Joined September 2017
  • Day70

    Heading home

    March 16 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Well, one has to be flexible.

    With new restrictions coming every day from both Canada and New Zealand, the uncertainty exceeded our tolerance threshold and we decided this morning we better get home. So here we are at the Auckland airport. Flying thru LA as no direct flights...not our first choice 😝. Wish us luck!

    Amazing the impact this is having. Way fewer planes here than you'd normally see. So many jobs affected. So many cases and deaths.

    Our niece Lindsay is getting us set up with supplies for our self isolation. We appreciate your other offers and may well call on the favour yet.

    After the busy-ness of getting a flight, packing up, getting to Auckland, checking in...we have a moment to think. I'm sad to be leaving early... missing our upcoming weekend with Kirsten, missing my last line dance class (they were great people), and oh... we'll miss the beach!

    But we had a great trip,...very lucky people. Take a look at some memories.

    Hopefully we'll get home safely and then will do our part to try and manage this unprecedented time.

    Stay safe all. Get into the zen of handwashing 🤲.
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  • Day68

    A beautiful day in the neighborhood...

    March 14 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    From all our posts to date, you're forgiven if you think we've been living in a cave and haven't heard of the coronavirus.  Nothing but adventures, golf, gorgeous beaches, great weather.  Not a worry in the world!

    Well...not so much.  We've probably been reading way more internet news than we should be on holiday down here.  And today we spent the whole morning connecting with home, reading the updates and deciding whether a change in travel plans was warranted to get home earlier.  After much  to and fro-ing, for now we're sticking to our original plan to fly home March 25.  With an additional 2 week stay-cation once we get there.  Risk is low here (currently 5 cases in NZ).  If Canada closes its borders to NZ flights - they'll have to get us home somehow, eventually.  There are worse places to be 'stuck' in. 

    With that decision made, we can now be in the moment - and enjoy this gorgeous country.  So that we did - off on our bikes, into the Mount; walk around the mount, then ride to our local brewery for refreshment.  With all going on in the world around us, we appreciate how lucky we are!
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  • Day60

    Hamilton...the New Zealand one

    March 6 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    On our way back from the caves, stopped in at Hamilton - the 4th largest city in New Zealand, seat of the Waikato region in central north island.  It's not revered much by Kiwis, but does have a very vibrant main street full of bars and eateries. 

    We also took a little boat ride on the Waikato - the longest river in NZ - 425 km.

     Hamilton gardens are award winning - the feature being a series of 'rooms' - enclosed gardens each with a different theme - Italian, traditional, Maori, Surrealist, etc... very cool.
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  • Day59

    Golf!

    March 5 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    A golf course is a great place to be...at least most of the time, when your swing is working and the putts are falling.

    Non-golfers need not read on...but you can still enjoy the pics. 

    Golf in this area of New Zealand - and in most places except maybe around Auckland and Wellington - is very inexpensive.  Seasonal membership at Mount Maunganui, (closest to us) was $315 CAD each for 9 weeks unlimited golf.  That also gets you a $23 rate at all other courses in the area.  However, the Mount's narrow, dry fairways weren't super conducive to Daryl's frequent mis-directions off the tee, so we tried Te Puke - 20 minutes south of us and really liked it. More interesting layout, away from houses and better condition. What they might call a 'country course'.  Super nice people too.  And note in one of the pics the bucket dropped down from the bar - when you just can't wait for that after-round beverage 🍺!  So for $90 per month (each), we've done most of our golf there.  Tried a couple of other courses in the area - one very dry and boring, another one not bad - very hilly.  

    More often than not, fairways aren't well irrigated - so very dry.  On the up side - lots of roll...if you've hit the ball in the right direction!  But most of the greens have been super!  Water hazards are few and far between - but lots of bunkers!

    Today we golfed Ohope International Golf Club - fabulous!  A true links course.  (For those non-golfers who are still reading despite my warning - a links course is the oldest style of golf course, first developed in Scotland. The word 'links' comes via the Scots language from the Old English word 'hlinc':  rising ground, ridge; and refers to an area of coastal sand dunes, undulating ground and sandy soil).  Ohope is right out on the point - fabulous views!  And you can see White Island (where the tragedy happened in December when it erupted while tourists were on it).

    There are LOTS of golf courses here - every 2-bit town seems to have one.  At these, you leave your green fee in the 'honour box' and out you go.

    Kiwis are quite serious about their golf here - competitions are called a 'haggle'.  You always trade cards - even on non-competition days - and both the player and marker have to sign.  There's no entering your own score into the computer - some courses have an automated system that does it for you - or you hand it in to the pro shop and they do it.  Not sure it discourages the serious sandbaggers - as stableford scores are often in the high 40's and 50's... hmmm.

    While golf itself is inexpensive, any golf gear is very dear - balls, clubs, etc.  Probably because it has so far to travel to get here.  But they still have the clothes sale racks in the pro shop that Cindy has taken advantage of 😁.

    The weather has been super, and we've played golf about 3 times a week.  Have enjoyed the different experience here - but as they say...there's no place like home.  And I know we'll love coming back to Cordova Bay golf course.
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  • Day59

    Cave tour

    March 5 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

    Side trip to Waitomo Caves. Very cool trek down through these limestone caves. Glowworms are a big draw - didn't get pics of those worth sharing, but they're cool too. We walked through, but you can also take a boat or raft.  Caves below ground are owned by the owner of the land above. So the Holland family is doing all right with cave tours 💰!

    Also a good bush walk nearby. Good walks and great views always in abundance here.

    Museum visit the next day. History of colonization, Maori-pakeha (white people) wars.
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  • Day49

    Taupo

    February 24 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Haven't checked in for a while.  Guess that's what a holiday does to ya.

    We stopped at Taupo on the way home from Napier - it's along the Thermal Highway so we saw more thermal vents steaming out of the ground. and a major geo-thermal power plant.

    A good hike up from Huka Falls.  Turns out we had visited Huka Falls 5 years ago when we were here too...well worth seeing again.  And on our hike - we met Canadians...who we had a connection to!  We had played squash with Mary's brother! It's a small world!!
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  • Day47

    Napier Art Deco Festival

    February 22 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Fantastic annual event, originally to honour victims of the 1931 earthquake that destroyed Napier. The town was rebuilt to reflect that era, therefore...art deco buildings and art deco festival. Great vibe, as virtually everyone plays the part by dressing up at least a little. Many are totally into it. Live music in the streets and bandshell by the beach, classic car rally, soap box races, marching bands, air show, Gatsby picnic, dancing...you name it. Great people watching..fun time!Read more

  • Day46

    On the Road to Napier

    February 21 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Road trip...4 1/2 hours south of the Mount. Heading to Napier for Art Deco Days. Kirsten joining us.

    Sights along the way...big hedge action protecting all the kiwi fruits. Driving the thermal highway, with lots of venting steam plumes. Beautiful waterfall, seemingly out of nowhere. Get to the seaside town of Napier with crashing waves on the beach, waterfront walkway and art deco buildings. Gonna be fun days ahead.Read more

  • Day42

    Hiking

    February 17 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Couple of great hikes in the area. Along the Waihou river to the blue springs...really blue! And to the Wairere Falls. The first quite flat, along the river, and beside farmland. Then rocky terrain and quite steep. Great infrastructure on both with boardwalks, stairways and good paths. Tho definitely some scrambling on the falls hike.Read more

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