Wednesday 1 August 2012

On the open road

I have been meaning every day to write and tell you what we're up to on Down Under, but I never seem to have the time! We're either getting the children ready to go out, out visiting wonderful lakes or hurtling down mountains on go karts (more of that in a day or two!), or getting food ready or children's bathtime done or chatting in the evenings with Hellie and Jamie, the friends we're staying with. And, if you're me, knitting while you're chatting. So, instead of trying to catch you up on everything that we've done so far I thought I'd leave that to come back to later and concentrate instead on what we're doing this week - because we're now out on the open road in our motor home!

This is our new home for the week. It's not exactly top of the range. In fact it's the hire company's cheaper range of motor homes that have already seen three seasons or so, but that means that I don't have to be so precious about the children dropping crumbs etc, and we can spend the money we've saved on the more important things like trips out. It's Wednesday evening as I write this, and we picked up and packed up the motor home in Auckland on Tuesday. We drove down to the Coromandel Peninsula, about 2 1/2 hours from Auckland, arriving for a late tea. This post probably won't be published on Wednesday evening though! You'll have to bear with me as I'll only have internet connection at a few campsites. I'm writing these posts as notes and I'll upload them and move pictures about whenever my iPad gets a connection, so my posts may be like buses - wait long enough and three will come along at once!

A long drive yesterday and a bad night with a teething Jamie last night meant that we didn't get going until nearly lunchtime today, and we headed down to the beach - yes, it may be winter here in NZ, but the sky was brilliant blue today, and it was definitely shorts and tshirts weather! Although to be honest we still would have gone to this particular beach in the pouring rain....hopefully this sign will explain why!

One of the reasons that NZ has always been on my dream list of places to visit is because it has everything - volcanoes, glaciers, beaches, amazing rolling landscapes, thermal areas, lakes, forests - I could go on, but you get the idea! I may spend my working days (and working evenings, weekends etc etc) making jewellery, but I still love geography. I love exploring how the world around us works and how we affect it and how it affects us - but I never in my wildest dreams thought that I'd spend an afternoon sitting in a spa pool that I had helped dig on the beach. On the beach!! It still seems crazy, even though I understand all the geothermal activity that creates this phenomenon! We were there about an hour and a half after low tide, and the hot water was right at the surface. Digging a shallow pool meant that we could mix this water with the water coming back up the beach from the sea to create our very own spa! And in such amazingly beautiful scenery too, and with hardly anyone else in sight. I could, children willing, have stayed there for much longer - but a larger than expected wave suddenly broken through our defensive wall of sand, turned our lovely spa into a swirl of sea water and sent us and the family next to us running up the beach!

Having satisfied my need for a spot of relaxation and my ex-geography teacher's curiosity, Hot Water Beach then satisfied my crafty side after we washed out the sand and cleaned up. T took the boys up to the fantastic cafe for some cake while I wandered round Gallery, only a few yards up the road from the beach car park. So much handcrafted beauty to go with the amazing natural beauty outside! And every craft that you could imagine too - sculptures, ceramics, metalwork largescale such as the rushes outside the main entrance and small dishes, ornaments and pieces of jewellery, woodwork, glass, paintings, photographs. The woman looking after the gallery was lovely enough to spend time telling me about the different pieces and about craft shows and the like over here. It's probably a good job that we've got to think about weight limits on our luggage going home, otherwise my bank balance would have taken a big hit. I still managed to get a few small presents though, and this amazing ceramic carving for me - it took me ages to choose the one I wanted the most, but this one is so beautifully tactile and I love the swirls. I'm justifying buying myself a present by planning to use it as a prop in jewellery photos for the website!

So, all in all, a fantastic day! And there's more tomorrow!



  1. Hello Jo! Great to hear your news. Looks like a most beautiful and awesome setting for you. Because I went to a specialist music school, I never took geography - it was a choice between that and history - so I have no knowledge of such things (shamed face!) other than through my own travel. Which is limited and certainly doesn't include NZ! Yet....I would love to go as I know it is renowned for being so beautiful. Have a wonderful time in your motorhome! Will look forward to further updates. (and ps I'm missing daisychainextra!)

  2. Thank you for sharing your lovely vacation. I went to nursery school in New Zealand and have fond memories of living there as a child.Can't wait for more of your posts!


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