December 24-27th 2016
We began the Christmas break clean and dressed in our Christmas outfits. We had a delicious breakfast in Newmarket, before going to the supermarket to stock up on supplies for the next couple of days.
Julia’s mum (Mary-Ann) had hired a car, but having spent 43 years (I think that’s what she said!) driving on the right side of the road she was unaccustomed to driving on the correct side of the road. They seemed to have a confidence in me that I didn’t have in that I would be the best option for a driver. I haven’t driven for the last 20 months so I was a bit nervous. After a bit of a shaky start – I am used to driving a manual car and this was an automatic, so my left leg was flapping about all over the place and I constantly thought I was going to stall – I quickly got used to it and managed to successfully drive onto the ferry which was taking us to Waiheke island.
After a successful drive off the ferry we found our way to the place we were staying, a very nice placed owned by a very nice man named Bruce. We had an incredible view over the bay and a great outside seating area. After a quick visit to town and an ice cream we got changed into our robes (I love a place that has robes) and settled in to a YouTube spiral
Christmas Day began with opening the stockings Mary-Ann had very kindly prepared for us, filled with things I could eat it was perfect, even some things from the British section of their supermarket! Really thoughtful and unexpected!
We reluctantly got out of our robes and went down to the beach to see what was going on. We came across some Brits playing cricket on the beach with some plastic equipment. They invited us to join in so we did. 5 brits, 2 Canadians, a French man and an Italian man. Cricket turned into rounders and I had to lose the Hilary Clinton blazer because it was too hot. It’s safe to say I was part of the winning cricket pair and on the winning rounders team.
They shared their beers with us (yes, I had a beer!) and we went into the sea to drink them. They were a great bunch, we weren’t far from ‘home’ so we went back to get some beers to replace the ones they gave us. They had come from Auckland for just the day so we didn’t want them to be short! We carried on exploring the island, visiting a couple of vineyards.
On Boxing Day we packed up our stuff, but Bruce didn’t have anyone coming until the following day so he let us use it as a base for the day as our ferry back to Auckland wasn’t until 4pm. He gave us beach towels and we went down to the beach. We were just going to take a dip in the sea but we saw some paddle boards for hire and decided to give that a go. It’s difficult to start with, especially if you haven’t used any of those muscles for so long, but it’s easy to pick up. We of course tried to push each other off a lot and I probably spent more time in the water than on the board, but it was really fun.
When it came to getting the ferry I had to reverse onto the boat!!! I hate reversing! I managed it just about, and at least I could just drive straight off! But it was something I would rather not have to do again!
Next was a drive over to the west coast to our next destination. The cabin we had was perched on the cliff with 180° views of the ocean. It was spectacular. We stopped in town for a delicious Thai meal first.
The next day was pure relaxation. A lazy morning followed by a stroll along the beach, which was black sand. Lots of activity on the beach, hang gliders, paragliders, people fishing, horse riding, fishing, playing, surfing, swimming. It was overcast but warm enough. After a trip to town to get supplies Kristen and I watched Julia and her mum get into the ocean. We stayed in the car because it was raining!
We got an unexpected treat that night when we watched the international space station fly over New Zealand. It only took about 30 seconds to fly over so we were lucky to see it!
It was a very different Christmas, but I saw some beautiful parts of New Zealand, I had lovely food and great company and a much needed rest and relaxation. Thank you so much to Julia’s mum for organising it all!