Saturday, January 8, 2011

Latest Photos, and Off to Wellington

Sunday, 9th January, 2011
New Plymouth Library

These last few days have been more great weather and good fun with all the cool people who have been staying at the Wavehaven this week. Matt has gone surfing with “the boys” (Nigel, Mark, and Si) several times recently, and yesterday Matt and I went out for a quick surf at midday, and again I ditched the wetsuit and enjoyed the balmy water. Yesterday evening we went up to Urenui again; Merv & Michele had invited us to join in a “Paddock Party” at a friend’s place near their farm. Tony & Sharon (who are also Workaway hosts) had just made hay in the paddock right below their house, and to celebrate threw a gigantic party, with all their friends camping out in the paddock, a big bonfire, and a couple different jams/bands playing. Their place is amazing, up on a hill overlooking the farmland and the sea, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We only stayed a few hours, needing to get back home to pack for our trip to Wellington, and as the wind just wouldn’t let up, we were pretty glad to get off the high ground and back into a more sheltered climate! But the scenery and company were fantastic, and we had a makeshift dinner of delicious steak sandwiches with the meat cooked on a small gas cooker in an awning put up against a campervan: oh so Kiwi.

Now, we are just an hour or so away from heading south towards Wellington to pick up Jessa when she arrives tomorrow afternoon! Matt is at work at the YMCA at the moment, and as soon as he is off work, we will drive south and camp near Wanganui (about 2 ½ hours from New Plymouth) tonight, then on into the capital tomorrow. Megan and Nigel headed off to Rotorua this morning driving Lucy, and we are enjoying their Subaru Outback, which is an absolute dream to drive compared to our van. We think we got the better end of this car swap deal :) The next couple days will be spent with Jessa in and around Wellington, exploring a couple Lord of the Rings filming sites in Upper Hutt, and then heading up to the Whanganui River for a day of adventure sports on the water before coming back up to Oakura and New Plymouth. I am stoked to see some new parts of New Zealand, and we are so excited to see Jessa, and so glad she is getting the chance to see New Zealand with us. She should already be en route, and hopefully will not be too horribly knackered after her 22 or so hours in transit!

I will probably not get a chance to update again until we are back at the Wavehaven. We’ll be returning pretty late on Thursday the 13th (Happy Birthday, Dad!), so hopefully I’ll get a post up sometime on Friday. In the meantime, here are some photos from the last few days (I finally got the good camera’s light settings working again, with Graham’s help, so after a month or so using the small camera, we are back to better quality photos!): 

 (Click on photos to enlarge-I recommend it for these ones!)
 Agapanthus, my favorite iconic NZ flower, along Ahu Ahu Road

 This is how I will always remember Ahu Ahu Beach.

 From the Ahu Ahu "capark" (in reality an uneven grassy strip that you park on...)

 Gorgeous waves on Friday (Matt is out there)


 Matt on a wave at Ahu's

 Matt dropping into a nice 4-footer (note to self: figure out the zoom lens!)

 My jandals-tanned, bruised, sandfly-bitten feet enjoying the warm sand!

On Friday, Nigel brought Daps and Pepper, two of the Wavehaven's four resident dogs, down to the beach. As soon as Nigel took off into the surf, they adopted me as their human and we had a grand time. 
 Meeting Matt as he comes out of the water. 

 Pepper being her sweet self. 

Yesterday, Matt brought the little camera out in the waterproof case for our short surf at Ahu Ahu. We weren't out long enough to get many shots, but he did get this one of me paddling about. Just look at that water!

And some images from the Paddock Party:

 Matt and Merv and Hay.

Michele got behind the mic for a few songs :)

 View up the coast of the northern bight.

 A typical New Zealand sight: the ever-present stile.
 Sunset and hydrangeas. 

 And in case there was any question as to whether or not we are enjoying ourselves over here: yes, we are. Most definitely. 

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