Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day 2: Coromandel Peninsula

Sept 22nd

Logan slept well his first night in New Zealand. He did wake up in the middle of the night, around 2:30am, but ate a huge bottle of milk and went back to sleep until 8am. Success!! If we can continue to get him to sleep like this, we're golden.

Our cottages provided breakfast each morning - so we had a nice leisurely fruit, cereal and bread - OH THE BREAD - breakfast. Their bread is thick, fresh, homemade and oh so yummy. Yes, we liked the bread. And, Jon and I ended up eating all of our toast plus some of Eric and Jill's because they are healthier than us and we are smarter because we totally needed to carb up for the big hike that was soon upon us. So there.

We took off for a beautiful hike to Cathedral Cove - another hot tourist spot in Hahei - yet because we were there in off-season, there was hardly a person in sight! It was glorious. We whipped out our trusty new child backpack carrier, and wouldn't you know it, Logan napped in that backpack pretty much the entire hike down to the cove! The weather was hotter than hell, but I think that was mostly due to my choice of PANTS for the hike, and that I have been sorely out of shape. Definitely a much harder workout for me than anyone else in our party I'm sure, but I still did ok, and my PT would be proud of me. :) As I was saying, the hike was beautiful, with all sorts of paths leading through thick jungly greenery and then dumping you out onto views of private beaches and the BLUEST GREEN waters ever! Gorgeous.

After our hike, we all grabbed "smoothies" from a lunch van at the top of the hill for a snack. Our smoothies were more like freshly squeezed fruit juice, they were so thin in consistency. Was it just the style at this particular roach coach, or are all Kiwi smoothies like this? Stay tuned to find out.

We stopped off at the cottages to change and get more milk for Logan (he's an eating machine!) and then headed out to the Ferry to visit nearby "big city" Whitianga. Along the drive, we stopped at Purangi Winery for a free tasting and Jon got suckered into buying some feijoa liqueur. Blech. I have to admit, the owner/vinter was a hoot however, and totally earned every penny that Jon spent (he tried his best at an American accent but the poor bloke didn't do too great). ;-)

Another American family happened to visit just as we were leaving, and the mom had two boys, one about Logan's age and one about 3 yrs old. Logan was FASCINATED by the 3 yr old (the other one he could care less about) and wanted to "play" with him. The mother commented on Logan's vocal chords, "Boy, he's an expressive little one, isn't he?" since Logan was SCREAMING at the top of his lungs with excitement, having discovered an army of ants on the ground with her 3 yr old boy. Sure, expressive could be one word to describe it.

Continuing on our drive, we hit up Shakespeare's Cliff. Not sure why it's called that (the guy at the winery suggested we stop there) but it did have beautiful vistas of the bay which we all enjoyed. The scenery on this part of the island is just indescribably gorgeous and I'm afraid none of my pictures really do it justice.

We caught the Ferry to Whitianga (pronounced "Fitianga"). The Fireplace restaurant, that our cottage host had recommended for dinner, was closed (I'm starting to notice a theme here), so we hit up the Salt restaurant (his other recommendation) instead. The kitchen wasn't open until 5:30pm (it was a little after 4pm) so we walked around the small town of Whitianga to ooh and ahh at all the clothes and accessories behind the CLOSED doors and locked windows. Closed Mondays or just sooooo not the tourist season? The only place open was an Internet Cafe across the street from Salt. I whipped out a couple bucks to get my Internet fix and madly typed out a few emails to some family and friends while we waited for Salt to open up. :)

Had a ridiculously huge and decadent meal at the Salt Restaurant where they pulled together one of the best mushroom risottos I've ever had (which says a lot, since I've had a few tasty risottos while living in Italy!). We were all very impressed with the service, and have noticed that everyone has been super friendly and hospitable wherever we go so far.

Caught the Ferry home (windy as all hell) and everyone hung out together in the cottage until it was time to put Logan to bed (poor guy struggled toward the end of the day). Overall though, he did absolutely GREAT. He hung out in the backpack carrier all through our 3 hr (or so) hike without much of a fuss. He got cranky during the car rides but I was feeling a bit cranky too so I can't blame the kid (my back was starting to feel the aftermath of the flight and the long hike that day).

While on the Ferry, an old man asked Jon, in all seriousness, if we were visiting from The New World (which was kinda funny since you don't hear that too often, and isn't Australia/New Zealand lumped into "The New World" anyway?)

New Zealand is proving to be a wonderful paradise so far - another world in fact!

Perhaps it should be given a term all to its own.

Editor's Note: You'll notice the pics on both this post and the last one now link to an album I've created for the New Zealand trip. Click any of the pics for more of our fabulous trip!


El Zilcho said...

I did not get suckered. I liked the liquor I bought and plan to drink it up with Nathan and whoever else at TV night tonight.


cabriana said...

Looks like a great trip! I have always wanted to go there, maybe if Dan's vacation doesn't get canceled we might be able to.