One year of blogging

“As much as I love international travel I think it’s important (and cheaper) to get out there and explore one’s own backyard. So I’m starting this blog to encourage myself to get out there and do more things on my days off. So join me as I begin my journey to see what this great country has to offer…”

I wrote these words exactly one year ago today – January 16th 2014.

Call it a New Years Resolution or just a goal. Last year I decided that I wanted to do more with my days off work and get out of the house. So I created this travel blog to encourage and document my adventures around my home country of Aotearoa New Zealand.

My first was a day trip to Hobbiton – the location for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. It was a great start and was definitely one of my favourite outings from last year.

At Hobbiton - January 17th 2014

At Hobbiton – January 17th 2014

Despite living in Auckland for 6 years I am embarrassed to admit I had never been to places like the Auckland Art Gallery, Bastion Point and the Botanical Gardens. This blog gave me a reason to go and cross them off my list.

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, Bastion Point

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, Bastion Point

I also had a reason to revisit places like Devonport, Takapuna, Birkenhead, Orewa, Auckland Zoo, MOTAT, Auckland War Memorial Museum and Wintergardens, and the SKY Tower.

When I had 2 or 3 days off work I tried to get out of Auckland. During the year I visited Coromandel township, Waitomo Caves, Hamilton and Wellington.

Boat ride through Mangawhitikau Glowworm Cave - Waitomo

Boat ride through Mangawhitikau Glowworm Cave – Waitomo

I could post when I liked, there was no pressure. Some nice people read my posts. I helped a couple of people along the way like the lady who wanted to know the gate closing hours for Michael Joseph Savage Memorial / Bastion Point.

I don’t know where this blog will go this year or where it will take me. My only plan is to do more than I did last year and enjoy myself.

Thanks for reading. Have a fantastic and prosperous 2015!

New Year Fireworks - SKY Tower

New Year Fireworks – SKY Tower

Orewa

My parents were holidaying in Orewa for the week so yesterday I went up to see them. Orewa is a small coastal town on the Hibiscus Coast, just north of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.  It is approximately 25 minutes drive north of Auckland city.

After having morning tea on the deck of the holiday home overlooking Orewa Beach we walked along the beach. The high tide was quickly approaching so some quick and careful footwork was needed to avoid getting wet feet.

Peppermint tea overlooking Orewa Beach

Peppermint tea overlooking Orewa Beach

Walking along Orewa Beach as the hide tide approaches

Walking along Orewa Beach as the hide tide approaches

Orewa Beach

Orewa Beach

From beach we crossed Hibiscus Coast Highway and picked up the track for Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway and Walkway next to the Western Reserve.

Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway and Walkway map

Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway and Walkway map. Click here to download map

This 7.5km shared path follows the estuary along past Orewa Western Reserve to Orewa West and then comes out on Arran Drive and follows Millwater Parkway past the new Millwater subdivision, Silverdale School, Kingsway School and loops back around to the Western Reserve via a pedestrian footpath on the Hibiscus Coast Highway road bridge.

The track takes approximately 1 hour 45 minutes to walk or 40 minutes cycle.

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Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway and Walkway

Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway and Walkway

After lunch we walked back along Orewa Beach following part of the Millennium Walkway to Old North Road. The Millennium Walkway is a 2 hour oval walk around the Orewa township – the blue footprints on the footpath mark this walk.

At Old North Road we walked up to Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve. This 16 hectare forest is named after Alice Caroline Eaves whose family bequeathed the land to become a public reserve in 1960.

It will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to walk this scenic reserve.

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Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve

Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve

The Old Hollow Kauri tree, approximately 800 years old - has survived storms, lightning strike & the miller's axe.

The Old Hollow Kauri tree, approximately 800 years old – has survived storms, lightning strike & the miller’s axe.

After walking the Eaves Scenic Reserve we walked back along Orewa Beach to the holiday home.

With its sandy beach and being a perfect base to explore the rest of the Hibiscus Coast, Orewa is a great destination for a day trip or long weekend away.

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