It’s nice being in a new place and a bit farther from the South Pole. It feels warmer than it did in Blenheim, even though we’re heading into the worst of winter. A few days after my 47th birthday, we happened upon Cornwall Park in Hastings with more of my favourite old, creepy trees. This one though, had something I hadn’t seen before…an unmanned atrium loaded with orchids, lilies, hibiscus and other tropical plants. There were cameras in operation, though.
It also had an Asian flair to it.
I always have to get a shot of those trees!
We took another drive out to Cape Kidnappers and walked farther this time, along the beach. I love looking for things along the beach and since most coastlines are deserted, you can often see some interesting stuff.
I had always thought the term ‘hairy muscle’ was just some kind of weird Kiwi humour. Nope…it’s for real! This was one of many that were scattered along the beach. A green lipped mussel with…well…hair…kind of.
This sign is meant to catch your eye…at first all I read was ‘dead children’. There’s that Kiwi humour!
The cliffs were stunning and I wished I could remember back to my geology class what these different striations meant.
At the bottom of this cliff was a dead sheep. It’s not unusual to see, actually. We pondered if another one of her sheep ‘buddies’ pushed her over. This was about the time we turned back.
There’s a gannet colony at the end of that point. The only way to get there is to walk the beach (and check the tide chart!) or by tractor tours.
This was one interesting thing I saw, thinking it might have been ambergris which could have been a great find. With all of the whales in New Zealand, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. I did not take it home though for some reason. When I researched it, this was probably a sponge, as can be seen by the small holes next to that rock. It didn’t look like a normal ‘sponge’ I’m used to seeing but it may have been fresh. Of course, I’ll never really know.
Walking back to the car was this lovely old character home with a small windbreak to protect it from the constant breeze off the ocean.
A gum tree caught my eye as well. I love how the bark is different colours and as others have mentioned, looks like a tattoo.
A week later, we headed to the Hasting’s farmer’s market where I grabbed a huge bag of habanero’s for $6 and some lemons. This bunch of silver beets caught my eye with their gorgeous rainbow colours. At first I thought it was rhubarb.
You know I’m a sucker for fog and I took advantage of the photo ops one morning around the farm.
A pukeko looked for breakfast and squawked to his buddies while the teenage cows minded their own business.
Fast forward slightly to my now current home of Waipukurau (Waipuk for short). We drove up to a lookout and I was finally able to get a photo of the Oreo cow (Belted Galloway) next to a spotted pig. I see a lot of these cows around New Zealand. I’m waiting to find one with multiple black and white stripes one day!
We went to a sandy beach about 25 minutes from here which was deserted. But on the way there were some interesting sights and fantastic scenery. There are things in New Zealand I’ve never seen elsewhere, like these pink ponds which are actually algae.
Then we were stopped by a mob of sheep hogging up the entire road (not to mention on a 100km/h stretch of it!). Andy was patiently driving behind them as I urged him to just push on past and they’d get out of the way. We knew the farmer was around the bend waiting for them. A local drove up behind us and waited for a bit, before doing what I had suggested. Moving far over to the left and driving slowly, the sheep scattered out of the way and we could then pass.
A few minutes later, for a fleeting moment I saw giraffes on the top of a hill! Obviously fake, but pretty realistic from a distance, I told him he had to try and stop somewhere on the way back for a picture.
Once we made it to Pourerere Beach, the sun came out and a rainbow appeared briefly. We walked along the beach and I found a lot of cool shells.
A lot of kelp (seaweed?) littered the beach. The waves were pretty rough and the feet of the kelp looked like they had been ripped out quite forcibly.
We’ll be seeing more of the upper North Island in December for a mini-road trip. It’ll be great getting out to the sandy beaches in the summer and may finally change my mind about the weather in New Zealand. At least I hope it will!