The acute among you may notice that this post is being published by some strange new person. That's right, Beth, the creator, editor, and photographer for this blog is in the shower, washing off the lingering scent of volcanic sulfur (more on that tomorrow), while I, her lazy boyfriend, ride the coattails of her hard work!
Yesterday Beth, my dad Bill, my brother Nick and I piled into the van and took a road trip down to the town of Tauranga, southwest of Auckland on the northern coast. Along the way we stopped to have lunch at a quirky restaurant and had a short hike.
It was a lovely jaunt along a river surrounded by New Zealand's iconic black tree ferns, jurassic-looking flora which grow thick stalks like trees. Beth had two firsts, swinging bridges (disliked), and honeysuckle (liked). I guess growing up in Durham provided more opportunities to learn which flowers you can harvest nectar from than growing up in Queens. For Nick and I, this brought back childhood memories of our schemes to collect vast quantities of honeysuckle nectar and sell it for a brisk profit. After an hour of backbreaking work, our mason jar was still pretty much completely empty. Oh well.
There were also these pretty yellow flowers. We didn't try to eat their nectar.
After our hike we got back onto the road and met up with dad's friends, Duncan and Jane, residents of Tauranga. They took us to climb Mount Maunganui, a great mound of earth which sits on the end of a peninsula, dividing the ocean from the bay.
The local government employs a herd of bio-fuel lawnmowers to trim the lawn at the base of the mountain. Baah!
After a brisk climb punctuated by sweaty Kiwis having absolutely no fun running up and down past us, we neared the summit. Here the trail turns to a precarious footpath, and there's a bit of a view.
At the top we were rewarded with 360° of brilliant ocean and sky in a multifarious cascade of blues and more blues. It was pretty cool.