Monday, January 12, 2009

Pukekohe to New Plymouth

The duo set out at 8:45am today from Puke for a few days down in New Plymouth. Back in Pukekohe Mike recommended we visit the Waitomo Caves en-route and of course do some hiking around Mt Teriyaki near New Plymouth. As Hamilton is also on the route MB insisted on visting the Hamilton Gardens, with a perfect sunny day for strolling through gardens.
The 120 acre gardens turned out to be the best MB has ever seen in the southern hemisphere with MDR seconding that opinion. There are a series of "paradise" gardens, with themes from Japan, China, India, Italian Renaissance etc. which are stunning. MB also enjoyed the herb garden and the "sustainable backyard" food garden, she also saw for the first time a Chinese gooseberry (kiwifruit) plant, in fruit too. The on-site Cafe was excellent as well. The pair plan to visit again on the way back north as time didn't allow them to explore more.
Next stop was the Piopio berry farm for a picnic lunch on their shady lawn with fresh strawberries and blueberries for dessert, doesn't get much better than this, although pick your own berries would have been fun.
At about 4pm just before New Plymouth is White Cliffs Organic Brewery, dropped in there as well for a taste. MDR inquired as to where the ingredients are sourced and learnt that the hops are bought from Motueka on the South Island and the grain comes all the way from Germany. MB was interested to see that they were selling two litre plastic bottles of beer, just like a big bottles of soft drink.
Arrived in NP not long after and after a bit of tooing and froing (sans Tomtom) found the Timandra Lodge and checked into a little cottage which has turned out to be delightful. The lodge is actually an old mansion set in bushland and boasts a tennis court and outdoor BBQ, no spa though. MDR has his cable TV sports channel and MB has a wireless internet connection, plus a bunch of walking trails at their doorstep.
MDR has found a local acquatic centre and is off doing laps. Dinner tonight at Andre's L'escargot, which has pavlova on the menu - MB figures as it's her birthday she can indulge in her favourite dessert.
Haven't seen the volcano yet, it's shrouded in cloud today. MB can't wait to see it, as volcanoes go it probably rivals Mt Fuji for scenic value.


Paul said...

Wow - this trip sounds like it's getting better and better. I'll be surprised if you ever leave!

MB said...

Yes, all the planets are lining up nicely. Tonight's dinner was wonderful, found another food hero!
After dinner went to walk off some of the KJ overload at the Festival of Lights in the local Pukekura Park and a rock band started singing "Happy Birthday"....