December 9-14: Goodbye Sydney, Hello NZ!

Author: Mr A

Location: Sydney, Australia, Auckland & Omokoroa, New Zealand

We said goodbye to Sydney in traditional fashion with lots of lovely catch ups with friends who we won’t see for a while. Breakfast at The Boathouse in La Peruse reminded us of how little of Sydney we really know. What an awesome spot, and a very lardy breakfast helped blow away the cobwebs from the night before.

Then in the evening it was a home cooked curry from friends Aisha and Clive. I won’t attempt to describe how Pakistani food is different to Indian, all I know is the former has now found an equally tasty place in our culinary heart as the latter! Yummy..who knew something called ‘balls of happiness’ would be so tasty…?

Aisha and Clive’s fabulous view from their balcony
The sparkling city views at night

Then it was time to say goodbye to Miss Tasmania and drop her off with her Christmas hosts, Rosemary and Richard. Another fab meal appeared and was tackled with gusto. We are so lucky to have friends who we know will love her staying and exploiting their warm laps during the festive season.

Princess Tasmania enjoying the sunshine before we whisked her off to Hornsby

Finally the day we had long prepared for arrived, and we were off to the airport. We wanted to do a long trip to New Zealand, managing three weeks on a couple of occasions just left us hungry for more. So this will be a six week extravaganza, thanks to the generous hosting from Catherine’s dad Richard and his wife Sue.

After a laborious check in and truly awful food on the plane, a decision was made that LATAM airlines wont be on our Christmas list! Very ordinary…but we arrived in one piece and our 60kg of checked luggage (containing inflatable packrafts, camping gear and the many types of clothes suitable for the land of the long white cloud) didn’t carry on to Santiago, so that was a bonus.

We arrived at Sue and Richard’s house full of curiosity to see how it looked, since the last time we saw it was in the construction phase. Wow….what a home. Just check out the location, the views, the garden. I think we will manage here!

Looking up at their house from the reserve
Richard and Sue enjoying their view
Customary cheese and wine nibbles before dinner
Dusk falls across the reserve and neighbouring golf course with magnificent skies

It was up bright and early to try out our new packrafts. A short stroll across the reserve at the end of the garden and then across the tidal flats and we were on our way. This was their first time in the water, but all went well and we think we will get a lot of good use from these lightweight (less than 2kg each) that pack up into a day pack.

Looking back towards the reserve and where Richard and Sue live (and our new boats!)
Pulling away from the Omokoroa headland, the island behind Catherine
King tides have sculpted a new coastline here (including dismantling some cliff edge properties)
Pied Cormorants taking off at the sight of us

We headed out hugging the shore and immediately fell back in love with the Bay of Plenty. The scenery is just so magnificent, with all the winding waterways framed by the Kinea Mountains. The vegetation is so lush, the air so fresh…and no flies! The bird life was prolific, and we just pootled along, as you do in a packraft on flat water (they are not a fast boat in these conditions). But we weren’t in a rush and just loved drinking in the beauty of this place. We consider making a dash across the open water to Matacama Island, but with no life jackets and little idea of the current played it safe and headed back to our launch point.

We were invited over to a Christmas party at the neighbours’ house and watched a massive electrical storm play out over the bay. Just as we headed back to Richard and Sue’s house, the heavens opened, and I mean opened! This was an incredible downpour, locals saying they had never seen anything like it in their lifetime. I think that phrase is going to be used a lot as our weather patterns continue to change. We have seen our fair share of rain on our trips here, but this was extreme.

Anyway, we are prepared with all the gear and (in my case a least)…no idea :).

Onwards to our next phase of adventures down under!

2 Replies to “December 9-14: Goodbye Sydney, Hello NZ!”

    1. It is lovely! We will have to share some more photos too to try and capture it all – their garden is truly amazing, considering the time they’ve had to get it settled…we’re eating produce freshly picked every evening 🙂 Missing you though! Xx

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