Remember nearly two months ago (I think?) I said I’d gone off to New Zealand and Australia? I did! And I’m back, fully recuperated after my trip. It’s been a while, but between the trip, unpacking, jet lag, and my new internship, it’s been a little crazy. But these posts were something I wanted to write up, despite my complete lack of knowledge in writing anything travelogue related. I mean, why not share stories about your travels? So here it is!
I’ve split my trip into several posts – my entire NZ section is divided up almost day-by-day, while the Australia section is several days combined into one or two posts. But enough about format, let’s get on with something a little more interesting.
When I say this is day one of my New Zealand trip, it isn’t really. We arrived in New Zealand late at night, thoroughly exhausted by our flight. Sleeping on the plane has never really agreed with me, so we spent one day passed out asleep in the hotel room. But the next day, we asked the hotel, got onto a car, and headed off to the Muriwai Beach. Things didn’t get off to the best start – I packed my sunglasses in my bag, only to find them missing when I arrived at the beach. They weren’t in my bag, weren’t in the car, and weren’t in my hotel room. I was mildly upset by my carelessness.
Winter had arrived in New Zealand (obviously – why else would I be fleeing Hong Kong?) so we wrapped up very warm, but we stopped off at the side of the road to get this amazing view of the beach. Our guide also pointed out to us that there were gannets still roosting – the remnants of the gannet breeding season, where the mothers stayed with their babies so that they could learn to fly. Then, mother and child would fly off on the winds, and explore the beautiful world…?
It’s really one of those moments where I wish I didn’t go around travelling with a potato phone camera, because for all the megapixels phones boast to have, it… really doesn’t do justice to the view at all. And how refreshing it was! Just the sound of the waves and the ocean winds, with nary a car. Plus, the air is far fresher here – again, obviously – than whatever I’m breathing in the city. As I write, the sky outside is faintly yellow, and there are thick layers of storm clouds approaching.
I managed to get one or two snaps of the birds flying, but like I’d said – the phone camera definitely was unable to get the full view, so most of my photographs came out blurry. We also spotted several fisherman out on the rocky outcrop, trying their luck and trying to snag some kingfish, trevally, and snapper.
That wasn’t the only thing we saw. I also caught sight of a paraglider, just enjoying the strong ocean winds and lazily gliding in the air in their harness, swinging from side to side. Me being me, I commenced my habitual “Please dad please mom could I PLEASE have a go”, and was duly refused. It’s become more of a running gag at home, as opposed to anything serious, because I know full well my family are uncomfortable with me throwing myself off towers, out of planes, or just from any height. Yet, it’s still a dream for me – one day, maybe, I’ll be able to go parachuting or paragliding.
Another sight was waiting for us as we carefully picked our way down the trail – with several very kind hikers pointing out the fastest route to the beach. First: the wave-bored hole. And second – and in my opinion, far more interesting: tidal rocks, completely encrusted in baby mussels. From a distance, they looked only like rocks eroded and blackened by the sea. But up close, you could see the scores of baby mussels, waiting for the tide to come in and feeding on whatever food the waters brought.
Mom jokingly mentioned that she’d come back in six months, harvest those mussels, and then bring them home for me to make moules marinere. I had my doubts as to how legal that was. Is foraging and harvesting allowed on Muriwai Beach? Probably not.
That being said, while the wave-bored hole wasn’t quite as interesting as the rocks encrusted with mussels, they made for some beautiful shots. Truly. Against the clear blue sky (if you disregarded the incoming storm clouds) it was a sight to behold.
But nothing could top the surprise we got while we were heading out of Muriwai towards the city again – a rainbow, stretching across the highway, just as the rain was clearing up. It was the first of several rainbows we’d see on our trip to New Zealand and Australia, but it was a rare sight coming from humid and very often smog-choked Hong Kong. At least, it’d been one I hadn’t seen in over ten years (and I’m not exaggerating!). A good omen for the trip ahead? It certainly countered the fact I lost my sunglasses on the first day of my trip, before I even got out of the hotel…