A weekend on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
Labour Weekend 2016
We decided to be tourist’s today and headed up the coast to Hahei – home of Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach and the Hahei Marine Reserve.
From Tirau it was a short drive of 20 minutes along a slightly windy road – we did make one stop on the way at the Colenso Café which was a recommendation from my friend Michelle.
Definitely worth a stop with good quality seasonal food, freshly made with ingredients from local growers; Colenso is one of the Coromandel Peninsula’s best known establishments with its shop, garden and mandarin orchard. Take a wander around the grounds and you will not only see that pigs do fly! But the fresh garnishes on the delicious food served comes from the café’s own gardens.
Hahei is known for the many fun activities you can do that are water-based like scenic adventure boats trips, sea kayaking, scuba diving and snorkelling. The beaches are just gorgeous with soft white sand and clear clean water – you could be forgiven for thinking you were on an island from some Hollywood movie scene!
We had picked up a brochure about the ‘Hahei Explorer’ at our rented holiday house – you can find more information on this at the website: Hahei Explorer
The tour is an hour-long and takes you along the volcanic coastline including the world-famous Cathedral Cove; having never done something like this before we decided it looked like fun! The ‘chief tester’ has missed his JetSki which was stolen a couple of summers ago and not replaced. This boat trip was a real treat for him and he only mentioned how great it would be to do this if he had his JetSki maybe 3 or 4 times?
Anyway we met the boat at the south end of Hahei Beach and boarded the flexi-haul vessel which could take up to 10 people. We were given life-jackets and introduced to the skipper as we climbed aboard. Today was our lucky day as there was just the two of us with the skipper!
Within minutes we came across a little blue penguin and were able to get quite close to it before we headed around the coast to Champagne Bay which was just stunning. We ventured through a sea cave underground into a huge rock cylinder 80 feet high – an amazing blowhole!
The skipper had a great knowledge of the local area and its history of Maori encampments and sacred burial grounds of the chiefs of the Iwi. He chatted throughout the trip pointing out areas of interest and explaining the volcanic nature of the coast.
Across the bay to Whale Cave and then to Cathedral Cove which despite it being week day was populated with holiday-makers taking in the beautiful scenery – some even swimming!
The trip took an hour and was just great. At different times of the year you would see whales and dolphins – today we took in schools of snapper swimming around the boat – tempting for any fisherman 🙂 Labour Weekend is the beginning of the summer weather and not as busy as later in the year; even so we did have to book ahead so if you are keen on a boat tour make sure you call up and book early.
The ‘chief tester’ and I headed back to Tairua a little windswept and slightly sun-kissed – and reflected on how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful country.
Life Lesson from today? – take the time to visit your own backyard before heading off overseas – there is much to see and do in New Zealand!
Happy travels xx
I was in the mood to bake – but didn’t have a lot of time so a couple of batches of biscuits seemed like a good idea. It really is quick to bake biscuits and who doesn’t love a homemade biscuit with a cup of tea or coffee?
First up the family favourite Chocolate Chip cookies. Usually I use a cookie dough scoop however mine has broken – 1 tablespoon of mix rolled and then flattened with a fork and voila! 🙂 each cookie looks slightly different but thats baking isn’t it? Not perfect but still yummy. While they were baking I mixed up the next batch.
I grabbed my Edmonds Cookery Book and headed for the Vanilla Biscuit recipe. As you can see from the picture this recipe has been one of my go-to’s ever since I a) got the book and b) started baking.
- 125g butter
- 225g sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or essence
- 1 egg
- 225g flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 50g sultanas
Cream the butter and sugar with vanilla paste or essence. Add the egg and stir through. Mix in the dry ingredients.
Roll into balls – tablespoons – and flatten with a fork on a prepared tray. bake for 15-20 minutes at 190°c.
Now isn’t that the most simplest recipe you have ever read? Now give it a go and perhaps it will become one of your go-to’s as well!
Happy baking xx
We headed to Rotorua this past weekend to meet my daughter and her husband for dinner! Yes, that’s right…for dinner 🙂 My daughter is a Theatre Nurse living and working in Wellington. We agreed that this year we would see each other more regularly – time slips by so quickly doesn’t it?
Hubby and I left Auckland later than we intended (animals to get sorted) and enjoyed a lovely drive with the roof down on my little car, and the radio up loud! We stopped in Tirau for a quick pit stop (boy this place has sure developed withholds of places to eat and shop at), and then at Mamaku Blue for a freshly made blueberry ice-cream. What a treat that was! It is about 2kms off the main road into Rotorua so watch out for it…worth a stop 🙂
We drove around the North End of Lake Rotorua to reach our destination of VR Rotorua , Mourea. (We got a great deal through an online booking site.) Situated on the waters edge of Lake Rotiti, we had a room with a lake view and the most comfy bed ever!
My daughter and her husband arrived from Wellington about the same time as us – their drive about 5 ½ hours. We caught up on all the news and then headed into the city to find a restaurant for dinner. Getting consensus can be tricky when you all have different tastes until we came across the new Eat Street, I have attached the link http://www.rotoruanz.com/eatstreat/
All weather, outdoor, alfresco dining – so many places to eat to choose from. I recommend if in Rotorua you check this place out! We opted for CBK Merchant and Pro where they said they were famous for their stone grilled steak! The meal did not disappoint, nor do the service which was super attentive without being annoying if you know what I mean?
On Sunday we played tourist with a visit to the a Rotorua Museum. The museum is housed in a building with a romantic past. The Bath House building was opened in 1908 & designed along the lines of European spas of the time. We enjoyed the visit with it’s history lessons, galleries and view from the roof over Government Gardens. It was $20 for an adult but that did you give the opportunity to come back any time over the weekend. And when you see what has been restored with the entry fee it seemed worth it.
Rotorua has loads of activities to do and things to see. Gondola rides, luging down the mountain, wildlife parks, thermal hot pools and lots more. We haven’t been for years to be honest – and it was chosen for our dinner catch-up because of the easy distance for both of us to travel. If you are looking for a weekend retreat, then Rotorua is a great destination.
For my daughter and I the opportunity to get together and chat face-to-face instead of on the phone 🙂 was great. We are planning our next weekend already with husband’s in tow – but are aiming for a girls only day in Wellington first. Let’s face it there are some activities husbands are not keen on that we girl’s enjoy…and the shops are great in Wellington!
Til next time