I hadn't set foot back in New Zealand since I moved to Western Australia - just a few months shy of two years! - so to say I was a little excited to be heading home was more than a bit of an exaggeration.
We spent two weeks in the Motherland, not nearly long enough to fit in the things I wanted to do and the people I wanted to see, but we sure gave it a stab. I covered quite a bit of ground, heading to Waihi Beach one day, Lake Tarawera the next, and then on to the Coromandel the following. An hour or two in a different direction and you find yourself in a completely different scenery, from beach to lake to waterfall. I think I forgot how amazingly beautiful home is during my time away.
I got to spend Christmas with the family - the first time in five years that the whole family was together at home. I can't say that I made the most of it though, as all my jet lag hit that day, and after the 7am wake up call for present opening from my over excited mother, I slunk back to bed, where I stayed fast asleep until the boy woke me at 2.30pm. He had been playing Rummy-O with my mother and sister the whole time, determined to play until he won.
The weather wasn't really on my side while we were home, raining all except maybe three of the days I was home. I was quite surprised at how warm it was though. Before we left we were looking at temperatures that were nearly 20 degrees cooler than Perth, but I was still in a tee and shorts the whole time - Humidity definitely plays a part in making you warm!
I was pretty slack with the camera while we were away, only catching a few snaps in the Mount, and then a heap more during our New Year trip up to Coromandel.
Dinner at Pilot Bay - We actually tried to go to Taste of Asia, but I kooked it and didn't make a booking. Completely forgot how popular that place is! Instead we went to Mount Pizza (Formerly known as Summit Fresh) and got my favourite pizza ever - The Cranberry Chicken - and sat and watched the sun set. Topped off with a Copenhagen Cone and I was pretty damn happy.
We stayed in a cute little house in Coromandel, that we rented through the Coromandel Top Ten Holiday Park. I think we all drove up expecting the six of us to be stuffed in a one room cabin with bunk beds, so we were quite shocked when we arrived to this three bedroom cottage. The house is one of the last remaining miners cottages in the coromandel.
Hydrangeas were EVERY WHERE!
Snugged up in front of the fireplace
The campground's Jumping Pillow
My lady loves
We had to drive to get to any beaches, and on New Year's Eve everything on our side of the coast was a bit too windy, so we headed over Whitianga way and found this sweet spot.
Sticky Tar from the road.
Gigantic Ice Creams from Kuaotunu Store
Our actual New Year's Eve celebrations took place on the front lawn of our bach, with a round of four kings, dancing and singing and lots of laughs. At about 11.30pm we walked into Coromandel Town, with the house clock as our official countdown clock. We got to a pub, and actually ended up passing the clock up to the band who used it for the Midnight count down.
Erin losing (or winning however you may look at it) four kings
While the boys went out fishing on New Year's Day, the ladies took a drive down the 309 Road between Coromandel and Whitianga. The 309 is a 20km long road, that is mostly gravel, which was fine on the way there, but provided a few sketchy skiddy moments on the way back in our trusty little Juicy Swift. We had found a brochure from the Waterworks that had a few spots along the road marked out on it, and unknowingly we hit most of them.
As we were driving along we saw a few cars pulled over and a bunch of people gathered around a heap of pigs, so curiosity got the better of us and we stopped. I didn’t realise until later, but the Pig Farm and Stuart, the friendly guy rounded up piglets for us to hold, were actually marked on the map we had been looking at.
Let's pretend that's mud on Erin's arm!
We made our way to Waiau Falls, which were pretty much roadside, and the easiest two minute walk I’ve ever done to get to a Waterfall. Erin, being the brave soul she is, ended up jumping from the top of the falls as soon as we got there, while I was more of a wuss, walking in. The water was absolutely freezing and my neck did start to go numb, but it was so refreshing! We sat around and warmed up on rocks for a while before heading back.
I didn’t have nearly enough time at home, and missed out on doing a whole bunch of other things I really wanted to… Oh well. I will hopefully be back there sooner rather than later!
Now to start looking forward, and planning the next trip – I was lucky enough to get a ticket to Bali for Easter from the Boy for Christmas, so Charlotte and I will be reunited in about eleven weeks, and I cannot wait!!! Jealous Zen?
Big love to you both and hoping the 2013 is bring lots of good things your way