Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Camping in Raglan

Last Sunday I met up with a friend from work and we went on a little explore of East coast north of Auckland.  He knows the area well so was happy to show me some spots I've not been to before.

We began with brunch at a gorgeous little cafe in Matakana called Morris & James Pottery - it's a pottery (in case you hadn't guessed from the title) set inside a little brick courtyard with vines draping round everywhere - it was really cute, even with the rain pouring down.  I had a lush french toast with bacon and caramalised banana and Morry had eggs benedict (eggs benny if you're posh) and a million coffees.

We jumped back in the car and began our journey north to Te Arai Point, where Morry had decided on the activity of cliff jumping (!!).  However, first there were a few pitstops to be made!  We drove past a random animal cafe/art gallery and my request to stop and look round was granted with glee.  Sadly the animals weren't too interested in us but we had a wander around anyway.

Next we stopped off at Ti Point Reptile park, a vaguely indoor activity as it had started to bucket it down again.  There was an online voucher for half price entry but I didn't have any phone signal to buy it, but because it was raining and miserable and we were the only guests the owner let us in for half price anyway which was nice of him. We spent a good hour trying to spot all the camouflaged lizards and working out ways to steal the baby tortoises who were too cute. 

We then stopped off at Goat Island, a marine reserve which is really good for snorkelling.  The sea was too rough for that but we had a nice wee stroll along the beach anyways, and found a lost and confused sheep and lots of washed up pink and blue jellyfish.  

It was at this point that unfortunately the tide was too far out for cliff jumping to take place, something I was so incredibly gutted by (that's dripping with sarcasm by the way) therefore instead we jumped back into the car and headed off to Tawharanui Regional Park.  This is a really nice coastline which has a large fence going round it to protect it from pests.  We spent our time clambering round on the cliffs and going as close to the sea as we dared without getting splashed by the waves that were crashing into the shore.  We may have failed more than once.

Anyway - you know how last week I was saying I couldn't convince anyone to come to Raglan with me? Well Morry said he'd come, woo! (he is a surfer dude).  

So this Friday just gone we packed a bunch of camping stuff into the car and headed down south to Raglan.  We arrived at 10pm and set up the tent in the dark, went for a stroll along the beach which was cut short as the tide seemed to be coming in quite quick, warmed up with some fireball whiskey and headed off to bed.  

The following morning we went to make breakfast, except that stupid me had decided not to bring any cooking utensils with us because I was convinced the campsite would have stuff...they didn't....so we instead treated ourselves to breakfast at a local cafe before heading off to hike up Mt Karioi.

This hike was SO MUCH FUN.  The views weren't anything amazing but more due to being overcast than anything - but the hike itself was quite technical and involved scrambling up tree roots and rocks and using climbing holds and chains - quite the adventure.  

Te Toto Gorge, Raglan

Te Toto Gorge

Morry in traditional kiwi tramping camo...hahah

Mt Karioi, our destination is up there somewhere

Pretty amazing how the prevailing wind has made all the trees grow in one direction

Indiana Jones

Lara Croft?

I don't think I am very good at avoiding mud....

the viewpoint

That's some serious Tomb Raider shit right there

But also quite tiring - we had set aside the afternoon for surfing but the waves weren't very good and we were tired so instead we had a quick dip in the estuary because I really wanted to try my $10 wetsuit, then chilled out with more whiskey for the rest of the afternoon.  This makes me sound like an alcoholic but I promise I'm not...we mixed it with apple juice this time.  

On Sunday the weather was pretty terrible so we packed down the tent (right before the campsite flooded, good timing!) then had a leisurely breakfast and coffee in Raglan and catching the Sunday market where I made friends with a child and a dog.  I am so friendly these days. 

We made a pit stop at Bridal Veil Falls, which is really pretty awesome - looks like someone left the tap on.  

showing Morry the side seagull pose

It's a really cool waterfall!

such tourists

Awkward couple who aren't a couple photo

We drove back to Auckland, had lunch/drunch/linner at the belgian cafe in Mission Bay, then headed home.  It was such an awesome weekend - so nice to be camping again and waking up in the fresh air :) 

Back home I joined Amy and Colin at Steph and Simon's house to watch the Louis Theroux doco on Scientology - jeez those people are weird.  Then it was bed time and back to work for the 9-5...I only have 2 weeks left and I am feeling kind of sad.  It's nice I have started to make friends at work that I can hang out with outside of work, and my team are really nice and I am feeling like I know what I am doing, so I will miss it!  But I am also looking forward to something new (who knows what that'll be).

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Exploring the areas just outside of Auckland

It's been hard getting people to commit to weekend breaks away, so I have had to settle for convincing people to spend the day with me instead.

Last weekend a bunch of us drove out to the Hunua Ranges, an hours drive south east of Auckland, and tackled a 3 hour hike starting from the Hunua Falls.  As it's been raining lots recently they were pretty torrential and muddy, but they look like they'd be fun to swim in when summer comes by (though apparently lots of people die there, so maybe not actually).

Amy showcased her wonderful sense of direction by trying to lead us round in a circle but luckily there were other people in the team who did have navigational skills :-P.  We stopped to have lunch at a picnic bench overlooking a reservoir - me and Amin had clingwrapped bakery sandwiches, and Amy and Colin pull out delicacies such as pumpkin and feta quiche and salted caramel doughnuts and fudge!  They sure know how to picnic.

It was a pretty walk and finished following a little stream which we had to rock hop over at the end.

On the Sunday it was pissing it down all day, so I read the last of the Harry Potter books in my pyjamas all day!  Oh my gosh - HARRY POTTER.  What an amazing series.  It was funny! I didn't expect it to be funny.  And it made me cry.  What a silly billy I was for not reading it when I was a kid.  My only complaint was JK Rowling didn't put enough emphasis on PE in the Hogwarts curriculum.  I dunno, maybe wizards and witches don't get fat.

We've moved to a different floor at work so the last week has been troubleshooting people's stupid questions and trying to remain calm because they didn't read instructions properly, and shifting things about on trolleys.  I managed to smash an entire bottle of wine in the lift, then the lift broke because some of the glass made the doors stuck.  Whoops.

On Friday we had an impromptu games night which was so much fun.  Adam's friend Darcy brought along a game called Resistance, which is really similar to Werewolf/Mafia if you know it.  You get given a card that tells you if you're a spy or a rebel.  The spies get to know who eachother are, but no one else knows who they are. Then basically everyone has to work out who the spies are and it's really good - it causes a bit of friction and doubt amongst you, it's great fun.  Then we played the most amazing game ever.  I am already a huge fan of Cards Against Humanity, and didn't think it could get better....but - we pimped our game to make it the most fun game ever.  We chose a bunch of the more normal white cards, then split into 2 teams.  We then had 4 rounds where each team had to guess the word on the card in 1 minute, by the other person describing the word on the card, using just one word to describe the word, acting out the word, and then using noises to describe the word.  I highly recommend this at your next games night - having to come up with a noise to get people to guess 'stray pube' is amusing!  We played till 1am it was that fun.

This weekend I wanted to go to Raglan, but the weather is pretty poop (we're getting the rest of the storm that knocked out all the power in Oz this week) so today I rounded up a bunch of people and we headed to the Waitakeres again.  It's such a pretty area - heaps of nice bush and coastal walks.  We did a nice quick 1.5 hour walk to Fairy Falls - it's a gorgeous little bush walk then you end up following a gorgeous waterfall down to its base.

We then headed to Piha and climbed Lion Rock, then walked down the beach for a bit, discovering caves and starfish along the way.  I LOVE having all this to explore only an hour away, it makes not being able to get away for an entire weekend that much sweeter :)