Cruisin without Bruisin in Lozzaland travel blog

Colours of the Coromandel

another weird moon pic!


full moon on the Coromandel

Beauty on the beach of Tairua

Sun, rain, rainbow

Paul's sis, Catherine, Brian and Zachary in Thames

huge kauri tree

Hard to believe that I have been in Auckland a week now. Have had a very relaxing yet busy time trippin around North Island. Managed to break my middle toe jumping down from an embarrassing short height at the wrong angle - so yoga has taken a back seat, but it's healed well so no drama there and no excuse tomorrow for getting back to the purple mat.

So what have I been up to...

Been to a Steiner School Xmas fair - I seem to be bumping into crusty Steiner folk wherever I go - is this a sign to throw away the strip wax? I don't think so honey! Purchased ridiculously flimsy garments not suitable for this climate at all, which incidentally is boiling hot, bright sun, due to no ozone, therefore getting a tan in about 10 seconds, followed by cold, windy showers of rain and if you're really lucky, hard hitting hail - basically all seasons in one hour every day - this girl just never knows what to wear!

Met the groovy Becky for lunch (Rob Lee's dare I say, favourite niece).

Been to the top of the Sky Tower - awesome views over Auckland and to the Contemporary Art Museum for some arty stuff that was way beyond my comprehension as well as some Maori art which was easier to decipher and appreciate.

Picked the brains of the locals for good places to visit and had a well deserved massage which was rather painful in a good way of course.

Went to Tairua in the Coromandel with Jo and Charlie to stay with Paul's lovely parents (formerly the Bishop of Auckland) - wicked big wave and surfy pics to follow! Then onto Whitianga on my own for a couple of days to explore the Coromandel further. In case you wanted to know, it's pronounced fitianga as wh=f, so there you go!

Anyway, back to scenery... beautiful green hills, rainbows galore, clean, deserted beaches....and then back to reality, pretty beachfront youth hostel, yet I get the 18 stone Swiss girl in a too tight track suit sleeping on the bunk bed above.

Picture this - she heaved up to the top bunk, everything seemed to shudder and strain, I lay down frightened below, trying to warm up under the marine character covered thin, summer duvet.

This is the land of the ladies 3 bed dorm and the other bed, a single was already taken.

My fears were confirmed, it wasn't gonna be a peaceful night listening to the waves lapping the shore. Instead, I listened to her moan in her sleep from 3am to 6am, in between scratching goodness knows where followed by her turning over continuously! So I turned up the Ipod and weathered the storm. I dreamt of dolphins and battleships. Make of that what you will. Alarm went off at 6.45 and I was ready to skidaddle! Still at £7 a night, it's worth a story I guess.

Had an interesting crystal reading by a 6 foot 3 Maori lady as the weather looked pretty pants in the morning as I was looking for something to do indoors. Then in the afternoon, after suffering from Jewish/Nigerian/Caribbean mean time or the Maori and I having way too much fun with her rocks, I was late for the ferry then for the arranged shuttle bus which then came back to collect me.

The nice and forgiving driver dropped me at the start of a 2 hour hike to Cathedral Cove ending at Hahei beach and then took me to Hot Water Beach. There you are supposed to dig a hole in the sand and enjoy the volcanically heated spring water from below.

Er, the brochure didn't mention shovelling sand in the torrential rain which then turned into the hard hitting hail!

So after hiking and putting on my rain mac, taking off, the rain mac, taking off the fleece, sun came out so nice and warm in a vest, sun in, on with the fleece, then on with the mac, then needing to take both of them off as the sun began to boil for about 60 seconds, then, wait for it - storms! I won't even mention the sunglasses. So after 2 hours of that, I was quite looking forward to relaxing in a hot spring in just a bikini to worry about!

But it was raining then hailing when I got there, I dug and dug until I could feel neither hands nor feet, it was bloody freezing, what on earth was I doing, there was no way my bikini was going to see the light of day today - the hail and hot water spring combo just was not workin for me.

Bit of a disappointment not to experience as it's sposed to be wicked and you can only do it when the tide is out, but as Luigi says hey ho!

Survived that and then warmed up with a hot shower and noodle soup, venturing out into 'town' in the evening to see Bridget Jones at the cinema, however, another hail storm hit me, soaked my jeans, filled my boots and by this time I was cursing and not a happy bunny! Sat cold and soaking wet throughout the whole film (enjoying the London & Thailand location spotting though and ate some odd native New Zealand slippery butter popcorn) praying that I wouldn't get soaked again during my 15 minute walk back. Fortunately it was ok and I walked back in the light of the beautiful full moon reflecting on the sea and took another mad full moon picture.

Then today I took a 2 hour bus to meet Paul's sister Catherine, husband Brian and baby Zachary who live in an area called Thames (fortunately pronounced in the familiar way, so no worries there). Drove along the Pohutukawa (yeah, ok I won't take you there!) coast to a see a kauri tree, native to only NZ, which is around 1200 years old, they can reach 50m in height and 20m in girth, dunno how this one fared but he was a big boy nonetheless. Went onto the Tapu Valley to a place called Rapaura, award winning water gardens, sculptures and an easy hike to a waterfall. Had sunglasses and umbrella at the ready and yup, I needed both! Lovely jubbly place though.

So I am now back at Paul and Jo's who are away until tomorrow with Charlie and planning my next moves and grooves. Very much enjoying being indoors, cooking, listening to music, in between hot bubble baths! Have spoken to Heather today and she plans to head up north next week as she is in Wellington and I plan to move southwards to meet her someplace. Haven't decided on the someplace or even the day yet but and as long as her $200 jalopy keeps on rolling, then we should hookup by the end of next week. No idea where we are spending Xmas and New Year- but it will no doubt be fun catching up with my homegirl!

Have taken great pics of Sydney and NZ but will upload once I get them on a CD so you will just have to be patient whilst my memory card fills up!

So seeing as I am missing all the Xmas and Channuka silly season nonsense, email me with what you are up to, where the fun is to be had this year and any dodgy pressies given or received.

Thanks to Zeddy for my first, second and third laugh of the day with this message which I thought I'd share with you (and for which I have written permission for reproduction):

> Left the comforts of the bedroom this morning and ventured into the

unknown wilds of the kitchen where I gazed upon the great Mountain

Ofwashingup. Soaked in the geyser of sink for 10 minutes before heading

into Lounge (pronounced Lounge). Did battle with an Amazonian parrot, then

watched the sights of Tel-Avision (A bit like Tel Aviv but with more

canned laughter)

Luv ya,

> Z

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