Another day another day trip. This time to the beach. Quite different to our Australian beaches, smaller and sort of intimate lined with the iconic Pohutukawa trees that stretch right along the east coast.
The glorious Pohutukawa trees line the cliffs. In another month they will be flaming red and they are known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree.
Now they defy gravity. Over the years the tides have swirled around their roots gradually eroding the rocks and dirt.
I meet a local walking her dog and ask her if she can recommend a lunch place.
Little Oscar waits patiently while we chat.
But before lunch there is the other end of the beach to explore.
Going round the corner the scenery changes and large interesting looking boulders are piled high. I need Meg with me to help identify them.
This rock with character just asks to be photographed.
Midday and time to search for the “Vintage Café” we had been told about. It was not easy to find, in fact we drove right by. But looking for the Shell Service Station (Why do they still call them service station?) we spotted it. A small lean-to on the end of the garage.
It was every bit as delicious as we had been told with a charming old world décor, home-made food, friendly service and delicious coffee. We sketched while we waited for the food to be cooked (I ordered an omelette, Jack had a meat pie) In no time our lunch arrived and I only got the drawing half-finished.
Time to slowly drive home.
I had to stop and photograph this dedication a local farmer had erected to the National All Black heroes.
Rugby football fever had taken hold of New Zealand, every where the black flag with silver fern fluttered on houses, next to fences, on cars, on hats. The country was swathed in black, even the milk came in black bottles and the Weetbix breakfast cereal box was black with a fearsome image of the All Black team doing the Maori Haka. The All Blacks had reached the finals for the unprecedented second time in a row and they faced Australia for the show down.
The game was broadcast live at 5am Sunday morning New Zealand time and I sat in bed watching the drama unfold. What a game, I was torn between my 2 favourite countries. Who would I cheer for?
I think most of New Zealand watched the match and next day, in fact the next week, jubilation and pride of their team was palpable. No wonder they won with just about the whole country on the team…
We carried on home. The scenery in this area is pastoral, almost English, with its neat hedges and rolling grass-covered hills.
A field of rape glows in the sun.
The hedgerows are clustered with wild flowers, again reminiscent of the English countryside of my youth.
The New Zealand cabbage trees are flowering very well this year and I’ve been told this is a sign of a dry summer to come.
As we arrive home the donkey from the next door neighbours farm comes over to say “hello”