Muriwai is for the birds...
Trip Start Dec 01, 2009
23Trip End Jan 23, 2010
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Where I stayed
Alice & Richard's home
The sun was shining and birds were singing when we opened our eyes the next morning, promising a delightful day. Can't recall when we've been so spoiled by hosts, but we've had wonderful meals, comfortable beds, and fantastic company in this lovely pair! Today, we began our search for a vehicle by visiting a couple of car lots. No choice made yet, but hopefully soon
The highlight of the day had to be our visit to Muriwai, a beautiful spot on the west coast of the north island, not far from Auckland. We came specifically to visit a gannet colony, but as you'll see from the images, there's plenty to enjoy for more than just folks who enjoy observing bird-life.
For those reading this from the northern hemisphere, you'll need to recall that it's late spring here. This puts a different flavor on the holiday season. Christmas at the beach anyone? You'll notice Mark standing in front of New Zealand's own Christmas tree, the Pohutukawa, with it's red "bottle brush" like flowers.
The gannets (or takapu) themselves are fantastic to watch, and seem not too bothered by humans at the viewpoints along the tops of the cliffs
But instead, we had a nice walk down to the beach where we were treated to a delightful picnic lunch complete with salad from the Mandenos' garden, Alice's home made chocolate-covered kiwis and tasty mugs of coffee, then a short walk into the bush to listen to Tui birds singing. We recorded it for all to hear, but for some reason the audio file was lost. We'll try again for the magical sounds when we get another opportunity.
On our return we stopped at a New Zealand-made crafts shop, a store-front space filled with hundreds of stalls where local artists and artisans sold their wares. It was somewhat like an open-air craft fair, but kept permanently indoors instead. A great idea.
Even closer back to Orewa, we visited Kumeu River winery for a taste. White wines were the highlight here, particularly chardonnays that have received 90+ ratings from Wine Spectator. This winery has been in business for more than 60 years, and the matriarch told us stories of its beginning, while we sipped a few of their top wines. If you can find a bottle, their Hunting Hill and Mate's Vineyard Chardonnays were our favorites.
Loving it here already!!!
P.S. For those new to blogging, you can click on the photos at the bottom to enlarge them and scroll through them. Be sure to go to the last uploaded image to see some video!