape Palliser Beach Break House, a truly wonderful accommodation, like a luxury bach, right in Ngawei. Ngawei is a tiny settlement a few klicks from the lighthouse, and their trademark is the huge number of old rusty bulldozers sitting on the beach. They need them to pull their boats onto the shore, it's very funny to see …

Fiji, Fiji, Fiji!

Hamilton? Hamilton! Hamilton? Wtf are they doing in Hamilton? That doesn't make any sense, logistics wise. True. But I always thought that the traveling salesman should be fucked up his NP-complete arse anyway. It was the Reisebegleitung's birthday and the NZ Sevens Tournament was on and I'd bought tickets for the finals day as a present. That easy. The tournament used to be in Wellington, for the past 1000 years, which would obviously have been a lot easier. But then they moved it to Hamilton. And I got tickets for the flying Air New Zealand bus and a room in a nice B&B as well. So, brief deviation from the route, we got in Saturday morning, thankfully were able to check in early in our room right across from the magnificient Botanical Gardens in East Hamilton. We walked straight across into town, along the beautiful Waikato River and fell upon the River Kitchen Cafe like a plague of locusts or probably more like hungry wolves. There was this gigantic hole in my stoma…

Windy Wellington

Here's a confession: I really like Wellington. To me, it's one of the nicest cities I've ever been to. Even though the weather tries to convince me otherwise each time I visit. Maybe that's part of the appeal, who knows. This time, it all started out very smoothly. We arrived Wednesday afternoon and walked in nice sunshine and quite a bit of wind around the hills and bays of Seatoun. We were staying at a super nice B&B (Acorn's B&B Seatoun), one of the best B&B's we've ever stayed at. Friendly hosts, spacious and clean and modern and comfortable plus a very nice breakfast. And quiet. And close to the sea. And close to city bus lines. And a nice restaurant just down the road. So, Wednesday was very nice, we could already feel the first touches of the cyclone that was to hit Wednesday to Thursday night. And hit it did, although the main impact was on the South Island fortunately (for us). So Thursday was the Reisebegleitung's birthday and we w…