travel things

New Zealand: Part II

Auckland

After our morning in Leigh on the glass bottom boat, we hopped in the car to make our way over to the Coromandel Peninsula. Keep in mind this was our first time really seeing the countryside, because our first night’s drive was in the dark. First we passed Auckland, and I snapped this picture out the window. If we had had more time, I would have liked to have gone to Auckland, but I’m not going to lie, it would have taken a lot more time in the country before I would have given up time out in nature to go into the city. What can I say, I’m a beach girl, not a city girl!

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Road Tripping

 

Here is smap nzome of the beautiful countryside. A simple highway took us south. It was quaint, and made me fall in complete love with this place. We played good music on my ipod during the drive, and our jaws would drop as the mountains, sheep, and occasional houses would pass by. By the way, the whole time we were in this country, we legitimately felt like we were in the Lord of the Rings! It was so fun! Do you see the knob on that hill in the picture below? That’s how the hills looked – it was super Shire-ish! {Here’s our travel map again to the left, if you want to see.}

 

 

 

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The Coromandel

Our little red manual car, Whit driving on the left side of the road, took us up and around the windiest curves I have ever been on! Some of the roads we were on were legitimately VERY scary – hugging a tight curve with no shoulder and a giant drop-off hosting bleating sheep several yards from us! I did like the sheep part.

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Alright, so we were headed to the coast, right? So I am expecting at some point, after driving up and up and up steep winding roads, that we will go back down, and the ground will level out. Nope. It was so bizarre to be up in the mountains, but also at the edge of the country, along the shore. Weird. Anyways, we were visiting the Coromandel Peninsula, a place of magic and natural wonder. This was our first view:

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We came upon a lookout, so obviously we stopped. The sun was at the exact right place in the sky, and I could have just stayed and looked at the ocean for hours. We took a lot of pictures and stared a lot, and I think I jumped up and down in disbelief, and then we got back in the car to try to make our hike before sundown. SONY DSC

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The place that we hiked to is called Cathedral Cove. You might know it from the second Narnia movie (Prince Caspian). It is the beach the Pevensie children wash up upon when they are taken back into Narnia. Narnia. The land that C.S. Lewis invented to represent Heaven. And this is the location – out of all the places on EARTH – that the directors chose to use to film that place. So, basically Cathedral Cove is heaven on earth. I had high expectations.

 

 

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To get there, since we were on a large plateau, not actually at sea level, we had to hike about 45 minutes to get down to the beach. It was wonderful. We saw only a few other people along the way. It was an actual hike, not a simple walking path, but an easy hike nonetheless. There were green ferns and birds singing all along the way.

Have I told you about the birds yet? I loved the birds in Australia and New Zealand! I don’t care about birds usually, because in the US our birds are lame. I mean, some of them are pretty, but the ones that are are elusive (cardinals, blue jays, hummingbirds). Some of them sing pretty songs, but mostly nothing too interesting.

New Zealand, on the other hand, has no mammals that are native to the country. So instead of having dogs and deer and squirrels, they have birds. Tons of birds. Really interesting, pretty, singing and chirping birds. In Australia it’s the same – they have mockingbirds and cookaburras and lorikeets. One time we were walking in a neighborhood, and right in someone’s front yard was a pink cockatiel. Just sittin’ there!! A bird that sells for $1,000 in the US, just right there on the street. It’s crazy. Anyways, I enjoyed listening to the birds on our hike.

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I told you, it’s all Hobbitland down there.

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Cathedral Cove

We finally made it down to the beach (after practically running to get there before the sun set!!), and were in heaven. We had so much fun exploring, running around the beach, viewing it from every angle, exploring all the nooks and crannies, and dipping our toes in the Pacific Ocean. There were only a few other people there, maybe about ten total the whole time we were there. By the time we left and the sun was almost gone, we were the only people there. We may or may not have taken advantage of that.

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Look familiar??

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scene from Narnia Prince Caspian

So the “cathedral” is a natural arch that formed from the ocean waves beating against a large rock structure that now connects two small bays, or coves. The arch is plenty large to stand under and admire the sea while being entranced by the cave-y echoing of waves gently crashing against the rock. It was mid-winter while we were there, mind you, so although I was happily barefoot, the sand and water were freezing!! My feet went numb quickly and it was well worth it. 🙂 It was high tide while we were there, but had it been summer, I would have absolutely swum through the water to get to the beach on the other side of the arch. Or we could have walked if it was low tide. Okay, enough chatting, I’ll let the rest of the pictures speak for themselves!

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Looking out from the cove to the beach on the other side

 

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Turned around, facing the beach that we came in through. I was standing in the bottom left in the above picture, for reference.

 

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I was just a tiny bit excited. 🙂

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Just a couple of Pevensies. 🙂 Or Narnians. You know 😉

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Find Part I here, Part III here, and the whole series here.

2 thoughts on “New Zealand: Part II

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