new year in june – catch up

It’s nearly the middle of winter here. What to do with those summer photos that are hibernating on my desktop? Post them!

Early January – trip to Matiu/Somes Island, out in the middle of Wellington Harbor.

My mother and Sonia.

Then…Wellington was behind us…for a while.

Eilidh, me, mom, and dad took a road trip north.

Stonehenge Aotearoa – near Carterton. We visited this modern-day stonehenge (not a replica of the famous one in England). It’s been built specifically for its location in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Like the original one, it’s an astronomical observatory (to use modern big words). The alignment of the stones indicates certain important times and seasons. I was quite impressed.

(photo borrowed from Stonehenge Aotearoa website)

Stood in heavy surf at the beach in Napier, felt the weight of the water pulling and pushing on the pebbly beach, resisted its greedy grasp. Sorted through some tangled feelings and pushed away the night’s chill with a warming walk with Eilidh up Bluff Hill.

Stayed at Wally’s Backpackers which had the novel “petri-dish” style of decor in the shared kitchen. I had nearly succumbed to the fearsome ranks of sluggish well-fed houseflies when the site manager boldly entered the scene of battle and fearlessly dispensed his can of bug killer…directly above my meal preparations. Not sure if he killed any flies, but he certainly killed the possibility of any future visits from me!

Big push the next day, driving all the way to Auckland. Broken by a pleasant afternoon tea at Zealong near Hamilton. A tea plantation – in New Zealand? Yes.

Sat outdoors overlooking the fields, resting our car-weary backsides, and chatting. I believe all four would agree – the experience was worth the bill of $8 per cup of oolong tea.

For successful green or oolong tea, brew for 1 minute max. Use whole leaves (not tea bags). It makes a huge difference. And the tea leaves can be re-used many times.

Overnight with our Aucklandish friends, then an emotional farewell from my parents (as such things do tend to be). A parting of says – them squeezing into a metal tube and catapulting over the Pacific to home, us skimming over the water to an exotic location.

Great Barrier Island.

One week on a rugged island with uncrowded beaches (but then again, are NZ beaches ever crowded?), stunning clear water, racous kakas, a waterfront tent site, long hours of rest, and time with friends. A place of restoration – in more than one way. 

The cafe in Okiwi (I forget the name, but hey, it’s not like you could miss it) earns a high recommendation.



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