And this is Stefano serving the aforementioned steaks, which were absolutely delicious.
The weather has continued to be fantastic - just one shower of rain after we'd had a morning on the beach and then a lovely, sunny evening to follow.
We met some really interesting people including Sue and Adrian and their sons, George and Oliver, who have been sailing around the world for seven years in a 38' yacht! Sue actually has an article in this month's "Boating New Zealand" about their time on Easter Island. We also met the first ever people we've spoken to who didn't think much of NZ! An English couple who didn't think there was "much to do" here and didn't think they'd be returning. Well, I suppose they could be right, there's not a lot to do on beaches like these is there?
We stopped in a place called Paihia on the way to Kahoe and got the shock of our lives. The main road was shut and there were diversions and no through ways and all sorts and loads of official looking people around. I spotted an interesting looking craft market on the green but we didn't think it could be the cause of such chaos. Anyway, we had a mooch around the stalls and people were asking us if we were "off the ship"? We didn't think they were being rude but then we noticed some lady in shorts, a golfing-type top and one of those visor hat things with "Queen Mary II" emblazoned upon it. We had chosen the same day to visit Paihia in the lovely Bay of Islands as this massive ship with about 3 000 aboard, plus crew! Paihia will never be the same in our memories! People were pouring off the lifeboats they use as ferries into the town in their hundreds. Further queries about whether we were "off the ship" led to the answer, "No", through increasingly gritted teeth!! We decided to give the place up as a bad job and get the ferry across to lovely Russell where we enjoyed relative tranquility and a yummy ice cream. Here she is:
While we were in Kahoe we visited a nearby forest and had a lovely walk through the native bush. We saw several kauri trees and while they aren't the biggest examples in NZ they were still pretty impressive.
We enjoyed plenty of birdsong and the ever-present noise of the cicadas and we managed to spot a tui - a gorgeous bird that we seem to see fewer and fewer of although we did see this one in the Native Bird Recovery Centre and it actually talks! They are good mimics in nature, this one seems to have continued the practice in hospital!
As you can probably tell we are continuing to have quite a nice time :) here in New Zealand! Love and hugs to you all, more soon.