Pukekohe, Day 1

We woke up in our hotel room #3 at the Paparoa Motel at around 7. The only other guest was a gentleman in room #2, and he left bright and early. So we were alone in the motel. Sue switched the kettle on and made 2 cups of instant coffee. Eew! I guess we’ll get packed up and see if we can find a proper cafe down the road.

We left the motel, locking the front door behind us, at ten. We drove about 10kms down the road and stopped at a small espresso and breakfasts cafe. Nice. Good coffees. Eggs on toast for me and a big chocolate-plum danish for Sue. We’d had an email from the girl who’s villa we’re renting for our week in the Cook Islands advising us to bring insect repellent and meat. What? What does that mean?! The insect repellent request doesn’t exactly thrill us — but hey, we’re from Manitoba — whatever pesty insects they have here can’t be anywhere as bad as the mosquitos of Manitoba. But what’s up with the request for meat? Sue emailed her back and the reply was that since everything is flown into the island, meat is very expensive and if we want to use our big fancy barbecue next week, we may want to bring our own meat. We walked to a nearby little grocery store to see about buying a can of “Off!” before hitting the road again.

There was a bit of a drizzle on the windshield as we continued south towards Auckland. Soon we saw the Sky Tower, the landmark tower near the harbour. We took the main highway right through the middle of the city. Traffic was constant, even though it was the middle of the day. Oh yeah, ADELLE IS IN TOWN! This is the weekend we’d heard about all those weeks ago when we first arrived — no hotel or motel rooms available because ADELLE IS HERE!

We drove through Auckland and continued for about half an hour south of the city. We turned off the main road and followed our GPS a few miles into the country. Lots of greenhouses in this area. Vegetable farms. We found our B&B and parked our car at about 2 o’clock. Our host had left us instructions as to where the key was — she wouldn’t be home until after 4pm but we were supposed to make ourselves welcome.

The long driveway had what appeared to be a recently emptied greenhouse beside the length of it. The residence was at the end of the driveway. Our room was an extension at one end of the family home. Quite nice. By now the sun was shining. After we’d hauled all our gear out of the car and into our place I found a water hose and washed all our golf clubs. I managed to pack both sets into our ‘travel’ bag much better than I’d done for the trip here. Lots of room! Tomorrow Sue will do a load of laundry and pack our 2 suitcases and we’ll be all set for our flight out on Saturday.

We found some books to read on the bookshelf in our room and were sitting outside in the sunshine reading when our hosts came home. We visited a bit and then Sue and I left for the small town of Pukehohe, about 10 minutes from our place. We made a short stop at a Countdown grocery store to buy some snacks and cheese and sausage which we’ll pack in our checked luggage — that will be our ‘happy hour’ snacks next week.

We’d already decided that supper tonight would be at the Lonestar restaurant — it’s a ‘Texas-style’ chain of restaurants here in New Zealand and we’d been at one earlier on our trip. We had one final meal of ‘lamb shanks’. It was 8pm when we finished eating and drove back to our home in the country — and it was dark outside. Wow! Three months ago when we first arrived it stayed bright until 9:30. It’s Fall in New Zealand.

Back in our room we watched TV and I wrote my journal. Tomorrow will be a relaxing day on the farm — laundry, reading, packing, and pizza for our last (Friday) night in New Zealand.