On the road to Coromandel

An early start for the swimmers which meant I got to sleep past 5.30!

Sorry readers this little swimmer opted out! Too chilly for me with no wet suit.

Jill and Chris picked me up and we checked out the local markets and had coffee before heading to Tapakuna Beach north of Auckland.

imageLots of local fish at these markets.

We arrived in time to see Kim David and friend Adam line up for the relay. Steve had finished his 3.5 km swim and the shoulder was fine. He was happy so that means I was happy too.

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The day was a little grey with sudden showers but not too cool. I think it’s clearing for our drive to the Coronandel this afternoon.

We had a great farewell lunch at a restaurant overlooking the bay and decided NZ offers great food and wines and we could easily stay longer than the 5 days we’ve allowed.

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Chris drove this afternoon as Steve enjoyed one beer too many in celebrating his swim  and we hit the road about 2 pm. It was a lovely drive down and luckily no rain.

The roads were winding through green rolling hills and was chocolate box perfect. NZ ……. Sigh! Beautiful.

Got to Whitianga around 5 and found our slightly odd accommodation. It’s a B&B but is inside a 3 bedroom apartment in a largish complex. Seems we share it with Diana. Lucky for us Diana is dog sitting tonight and has left the keys and the apartment for our exclusive use!

Whitianga is a laid back peaceful port and turned on a beautiful afternoon for us as we wandered around the foreshore and found a place for a sundowner.

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Steve was more than tired by  now after his early start and big swim so we made a fairly night of it. Of course we checked out Lost World Spa and decided tomorrow we would start with the thermal pools of the spa before moving on.

These warming pools are very  sort after in this area and we had a choice of taking a shovel to Hot Water beach and digging our own spa in the sand and lying in it or going to Lost World and lounging in their pools.

We checked it out yesterday and it looked very tropical lost worldish and thought that was easier than taking a shovel to the beach.

So tomorrow a little account of us ‘taking the therapeutic waters’ of the thermal pool. Could be interesting.

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Visiting New Zealand

  Come and swim in NZ said our swim trekking friends. Why not! 

So a quick trip was planned to visit Kim and David Parker in Mellons Bay Auckland. Chris and Jill Wilson decided to come along with us to recreate our swim trek group from Greece in 2014. 

  There is a big ocean swim with about 1200 swimmers setting off on Saturday and I won’t be one of them. In one day it’s turned cool and without a wet suit I would freeze. Wimp I know! Steve of course will go bare! Well not completely – he will have on his budgies. Our friends swim in wet suits and who could blame them here in NZ. They swim most of the year in the bays and the ocean around the North Island. They breed them tough in NZ. 

Our flight out was at 8.30 but due to the customs strike were told to get there early. So bright and early we were in a taxi and straight through customs! So we sat in the lounge, had breakfast until boarding time and met up with my friend  Fi from Mahjong. 

Landing we saw the long white cloud that told us we were coming into NZ. We welcomed ourselves by posing under the carved tiki in the arrivals area. 

  
Off to Mellons Bay and our friends Kim and David, our Greek swim trek friends. They have a cream house set in a very well tended green garden with lots of white flowers – my favourite,  with views towards the bay. 

Kim had prepared a Greek feast to relive days spent in the Cyclades and with champagne and red wine we managed to settle in and have a wonderful night. 
Next Morning: 

Feeling very guilty we wandered out for breakfast around 9, well after David had left for work and Kim had had her hour long walk along the foreshore. Chris and Jill arrived – late-  from Mandy’s B&B and we set off for the city. 

 Auckland is a water city. It is surrounded by bays and waterways and we drove the slow route around the bay into the Botanic gardens. The boys were going to the War Memorial and the girls to that other shrine – a shopping area called Newmarket. 

Lots of eclectic boutiques with the latest fashions. The colour navy, in lace and sheers for layering seems to be favoured by the many NZ fashion designers. And there are lots of them. We visited Nicola Waite, Trelease Cooper, Verge, Briarwood just to mention a few. 

Kim proved to be a keen tour guide as we meandered from one boutique to the next. No big shopping malls here. Lots of little streets and lanes with individual boutiques and fashionable sales girls modelling the latest. I gave up resisting and bought a simple shift dress from Briarwood. It has the most beautiful fabric and simple design. Hope it turns out to be a winner! 

Jill definitely won the shopping! She bought 2 pairs of pants and 3 tops. She’ll may have to employ the de littering hints we read about in NZ’s Women’s Weekly. 

We met the boys for lunch and heard stories of what they had seen at the Museum. Coming in at the tail end of the conversation I heard about NZ’s  mower  – ( really their Moa ) and thought that’s strange having a mower at the Museum! 

Tonight we wandered up to the ‘local village’ and sat in the ‘Library’ of the local hotel. Quite charming. I do wish I lived near a little village like this. Such a great selection of shops from fashion to food, hardware to bookshops, cafes and restaurants. We had a hearty dinner so the swimmers would be fuelled up for their race tomorrow. Kim, David and Steve are doing the Beach to Bay ocean swim. A mere 3.5 km of swimming in the bay. So a fairly sober night for some of us!  

   
If you have handy hints for Auckland please share them in the Comments Box