(Click on photos to enlarge)
A New Zealand detour...
But we were very glad to have gone, because the scenery we saw was incredible. Here's some photos:
Beautiful Maori cemetery by the sea.
A not uncommon sight around Opotiki and East Cape: a shaggy mountain horse tied up to graze on the side of the road (or in this case, in an undeveloped park). Also not unusual is to see people riding their horse to town, or along the highway. Yesterday we saw two guys, one on horseback, and the other on his bike, holding onto his friend's stirrup and being pulled along by the horse!
Matt, making friends.
We found some great tidepools, among these crazily shaped rocks. The were absolutely packed with sea snails and limpets, but none of the photos of them came out well.
The beautiful old Anglican church where we ate our picnic lunch. The church sits on a promontory that juts out into the ocean, and the views were amazing. The red archway over the door is traditional Maori carving.
One of several paua shells we found on the beach. The beaches here are covered in incredibly shaped driftwood, and all kinds of shells we've never seen before, from paua to perfectly round clams, to incredibly intricate sea snail shells.
Agapantha flower and pohutukawa tree in front of Cape Runaway.
Whangaparaoa, the site where the Maori first came ashore in New Zealand.
Lyn had told us how to get to a secret little surf cove just north of Opotiki, which you access by driving down a tiny winding lane and parking in an empty cattle paddock, then hiking down to the beach. We stopped there at the end of the day, just before getting home. There was no surf, but that didn't matter, because it looked like this:
We ended the day by coming back down the highway and stopping at the settlement of Opape, to see the beach where Lyn and Kate were married, and to take in the view from Lyn's tribe's Marae.
I feel so very blessed to have seen everything we saw yesterday. Seeing East Cape and all of these places felt like a religious experience in many ways. There is so much history and culture there, and just outright beauty. We got to go places where very few tourists ever go, and I am very grateful to have had that privilege.