Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016

We got up, cleaned, did laundry and then decided we wanted to go for a drive.  It wasn't raining so we headed out about 10:00 a.m.  We decided to drive over to Raglan, a small tourist town on the west coast of the North Island.  It was about a two and a half hour drive.  We went there last year but decided to check it out again.  We took a turn off at Huntly and drove on roads we have never been on before.  We were mostly alone on the roads and saw some beautiful country.

This is our car.  The road was canopied with these trees much of the way.

We love these hills the way they are terraced like this.  We were told it is because of the sheep and cattle grazing.

We drove through Raglan, which is a small town.  We didn't stop because we wanted to find the beaches.  Our daughter, Christy,  had a co-worker tell her she served her mission here and thought Raglan Beach was the best beach in New Zealand.  We never did find a Raglan Beach.  This is Ngarunui Beach about 15 Kilometres outside of Raglan.  When we got out of the car the wind was blowing fiercely.

I thought it was going to blow us away.  We hiked down to the beach.  They say this is one of the top 10 surfing beaches in the world.

There were a couple of surfers out and some people playing in the waves.  Too cold for us.  We actually had hail for a few minutes.  That is the first time we have seen hail here in New Zealand.

Nada on Ngarunui Beach.  The hail and rain stopped and the wind settled down to a breeze.  It was a nice beach.

The sun came out for a few minutes and everything was colourful again instead of so grey.

They had some changing rooms, and this building that looks like a surf shop during the summer time.  The top of the hill is Ngarunui Beach Lookout.  We did not climb to the top because of the weather.

These are called Cabbage trees.  We headed back to the car to find Manu Bay.
We drove about ten minutes and came to Manu Bay.  The waves here did not come toward the shore.  It was very interesting.  The Tasman Sea was very rough and grey today.  Some very big waves.

We drove about five more minutes and came to Whale Bay.  We had to walk between these houses and down these steps to get to the Bay.  There was no beach, just a lot of huge rocks.

If you walked along these rocks for a while you would come to a beach.  I, Nada, did not want to walk that far on these slippery rocks.  Reed went for quite a ways and ran into a warning sign that there was an Indian Burial Ground and the ground was sacred and no trespassing so he came back.

The waves here were huge.  We love watching and listening to the waves.  We only wish it would have been a sunny day but oh well.

The rocks had some interesting motion and colors in them. 

We walked back up to the path to get to the road.  There was this gigantic Flax plant.  They grow all over New Zealand.
We then headed back to Auckland.  We decided to stop at Bridal Veil Falls and check it out.  It had been raining off and on for days so we thought it might be running pretty fast today.  It was a beautiful 10 minute walk into the falls.

You can see how brown the river is.  It was running much higher and faster than last time we were here.

We are standing right at the top of Bridal Veil Falls here.  It was running pretty fast and the water was all brown.  When the water is clear you can see the large rocks in the pool.

This is taken from the mid view point.  The water falls 55 metres from the top of the falls to the pond.

You can see how much standing water is in the stairs.  We got our feet pretty wet because you could not avoid every puddle.  There are 261 steps down to the base of the waterfall.

This is the view from the platform at the bottom of the falls.  The rock on the face of the cliff is a Basalt formation.  We were here by ourselves and it was very peaceful.

Nada after climbing the 261 steps back up to the mid viewing platform.  It was a very peaceful, nice hike.  As we walked back out to the car it was starting to be dusk and it was dark amongst all the trees.  It was kind of fun.

Reed took this picture of the green hills as we were driving back to Auckland.  I, Nada decided to drive since we were not on busy roads.  I drove for about half an hour and then decided to let Reed drive the rest of the way home.  That is only the third time I have driven since being in New Zealand and by far the longest.  I did okay.  What a fun, relaxing day we had.  We saw some new places, some we have visited before and just enjoyed being together and away from the office.  It rained most of the way home.

We went to bed tired.  At 1:30 a.m. the fire alarms in the building went off and woke us up from a sound sleep.  It said for everyone to evacuate the building.  That is a rude awakening.  We put on sweatshirts, shoes, grabbed our wallets and passports and headed out into the light rain and cold.  We stood outside for about half an hour before they stopped the alarms and allowed us back into the building.  It took a while to fall back to sleep.  We have never had this experience before.  At 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning the alarms went off again and we had to evacuate again.  Twice in less than 12 hours, crazy.
We hope you have enjoyed seeing a little bit of New Zealand with us.  It is such a green, lush, beautiful country.  We never grow tired of driving and looking around.  We feel so blessed to serve here.  The people are very friendly, everything is clean and we always feel safe.  The Lord has truly created so many beautiful places and things for us to enjoy. 

We are well and happy.  We stay busy and are trying to do our very best.

Until next time.  Love, Elder and Sister Spencer (aka Reed and Nada)


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