Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just an extra hour at Piha

We went camping! :-) As a result, I am now a bit sandy and sunburnt... and my knee... don't think I was supposed to slide down Lion Rock... But it provided an absolutely stunning view of Piha! Since camping was something that was on my list for the "summer in NZ" or such, it was a joy to actually have a plan come together. Five of us headed out a bit later than expected on Saturday to the western beaches of the Auckland area. They are known for wicked surf and sometimes quite strong currents.

First stop: Foodtown to pick up some groceries. Let the fun begin. Was a nice drive down; quite a curvy road through some dense bush. Nice views awaited from a stop-off just above Piha! Soo exciting!! (Note: There is a large, obtrusive rock called Lion Rock in the middle of the beach at Piha. This is in a few films, so may look familiar.) Once we arrived, we had a "nice" (*cough notnice cough*)chat with this lady who presumed we were up to no good... Quite an unfortunate assumption on her part, I do believe. Regardless, we found a campsite in a small field-ish area and set up camp! Then we headed to the beach!

What a beautiful surf. Huge waves galore.

Needless to say, we enjoyed a bit of the water, though it was very chilly. Relaxed for the afternoon and loved taking in the view of PIHA!! Returned to the campsite after enjoying a beautiful sunset. There was also a couple in wedding attire on the beach! Gorgeous. Dinner (cheese sausages) was fixed in the kitchen after a few 3-minute showers and then we retired back to our site. Sat outside in the chilly air, relaxed on the air mattress, and looked at the stars for quite some time. The sky was completely scattered with stars and absent of clouds for a while, which was nice. Then...

There was a noise around our campsite.

It sounded like an animal (and to be honest, my instincts told me "Run! Bear!"... Of course I wasn't thinking, "There can't be bears, we are in New Zealand...")...

Sooo... we began to investigate and found...
HEDGEHOG! Eating our chocolate cupcakes and sitting amongst the feijoas!! Oh goodness... Soo... we took too many pictures, laughed for a while, and then sent the hedgehog on its way.

Needless to say, I slept in the tent from this point on.

Day two: More of the beach!! :-) Once we finally cleaned up, had breakfast, played on the playground, and packed out the cars, we headed to catch some surf. I actually tried SURFING for the first time in my life!! :-D It was super super exciting, even though I was not successful... Regardless, I enjoyed the mini-lesson and think it would be nice if we lived near a beach back home so that I could potentially practice! Either way, my half hour of surfing was totally worth while and sweet as! :-) Tuna and bread for lunch on the beach, with a few Oreos for "pudding." For the rest of the afternoon, I took a nice walk up Lion Rock, nearly slid down into the grass, and managed to enjoy even more wonderful views of the surf and such. What a splendid spot.

It was a bit stressful getting everything settled, but nothing that would distort my impression of a wonderful weekend at the beach. Camping and all! :-) I'm still suprised that it actually happened.

Quite tired now. Back to Remuera Road, packed, and ready to leave tomorrow for the Cook Islands! We shall see when I find time to do my papers, but hopefully all will be well for the remainder of break!!

Ready to try out surfing.

I found this road sign to be rather obvious. Lion Rock.

Relaxing along the shore.

Ahhh... Piha.

Our visitor!

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