Originally we planned to drive north to the tip of the northern cape on a tour bus that would drive on the beaches and make stops at some of the most beautiful points. This north area is known for it’s gorgeous beaches and we thought it’d be a lot of fun to ride on a bus that could actually drive through the best of the beaches and even go in the waves.
We didn’t do it though. We didn’t make the arrangements the day before, as we should have. We also didn’t want to have to check out of our room at 7am to rush over and be at the bus in time. So instead we checked out at 10am when we were required to and then wandered back down to Paihia’s stunning beach and went into the little town…..aaaaaaand….. played Carcasonne at a café…. where JP enjoyed the best muffin he’s ever had in his life. :)
We’ve had to learn a couple new terms for ordering coffee. A “long black” is pretty much an Americano. A “short black” means you’ll get just two shots. And a “flat white” is 2 shots with a bit of foamy cream. I love it. They have “tea” here all the time…. but coffee is always one of the options…. And in the evening, “tea” means dinner? – I believe.
After JP beat me at Carcassonne by viciously stealing my land, castles, and roads (he never gives me a break!), we went on our way for PLAN B for the day.
JP had stopped in earlier at an info center and discovered that Paihia is a prime spot for wine tasting. We were given a map of the 4 best places to stop, all conveniently located within close range of one another.
Here are a few shots from our drive:
The first winery we went to, “Aki Aki” felt rather awkward - we tasted a few different kinds, and bought a tasty port.
The next spot we went to was awesome though. It was called “The Fat Pig Winery.” The man running it was super friendly and funny. He reminded me a lot of JP’s boss, Brian. The winery was at his house, surrounded by a gorgeous vineyard. He was familiar with both of our hometowns from travelling as a professional golfer, which he claimed isn’t as fun as one would expect. As we talked with him, we played with his new brown lab puppy, “Mollie,” who was given as a birthday gift to his wife by the new “gay boys” down the road. He said they’d given it to them as a sort of “thank you” because he’d been helping to build their vineyard. He tried to give us the puppy. J He had no desire for another dog. But as cute as she was, we had to leave her behind…. She was a bit nippy – aaaaaand I’m not about to start our new married life with a travelling dog.
Lastly we went to Marsdon, where there was a beautiful outdoor patio in the vineyard, and we stayed for an A-mazing meal. We started out with a cheese platter, and then JP ordered a leg of lamb and I ordered a cheese and spinach soufflé. YUM.
Afterwards we spent some time at a beach – exploring caves and such… and then headed back towards Whangarei to stay with the Jellicks, who had invited us to stay a night with them before returning to Auckland.
We had SOOOOOOOOOOO much fun.
JP and I have really been missing our families – and it felt so good after wandering around for nearly a week, to stay with a family. They received us with coffee and baked goods and we sat around chatting it up for quite a while – and Kelsey presented us with a beautiful design of our names that she’d spent 6 hours on! We absolutely loved it.
Then we taught the family Carcassonne!!! J haha (go figure). It was Derrick, Lenore, and Kelsey Jellick playing with us, and they picked up on it quick. Shortly after Peter, Rose, and Teresa Bradley (another family we’d met at the church) showed up and hung out with us. Derrick is the pastor of the church we went to – and he smoked all of us!
And then we taught them liar’s dice – which was a blast – and Derrick smoked us all again! J wow.