Christmas Eve at St. Helier's Beach
Trip Start Dec 16, 2009
23Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Paku Vista B&B
Fortunately, I got the last rental car from Go Rentals, and only because someone cancelled. *Whew!* I thought we'd have to hitch.
We loaded up our little green 1.2 litre hatchback and headed to the Coromandel Peninsula. I booked a little B&B for a couple of nights in Tairua on the East coast of the Peninsula. It was dark when we arrived, and we were hungry, so we grabbed an excellent meal just across the road at a place called The Cow Shed, where the owner seemed to know everyone
Today, Dec. 24, we had a leisurely breakfast, prepared by Jan, the hostess of Paku Vista, who spared no attention to detail. There was a little spoon or knife for each sauce or spread, and each fine crystal pitcher of milk or juice was covered with a hand-crocheted doily, most likely made by Jan.
Afterward, we drove all the way back to Auckland to St. Heliers, an upscale suburb which hugs the beach. There, we joined Brianna's old family friend, Dudley, and his family for a Christmas Eve picnic in the park.
Christmas is very different in New Zealand. It's not quite as commercial as it is in the states. Sure, there are Santa-adorned windows, but it's more subdued.
At about 4pm, we loaded up our little green love-machine and took a meandering coastal route back to Tairua. We hugged the beaches the whole time, and what normally should be a 1.5 hour trip took seven hours. And we did it GLADLY!! It was pretty spectacular
At about 8pm, we realized that we hadn't eaten dinner, and that, being Christmas Eve, no restaurants or markets were open. We lost track of time, plus since the sun doesn't set until 9:30pm, it felt deceptively early.
We worked our way to a town called Thames, where the only places open were liquor stores and a Star Mart convenience store at a gas station, nee, service or petrol station.
At the Star Mart, we found TWO PERFECT CHRISTMAS DINNERS. . . In a box. So we bought them along with some fine deserts (Tim Tam cookies) and stopped at a liquor store for a nice bottle of wine.
Back at Paku Vista, we found Jan in the living room watching Bridgette Jones' Diary. Brianna and I "cooked" our dinners (about ten minutes on high— and don't forget to poke holes in the plastic film!!), and had an amazing Christmas Eve Dinner.