Sunday, June 15, 2014

Turanga to Tokomaru Bay, New Zealand: Saturday, June 14, 2014

Friday afternoon after visiting the kiwi fruit orchard we went to other friends who lived nearby for dinner and overnight.  These Rotarians also visited us in Iowa in 2005.  We also saw them in Sydney at the convention.  We had a lovely visit catching up.  One their children live in Wisconsin, so very likely we will see them in Iowa again.  In the morning we were on our way, probably not early enough, as it turned out to be a longer day’s drive than we expected.

They also had big plans for the day – He was organizing a marriage renewal ceremony for the 20th wedding anniversary of a couple from Uganda, Africa to be held in a little chapel in Rotarura, NZ that day.

Friday morning – We left Tauranga and began driving along the eastern side of New Zealand - the Pacific Coast Road which goes around the area called the East Cape. The East Cape sticks out into the Pacific Ocean.  We stopped at too many beaches, too many overviews, too many times along the side of the road, as our time got away from us and by the time we reached our reservation destination it was dark, even though it was only 6:00 pm.  
More Kiwi Orchards

Pruning the Kiwi

Kiwi Shelter Belts

Waves Crashing into the Beach

Mature Norfolk Pine

Outdoor Milking Station

Cows in a Paddock with a new Paddock nearby

Opotiki Church

Opotiki Central Round-About

Old Hotel in Opotiki

However, every stop was special and beautiful. Due to the mountains, the bays, the rivers, we were going around curves to the point that you thought the steering while would twist off.  At least they have a speed limit on the curves so as you approached you had an idea how tight the curve would be according to the posted speed.

We drove by miles and miles of kiwi fruit orchards, miles and miles of beaches, lots of lovely bays where little villages were located.  In the mountain valleys you saw homesteads tucked away, with lots of dairy cows grazing in paddocks, and lots of beef cattle grazing the hillsides.  We saw outdoor milking stations by corrals, lots of large bales of hay wrapped in green plastic for feeding to the cows if there was no green grass.  At this point there is plenty of green grass.  To our surprise on Saturday we saw very few sheep grazing on the hillsides. 

After you leave the town of Opotiki, things become quite remote.  Cell phone service is not reliable, but we had contacted the B & B the night before to confirm our reservation. The gal suggested that we call her about ½ hour out of town, so they would know about what time we would be arriving.  Well our phone reception was weak, so that we could not reach her.   

Maori Meeting House

Another Beautiful Bay

One-Laned Bridge

Anglican Church along the Coast

Scenic Countryside

Lonely Shepards Hut

We finally got to the bay where we had made reservations at “Te Poutapeta, Post Office B & B”  It was the actual old Post Office that was turned into a B & B. As I said it was dark, and there is not much in this village but we found the B &B as it was located right along the main street, as Post Offices would be. However no one was there as we had not contacted her as she had suggested.  We finally went to the Pub down the street.  This village is so small that everyone knows everyone else.  The gal behind the counter knew the owners of the B&B, so she called them for us.  It was decided that we would eat our main dinner at the Pub and then we would go to their home for homemade ice cream, after which they would take us to the B&B!

As it turned out, the husband had been an exchange student in Wisconsin may years ago, and his sister studied phsyio-therapy in Illinois, so they felt connected to us from Iowa! Five of their children were home, plus 5 children of friends from 10 hours away were there (ages 12-20, I think).  They were all playing the game Taboo and asked us to join them, after which everyone enjoyed homemade ice cream in cones.  We had a lovely visit and it gave us the opportunity to ask questions about the area.  The husband was born and raised up the coast from this Bay.  His father was an electrician, working along the coast.

A lot of the people in this area are employed at the local hospital, farming/ranching, logging and some teachers at the schools. Inland there are huge sheep/cattle Stations.  Their oldest son that was there this evening is studying all parts of Station management. During his course of training he has to train two pups to be sheep dogs - take orders and be a good sheep dog. Also part of it is working with horses, as he rides a horse to check on the sheep and cattle. It would have been interesting to visit his Station.

The Post Office B & B is a lovely B & B.  In AU and NZ, B & B’s are often self-catering – that means there is a full kitchen and you can prepare all your own meals. This meant breakfast things are left in the refrigerator for us to make our own breakfast, included free range eggs.  However we chose to have cereal, toast with jams and tea/coffee.

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