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Road Trip

I'm not generally the sort of person to make wild & outragous over-exagerations, but I think that this entry may qualify as an exception.  The Coromandel region in New Zealand is probably the most beautiful place in the world.  But more on that later.

We spent Christmas with our good friends Dom, Jen & Jordan.  We had a fairly traditional christmas - a nice roast dinner, movie and presents. Very pleasent evening was had, and we were all nicely full by the end of it.  Jen's mince pies were remarkably good :)

The following morning, Jacqui and I went north.  It was our other good friend Dave's (60th!) birthday on the 27th, but since he lives in Auckland, we decided to head a day before so that we'd be freah enough to wish him many happy returns without collapsing in exhaustion.  As always the drive north is outstandingly beautiful, but long (9 fekking hours!). The views of the mountains along the desert road are breathtaking, even after seeing them so many times.

We left quite late in the day and arrived in Auckland at about 8:30pm.  The hotel was very nice, with pleasent views over a lake.  Being that it was boxing day, we concidered ourselves lucky to find that the local Indian restaurant was open.  We were the only ones there, but enjoyed our curries with Cobra beer very much regardless.

The following day, we spend shopping in Auckland.  I must say, we were very impressed : Auckland seems to be a clean, functional city.  The area around the harbour is beautiful and there is an endless supply of nice pubs and restaurants.  All in all, we now perhaps have a reason to move north.  The better climate certainly adds to this...

In the evening, we went back to hotel and later, we had a very nice dinner with Dave and his family.  I had fish, and it was excellent :)

The day after we started our road trip proper.  We set the tomtom (more on this marvelous device in a later post. Suffice to say : it rocks) and headed for Thames, Coromandel.

We had arranged to meet Tom, Alfa and her mum and brother in the town for lunch.  It was also my birthday (tengo 33 anos!).

After some aimless wandering around the town, we found a little pub where we had some lunch.  Can't remember what I had, but I think it was tasty.  I also had cake.

We then set the Tomtom again to take us to Hahei, which is closest town to Cathedral Cove : the Most Beautiful Place on Earth (tm).

I'm serious here: Cathedral Cove is the place you always see in fancy photos of New Zealand.  White sand, natural arch formations, jungle-like backdrop.  Oh my!  Don't take my word for it; check it out:

The famous arch was partially blocked off due to falling rocks.  We braved it anyway.

Here's the white sand a jungle backdrop I promised.

We spent several hours in the area, enjoying the fantastic weather and splashing about in the water.  We even threw a frisby ;)

More on what happened after Cathedral Cove in the next exciting episode.


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