A Sentence a Day for November: Adventures in New Zealand’s North Island

 November – in a Sentence a Day

Halfway through this year I joined some wonderful bloggers from around the world, for the Sentence a Day writing challenge, (you can find links here to my posts for JuneJuly , August, September and October posts) and it seems like I’m now hooked on doing these monthly Sentence a Day posts!

We all link up our posts using the blue frog, (down towards the bottom of the post), on the first Thursday of the new month and enjoy seeing how life has panned out. It’s a really fun and quite a simple way to keep track of the months without being too wordy (not that anyone would ever accuse me of being too wordy!). You are more than welcome to join in.

Most of my November was spent on holidays with my husband and some friends, touring the North Island of New Zealand, hence the title to this post.  Last November we travelled to the South Island of New Zealand together, so we’ll have to decide where we’ll go next November!

So without further ado here we go with a sentence a day for NOVEMBER:

  1. Wednesday: My husband was still very unwell with a stomach bug, so I drove us to Canberra to meet up with our friends, before we all drove to Sydney ready for our early morning flight to New Zealand tomorrow.
  2. Thursday: Thankfully my husband was feeling a little better, we flew to New Zealand, picked up our hire car and drove 3 hours north from Auckland to a lovely little town on the coast called Paihia.
  3. Friday: Overcast day but we walked around the town, shopped for food supplies and had a rough cruise out to the Hole in the Rock in the afternoon, followed by a lovely recovery afternoon tea in Russell.

  • Saturday: Went to a local Farmer’s Market at KeriKeri then a drive through the pretty countryside looking for some elusive boulders, before a delicious Indian dinner that night.
  • Sunday: We left Paihia, stopping just down the road at KawaKawa to visit an amazing toilet block before driving on through Auckland to Miranda, where the holiday park had a delightful hot spring pool for us to luxuriate in.
  • Monday: Day #1 of our Hauraki Rail Trailtour with bikes to be delivered, bags collected and a ride of 41km to Thames, stopping at the Bugger Cafe for lunch and a laugh.  Things didn’t go to plan with the wrong bikes delivered, no helmets, locks or panniers as promised.  It was all sorted out by day’s end and we enjoyed riding with the wind in our hair (due to no helmets).
  • Bugger Cafe on the Hauraki Rail Trail
    Bugger Cafe
  • Tuesday: Day #2 was a beautiful sunny day for riding, we had a second breakfast at Cafe Melbourne in Thames, in light of the fact it was Melbourne Cup Day back in Australia, before riding around the edge of the Firth of Thames then another 33kms to Paeroa, stopping at a Cheesebarn for lunch along the way and maybe a huge ice cream at the Convenient Cow Cafe.
  • Wednesday: Day #3 of our Hauraki Rail Trail tour dawned wet, wild and windy but we were in the perfect place to wait it out – The Refinery at Paeroa was a brilliant eclectic cafe (and our accommodation for last night) which served delicious food, great music and free wifi, before we ventured out into the weather for our 35km through the Karangahake Gorge, the Falls Retreat Bistro for lunch and TV stardom (more on this in a future post). We finished the day in Waihi having cycled through beautiful countryside.
  • TV stars in the making
    TV stars in the making
  • Thursday: Day #4 was our last day of riding – a huge 47km day – checked out the gold mine in Waihi, lunch back at The Refinery in Paeroa then onto the last leg to Te Aroha.  Back at Miranda we indulged in another soak in the hot springs, dinner of delicious fish and chips at the pub, before packing our bags to continue our road trip without the bikes.
  • Friday: Started driving without any real destination in mind before realising it was the weekend and we had no accommodation booked, luckily we found an Airbnb in Maketu that did the trick, despite its questionable appearance – lesson learnt – never judge a book by its cover!
  • Saturday: Wet and miserable day but managed to get a walk in, had a lovely hot chocolate at the local cafe, read my book and generally relaxed.
  • Sunday: We left Maketu heading for Napier, driving through green rural countryside, along the coast and into heavy rain at times.
  • Monday: Drove around Napier, a delightful Art Deco city and liked what we saw; booked bikes for tomorrow before having a lovely lunch at a local winery. Weather was a bit damp and cool.
  • Tuesday: A superb day greeted us as we collected our hire bikes and set out on the fantastic paths around Napier and Hastings for the day. We settled into wine tasting and lunch at Church Road Vineyards before checking out Mission vineyard, the oldest in New Zealand and cycling back to the centre of Napier.

  • Wednesday:  We sadly left Napier/Hawke’s Bay and drove onto Lake Taupo where we landed on our feet well and truly, with the use of our friend’s bach (New Zealand for beach house) for as long as we wanted to stay! It was right on the water, the weather warmed up, the house was amazingly cosy and well setup and we were all so delighted to have this little piece of heaven to relax in – and then there were the sunsets!
  • Sunset over Lake Taupo New Zealand
    Sunset over Lake Taupo New Zealand
  • Thursday: The wettest, coldest day we had on our whole trip but we weren’t to be daunted, we drove up into the mountains and explored the national park, the Chateau Tongariro at Whakapapa and the delightful surrounding areas.
  • Friday: A beautiful sunny warm day saw us drive to Huka Falls, Orakei Korako (a geothermal attraction) before heading into Rotorua for an entertaining evening at Tamaki Maori Village, then back to our bach at Taupo – a huge day and such fun!
  • Saturday: After our busy few days, we decided on a rest day and caught up on our washing, did some food shopping and took a leisurely drive around the lake. None of us wanted to leave here 😦
  • Sunday: Another wet and cold day to start with as we drove to the Waitomo Glow Worm caves stopping at interesting towns along the way. Our tour was booked for after lunch and we enjoyed the caves and seeing the beautiful glow worms before driving onto Matamata (home of Hobbiton) for the night.
  • Glow worm caves at Waitomo Caves New Zealand
    Glow worm caves at Waitomo Caves
  • Monday: We were up bright and early for another beautiful day, this time visiting the Hobbiton movie set (Lord of the Rings, Hobbit Trilogy), which was absolutely amazing fun and well worth the visit, before we drove into Auckland for our last three nights in a great Airbnb city apartment.

  • Tuesday: Walked around the waterfront, hired bikes and rode around the paths throughout the city, went up the Sky Tower with its amazing views over the city and dinner with the friends who owned the bach at Taupo.
  • Sky Tower Auckland New Zealand
    Sky Tower Auckland New Zealand
  • Wednesday: Another lovely sunny day saw us follow my daughter’s advice and take the ferry out to Waiheke Island where we caught the local bus and enjoyed a last lunch together at the Boathouse Cafe overlooking the beach.
  • On the beach at Waiheke Island, New Zealand
    On the beach at Waiheke Island
  • Thursday: Late last night we’d received a message that our flights had been delayed so instead of leaving at 7am we were leaving at 4pm which threw our plans out the window entirely.  Luckily the Airnb host allowed us to stay until lunchtime (we’d originally planned to leave at 5am) and we tried to relax and fill in the day before catching the flight at closer to 5.30pm and arriving late into Sydney, then driving to Canberra through a huge storm.
  • Friday: We stayed with our daughter and son in law and it was nice to catch up with them before they went to work, we did some washing and met our daughter for lunch before heading out to our Rotary Youth Exchange training weekend. (Our holidays lately seem to have been planned around Rotary commitments).
  • Saturday: Spent the day training students (and their parents) who are leaving in January 2018 for a year overseas on the Rotary Youth Exchange program and meeting with the European students who arrived for their year in Australia in July 2017) – a very busy time!
  • Sunday: Rotary Youth Exchange training continued until lunchtime, we had a committee debrief and then went to see our daughter and son-in-law for lunch, before driving the 3 hours to home, arriving to a wet and windy storm.
  • Monday: Woke up in my own bed or the first time in ages; unpacked; did washing; went food shopping and caught up with some blogging commitments.  So nice to be home 🙂
  • Tuesday: I didn’t leave the house except for a walk later in the afternoon, I found the hammock and relaxed in the warm sunshine.
  • Wednesday: My parent’s 59th wedding anniversary today which made me sad as my father has aged so much over the last few years and doesn’t seem to remember these events anymore, where once he would have bought a sweet card and a lovely gift for my mother.
  • Thursday: A lovely lazy self-indulgent kind of day starting with a hair appointment, then catching up on some blogs, reading my book, a quick 30 minute walk before going to the final monthly Movie Club for the year at our favourite cinema cafe for dinner and a surprise movie, The Gilded Cage. Just what I needed!
  • So that was my month – in a sentence a day!  Yes, it was another huge month but that seems to be par for the course in 2017, my first year of retirement.  I know I can’t keep this pace up but it’s certainly been a fun year!

    Wishing you all a fantastic month ahead and thanks for stopping by to read my blog. If you enjoyed reading my post I’d love to hear your thoughts, maybe tell me what you enjoyed most about your month?

    December is my birthday month and something else always happens later in the month which blurs the gift giving somewhat, but hey I’m happy to share.
    (Click on the blue frog to view and add your link)

    Pin for later:

    A travel bloggers trip the North Island of New Zealand

    Deb 🙂

    You can also follow Deb’s World here:

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    33 Replies to “A Sentence a Day for November: Adventures in New Zealand’s North Island”

      1. Thanks for reading and commenting Su. Maketu was an interesting experience but we’re glad to say it worked out ok in the end and we have a great story to tell. I’ve only given the bare outlines here but it was a bit of a worry at the time. Travelling is all about the unexpected and making it work 😊 Yes it was a great month!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb,
      I’m loving your world! So exciting and so interesting. I would LOVE to go to New Zealand. Lucky, lucky you!
      Looks like you all had a very great month.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. New Zealand is really amazing! With all the beautiful sites and nature you can visit. Were you able to visit the Via Duct in the city? You can see the Queen’s Wharf from there and also Auckland Harbor =D

      Was great reading your post! Hope you can check out my page too. By the way, do you think I can also join this a sentence a day by Blue Frog? haha! Looks fun! Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes of course you can link up by clicking the blue frog and leaving the link to your post for a Sentence a Day, it’s great fun to see what everyone has fitted into their month.

        Yes we did get to the harbour area, walked there everyday, ate and people watched. It’s such a beautiful place. Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment. Will drop by your site too 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    3. What a fabulous month Deb and I loved your photos of NZ it is such a gorgeous place to visit. You have such a full life training for Rotary, travelling and congratulations to your parents on their wedding anniversary. I love these posts and look forward to December’s S.A.D. which should be very Festive!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for reading Sue and commenting too. I really enjoy writing them and don’t expect anyone to read, let alone respond to them as it’s like my own mini diary. It was indeed a great month and I do enjoy a full life with lots of variety. I’m very lucky. Thanks also for your congrats to mum and dad, it’s not been a good time for them lately and I’m really worried. I’ll be up there next weekend so will see for myself how my dad is going. X


        1. Oh sorry to hear about your Mum and Dad it is always a worry when you don’t live close by. I don’t have parents now but even with my MIL in an aged cared home you still worry. It is good that you can make it up to see them. x

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Many thanks, I’m enjoying a quieter start to this month so far and being able to potter around at home for a change. New Zealand is great and has fabulous cycle ways everywhere, it’s so well done over there.


    4. That’s such a fun idea….you don’t get all bogged down writing all about your day, just one sentence and yet when you go back and read it, it will bring back the memories of the rest of the day! You had a fabulous month btw!! So happy you are enjoying your retirement. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly right Deb, I just have to remember to keep notes during he month so I remember what I’ve actually done!! I agree it was a fabulous month to continue the wonderful year I’m having 🙂 So lucky!


    5. Debbie, what a wonderful month you had, most of it in New Zealand. I enjoyed reading your journey, all that bike riding, wow you must be fit. Helped you use up the wonderful calories you consumed along the way, the food sounded good. Thanks for sharing this with us. You made good use of your first year in ‘retirement.’
      Blogger’s Pit Stop

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much for commenting Kathleen, I feel we have made the most of our time and wouldn’t change a thing. I like to stay fit but its really quite easy riding and sounds harder than it actually is 🙂


    6. #3 OH those photos! WOW!
      #19 We have a small cave here in Alabama USA that has the glow worms also. I haven’t been at night yet to see them, but its on my to do list.
      #22 That is one gorgeous beach!
      #29 Nobody prepared me for this time of life. But I guess I wouldn’t have understood it anyway until I got here.
      I am impressed by all the bike riding. I don’t think I am fit enough to do that. Loved reading about your month.
      🙂 gwingal

      Liked by 1 person

    7. Yay for the snow on your blog even though it is summer where you are. Love it!

      I am so glad you are joining us for SaD. They are fun posts, huh?

      Loved the photos from Hobbiton. Wish I could win the lottery and take PC there. He would be tickled pink.

      Happy anniversary to your parents. Having just returned from a trip to see my mom, I can relate to your sadness. My mom fell on our last day with her. So scary. And it was my parents’ anniversary the day before on 12.07 (Pearl Harbor Day). But my dad has been gone for five years. Would have been their 66th.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your comment Leslie. I always enjoy hearing your thoughts. I really enjoy the S a D posts and love reading about everyone’s month. Maybe I’m just nosy!!
        I love the snow on my blog each Christmas too, it’s fun!!
        Hobbiton was brilliantly done and so enjoyable, you’d love it I’m sure.
        My dad is failing fast and it is very sad. I feel for you and your mum too. Take care and thanks for the opportunity to join in with all of these posts. X


    8. When I was married to my first husband, all he talked about was visiting New Z. Me myself never really knowing anything about it listened with little want to follow along on the long plane ride it would require. Following your blog for the past year you have completely reformed my motivations with each and ever post you share! ❤ Thank you for bringing new magic and dreams to my life. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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