A Travellerspoint blog

Piha Beach

December 11, 2015

sunny 18 °C

So..we mentioned Sam one of the flight attendants on Air New Zealand. Well, we called her last night and her offer stood, to take us to see Piha Beach. So we left our hotel and walked to Grafton Station to pick up the train to Glen Eden station, where she picked us with her her flatmate Erin. The Trains are very clean and similar to the our LRT in Calgary. Cost was $6.50/person for approximately 7 stops or 15 km ride (EVERYTHING IS EXPENSIVE IN AUCKLAND). Then we had about a 45 minute drive to the west coast. Piha Beach is approx 40 km west of Auckland. The drive reminded us of Costa Rica - very lusch greenery - tons of ferns. We arrived in the small village and there was 1 coffee shop and a little cafe/pizzeria in town.

We parked our car and headed off towards the surf. The beach is black because of the heavy iron ore deposits. I had seen alot of photos of this beach but was overwhelmed by the beauty.... and besides a surf school, we had the beach to ourselves. This is the most famous beach in New Zealand. From the 1930s Piha was discovered by sportsmen who tested their prowess with Hawaian surf boards, surf boats and body surfing. Malibu board riding arrived in 1958 and Piha has ever since been a popular destination for surfers.

When the book indicated this is a locals beach only, they were not kidding. We may have seen 50 people on the beach for the entire morning.
We spent a good time watching the surfing school in action, and then figured out they were teaching special olympians how to surf. It was a great experience watching the smiles on their faces, for balancing on the surf board.

Nick even got into the action, trying to lay on one of the boards. He got frightened though, and asked Uncle to take him to the water instead.
We took our hosts to the little pizzeria where we enjoyed fantastic pizza. We drove back to their house and then took the train back into town. We checked out our pool for an hour, got changed and enjoyed some cocktails in our hotel executive lounge.

Then we set off for Ponsonby Road - about 5km from our hotel. It's a trendy street with lots of ethnic/fusion restaurants and shops. We had some Mexican snacks and sangria and then headed home, via Franklin Street which was lit up with Xmas lights

Posted by winmouse 12:24 Archived in New Zealand Tagged auckland piha_beach Comments (0)

Arrive in Auckland

December 11, 2015

overcast 12 °C

Well we arrived safely in Auckland at 5:50AM on Friday December 11th. Weird that we completely skip a day and will never have any documentation of events for Thursday December 10th. We LOVED Air New Zealand. The staff were very friendly and accommodating. We even had one stewardess approach us during the flight offering to give us a ride to Piha Beach tomorrow so we can watch the surfers. Now I've never had an Air Canada Stewardess EVER offer to assist me with anything once I've landed. Premium Economy worked out great. A good price using our RBC awards points and then purchasing the upgrade. Much more reasonable than the $5000/person difference it would have been using Aeroplan points.

Travelling with us is our Great Nephews bear he made in his grade 3 social class. NIck did not want to hibernate this winter, so asked if we could travel with us. So there will be lots of photos with him over the next month.

We are staying at the Langham Hotel in Symonds Street. Its about 20 minute walk from the harbour front. However, they have a complimentary shuttle bus every half hour that drops us off a block away from the harbour front. So it's a perfect way to get downtown. We worked all morning on various projects back home and then headed out for the afternoon to check out the harbour.

Holy Smokes, our little Northwind could fit 2-3 times on the sailboats we saw today. Amazing boats. We saw a few America's cup boats as well and a racing catamaran. The Kiwis are certainly serious about their sailing. Had lunch at Snapdragon but would not recommend it again. One of the worst Fish and Chips we've eaten, but the view was spectacular. So we can't really complain.

We are back in the room by 5:00PM, which is quite good, as we've been up approximately 36 hours and managed to get 4 hours sleep on the plane. Nick, on the otherhand, has been sleeping like a baby since we got to the hotel. He didn't even wake up to go to the harbour with us.

Tomorrow, we hope the weather is nice, as we are taking Sam - the stewardess up on her offer to drive us to the beach. Should be a fun day.

Posted by winmouse 13:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged auckland sailboats viator_harbour Comments (0)

48 hours Countdown

semi-overcast 4 °C

Well, we are off on another adventure to the Southern Hemisphere where we can once again enjoy a summer solstice on December 21st.
We can't believe it's been 5 years since we have posted on this blog. This adventure will take us from Auckland to Bay of Islands, Tauranga, Wellington, Dunedin, Milford Sound, Tasmania and ending in Sydney for New Year's Eve at the Sydney Opera House.

We have a guest with us for this adventure - Nick. He's our great-nephews bear that he sewed for his Grade 3 class. Nick has decided to spend a winter travelling instead of hibernating, so he's excited to see the world. We hope that everyone following us will send Nick lots of "likes" and provide comments and suggestions for him while he's travelling abroad.

It's time to finish packing and make sure Nick has all the essentials he will need.

Posted by winmouse 18:42 Archived in Canada Tagged australia cruise new_zealand kangaroos Comments (0)

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