A whole lot to tell about this trip so I’ll try and keep it short with a lot of pictures. Arriving the night before my birthday, I rode to the airport to meet Maesyn as she arrived. It was amazing to say the least and I was so happy to see her after such a long time apart.
The next day we picked up the campervan and off we headed towards the Coromandel Peninsula. With it being my birthday, we found a great spot to park and sat down to enjoy an evening bottle of wine. Just after pouring our first glass, a local couple walked by with their dogs and we couldn’t help ourselves and started to pet and play with them. Next thing we know, we’re invited into their house for some genuinely amazing kiwi hospitality! Several drinks later, a delicious home cooked dinner, and some great conversation brought us into the wee hours of the night. Needless to say it was a fantastic birthday, really laid back and totally out of the blue! Such generosity from people we didn’t know and had just met.
The following day, the journey continued around the Coromandel Peninsula. Only have a vague plan, both Maesyn and I enjoyed cruising along and stopping to see whatever sights we wanted to. This was peaceful and very relaxing giving us the flexibility to stop at any given point.
We eventually made it to Cathedral Cove and enjoyed the short 20 minute walk down to the beach and a lovely sunset.
Camping right in the parking lot, a delicious spaghetti bolognese was in order as we settled down to enjoy a movie. Early next morning, it was time to get up at the crack of dawn and catch the sunrise coming out of the water!
It was beautiful following the coastline and stopping along the way. Eventually, we needed to head more inland and enjoyed a lovely morning hike down to Kaiate Falls.
The water was super inviting but some how we resisted until reaching Okere Falls in the afternoon. By this time, a refreshing rope swing and some cliff jumping was in place!! Oh all the fun we came across because we didn’t have a plan or agenda!
The following day, we headed to Wai-O-Tapu to watch the Lady Knox Geyser and enjoy a super interesting walk around the geothermal park.
Seeing the variety of colors in the water due to the many different minerals present was mind-blowing and not to mention smelly.
Heading south some more, it wasn’t long until our luck ran out with nice sunny weather. A rainy day had come upon us while we were in Taupo. Better to embrace it than hate it! So we welcomed this lazy and relaxed day which provided some time to catch up on some emails and work before making a late afternoon drive to Napier on the east coast.
Welcome to wine country! Maesyn had never been to a winery before so this was going to be a brand new experience! Driving to two different wineries in the afternoon, we enjoyed a lovely tasting. The next day however was something that we had really wanted to do on this trip and that was a cycling wine tour! Beginning around 11, Maesyn rented a bike and we were on our way to a great day of tasting!
Just like every road trip, many times it is inevitable to avoid a long day of travel. This happened to us as we needed to make our way from Napier, on the east coast all the way to Whanganui in the Northland. Roughly a 7 1/2 hour drive. This was okay as we still enjoyed many stops along the way to admire the wonderful views.
Time for a real birthday celebration day!! It started with a day cruise out to the Poor Knights Islands where we enjoyed snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, and kayaking. Food was provided as well, so of coarse I had to eat about 5 sandwiches and all the fruit I could get my hands onto. It was such an amazing and fun day out on the water with an uncrowded boat.
That night we enjoyed a delicious dinner, eating out for the first time the whole trip. This was also our first date night in over a year. Food was yummy, the atmosphere was amazing, and the view right on the harbor as the sun set, couldn’t be beat.
On the way back to Auckland, a stop to hike into the Waipu Caves and see the glow worms was in store. This was fascinating seeing all of the green lights/dots on the ceiling and walls. It felt like looking at stars on a clear summer night.
The almost two weeks Maesyn was in town just flew by. I had such and amazing and fun time while she was here and it will definitely be a trip I don’t forget. Not really having many plans or a schedule to keep, helped leave the door open for so many amazing opportunities. Being able to cook dinner each night near the water was just so peaceful as well. What a fun and unique trip with memories that will last a lifetime!