Friday 25th April, ANZAC Day.
Anne here. Another catch up post from last week…
We actually drove up the West side of the Coromandel peninsula yesterday afternoon after leaving Hobbiton and stayed in Coromandel Town last night. The weather improved dramatically. The road twists and winds its way along side the Firth of Thames, with cute little bays. The water was so still you could see lots of reflections and hardly any ripples. A road sign said beware of wide loads because the road is very narrow; it didn’t explain that this meant large boats on trailers and the occasional very long log lorries!
So many of the places where we have stayed have definitely qualified as “a room with a (superb) view” but this was “a whole house with a (superb) view”. Coromandel town is based around fishing (the fresh fish is fantastic) and also allegedly lots of arts and crafts and a gold mining history, although we didn’t see the latter two.
Then today we drove on a very dramatic road across the top of the peninsula then down the east side of the peninsula in blazing hot sunshine. The beautiful white beaches make this side the more popular, with fairly upmarket holiday apartments and really nice small towns. We didn’t see as much of the beaches as I hoped from the car and sadly we didn’t have time for the walk that they deserved.
Suddenly, what has felt like a never ending holiday in New Zealand, has a definite end date! We fly out of Auckland on Sunday morning! Aaaggghhhh.
Thursday 17th April
Anne here . . .
Just before we left Wellington, I discovered feijoas . . . I had never heard of them before. In case you are wondering, they are very common fruits for New Zealand. They are unlike anything else I have had but I will try to describe them . . . Sort of like a cross between a pear and a kiwi fruit, a close cousin of the guavas (I have never had a guava either) with a grainy texture. Anyway very tasty.
So sadly goodbye to Wellington.
It is absolutely pouring with rain, sadly, as the scenery is stunning. Yes we did pick State highway (SH) 2, the scenic route and we have driven through fantastic hills, deep gorges, stunning valleys, rural towns and fertile farming plains. I was under the misapprehension that the scenery in the North Island was more boring than the South Island but so far that definitely isn’t my experience.
We are just passing through the absolutely stunning Manawatu gorge. The river is really full after the rain of the last few days and the views are just breath-taking. The hills that have lots (over 100?) wind turbines on the top, which is a reminder that New Zealand’s energy is very ecologically friendly and they are very proud to be non-nuclear.
My first two long haul flights will be forever associated with a Sigingstone book club book: the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It’s a very gentle collection of letters between a journalist and the Guernsey literary society but is all about the Nazi invasion of Guernsey. In my mind the two flights and the book will be forever linked.
Anne here. Some thoughts about Hong Kong:
- The skyline really is iconic
- Tropical storms are very dramatic, lashing rain, and bolts of thunder and lightning
- Hong Kong’s skyscrapers can look rather grey in the fog
- I learnt a lot about the history of Hong Kong and what a mad, wonderful anomaly it is
- I loved the traditional boats
- The Queen Elizabeth ship is huge
- Good customer service in Hong Kong is exemplary
- I loved the Star Ferry.
- Early morning Tai chi in the park should be a worldwide custom
The weather meant that we didn’t see the best of Hong Kong but I would love to come back and explore more.
We’re a couple of days behind with our blog mainly due to being off the net for a few days and the effects of jet-leg. We’re much better today but our first day in Auckland totally knocked us for six, Paul especially. It seems that being a seasoned traveller in Europe doesn’t qualify you for long-haul!!
About to fly down to Queenstown from Auckland. Gorgeous weather here.