School Holiday in New Zealand (notes)
We've been travelling around New Zealand for the first school holiday. We spent the first couple of days in Auckland in a neat little motel - an older place but it was big, had a kitchenette, and a nice sized living space. We were able to cook a couple of meals there and save a few dollars on what is proving to be quite an expensive place. Gas at one place was $2.50/litre! Walking down a nearby street we saw a corner takeaway place with a TON of people in it - figuring it must be good we went in and ordered a few dishes. Weren't disappointed. Diamond Takeaway for those that are in the area. The next morning we went to the Auckland Museum for a few hours. Reflected on how the first time through a museum in an unfamiliar place you really just take in the patterns, images, and the big picture - not enough information yet to make sense of the smaller details. Seeing the Maori artifacts and items from other Pacific Islander people was certainly different from items back home in North America and those from Aborigine and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia. Next stop was a couple days north of Auckland with the Thomas family, another family on exchange. We had a fun dinner at Shipy's, an old boat repurposed to be a fish and chip restaurant and then some deep sea fishing the next day. It was nice to share our exchange experiences as well as the holiday events at the moment. We caught enough red snapper to make a meal for the two families. The following day we made our way back south to Hot Water Beach for a couple nights in a funky villa just a short walk to a beach with enough geological action to create quite hot pools of water. Lots of places around sold or rented small shovels for digging out your own personal hot tub in the sand. You have to go at low tide so there is a four hour window to find your hot spot. All night and all morning was a torrential downpour with parts of Auckland flooding and losing power. Roads in our area were also washed out. Didn't look promising for the day and we were thankful we had a nice sized villa to spend a rainy day in. Eventually though, it cleared up and we headed down to the beach. It wasn't as easy as we thought it would be and dug several holes before we found where to dig. Even then the waves would come in and destroy any holes you dug. Nevertheless, you could feel spots on the sand that were noticeably hotter and after squishing your feet in the sand you could find pockets of very very hot water.