Cathedral Cove and Hahei Beach, New Zealand

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC, plus the TC’s other travelling companion, are on New Zealand’s North Island. We spent a bit of time exploring Cathedral Cove, Hahei Beach, and the routes from the one to the other.

My impressions? Rock, sand and sea, in perfect harmony.

The book I’m in

Rat Run, by Gerald Seymour. A mix of crime, terrorism and psychology. I’m looking forward to finding out what happened to make the hero the way he is.

Travel tip

The walk from Cathedral Cove carpark to the cove itself will probably take you less time than the sign-posted 45 minutes. The TC did it in under half an hour (one direction).

Recommended restaurant

Hahei Beach Café, 3 Grange Road, Hahei 3591, New Zealand. The food is good, although not fancy. The service is friendly and efficient.

Recommended accommodation

Pauanui Pines Motor Lodge, 174 Vista Paku, Pauanui. A restful lodging with welcoming hosts. Be aware that the nearest supermarket closes at 6.30pm. Any others are far away, so stock up as soon as you arrive.

The photos

Me at the entrance to Cathedral Cove on New Zealand’s North Island:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

You can only get to Cathedral Cove on foot or by boat. The closest car park is about half an hour’s walk away (though the signposts declare the walk to be 45 minutes). We chose to walk from the carpark to the beach.  It’s an easy stroll along a well-kept path, with views over the sea and bush.

Here’s the view from the Cathedral Cove carpark, at the start of the walk:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Here’s another view of the entrance to Cathedral Cove at the end of the walk, unadorned by this worm’s noble form:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

The entrance is an open-ended cave leading to Cathedral Cove from the next-door Mare’s Leg Cove. Walking through the cave onto the beach:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

This imposing rocky pinnacle is called Te Hoho:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

A view from the other side of Te Hoho, with a bird fortuitously in the shot:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Looking back at the entrance from the other side, on the water at Cathedral Cove:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Jonathan was there too, although a little less sure of himself than is his wont. Perhaps his equanimity was disturbed by the frothy ecstasy of the approaching wave:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

A typical New Zealand tree skeleton stands sentinel on the beach:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Rather than walking back to the carpark, we took a water taxi from Cathedral Cove to Hahei Beach. Here’s the water taxi after we disembarked at Hahei Beach:

Hahei Beach

Then we walked from Hahei Beach back to the carpark, which takes about 20 minutes. Here’s a view of Hahei Beach from the walking path:

Hahei Beach

And the sea through the trees:

Hahei Beach

A view from the other side of the lagoon and Tairua Harbour, where we lodged at Pauanui:

Pauanui

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 9 December 2016 at 1:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bay Bridge in the wet

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

The TC, bless her cotton socks, paid a flying visit to San Francisco yesterday. It was a trifle wet. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge faded poetically into the drizzle.

Jonathan was there too, of course. Here he is, coming in to land with his usual flair:

Seagull coming in to land, with Bay Bridge in the background

Even a seagull looks bedraggled in the wet:

Bay Bridge in the wet

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .

Today’s travel notes

Queenstown, the action capital of the world. That’s what our guide told us during one of the many activities and adventures that me and the TC have tackled in the last few days. Queenstown, on the South Island of New Zealand, is a pretty little town with lots to offer for a few days of fun and action.

My impressions? Sunlight glowing on tawny hills. Cloud shadows gliding across a turquoise lake. People flying through treetops, skimming over water, scooting along the shore and jumping off anything that doesn’t move. It’s all happening.

Travel tip

Ziptrek. Just do it.

Recommended accommodation

Pounamu Apartments.

The book I’m in

Bad Luck and Trouble, by Lee Child. Jack Reacher gets together with some old buddies from his army unit. It’s like having a number of Reachers all in one book.

The photos

Me and Mary Moa:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

The TC offering me to the last surviving Moa

In the centre of Queenstown stands the last remaining Moa bird. Mary. Naturally, the TC attempted to feed me to the giant bird. Mary Moa declined with due disdain:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Mary Moa's suspicious eye

Queenstown is beautiful. A lake runs through it:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown seen from Skipper's Saddle

At the bottom of Lake Wakatipu a giant’s heart pumps. That’s the reason why the water surges one way and then the other, regular as clockwork every fifteen minutes, causing a twenty centimetre rise in the level of the lake on each shore in turn. The seiche, they call it. There’s no scientific explanation for the phenomenon yet, so the story of the giant’s heart is as good as any other.

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

Jonathan was there too:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Jonathan on the shore of Lake Wakatipu

We zoomed along the shores of Lake Wakatipu on Segways:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Zooming along with Segway on Q

We zipped through the treetops on flying fox cables:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Flying fox tour of the treetops with Ziptrek

The flying fox tour is run by Ziptrek. If you’re ever in Queenstown, do it. The cables and platforms are attached to trees like this:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Cables and platforms built into Douglas fir trees

If you have the time, or the nerve, to look while zipping through the treetops, this is the view you’ll see:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

View from the treetops

We panned for gold on the famous Arrow River:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Gold panning equipment

Sifting out all the pebbles and white sand:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Panning for gold

That’s the gold, right there! See it?

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

A speck of gold

Poke the gold to make it stick to your finger:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Get the gold onto your fingertip

There it is. No, really:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Goldfinger

Add it to the rest of your stash. Carefully:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Collecting the gold

You’re rich:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Gold gold gold

To celebrate our new found wealth, we enjoyed a high tea:

Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

High tea on the Land Rover bonnet

Then we drove down the seventh most dangerous road in the world, into Skipper’s Canyon. This worm survived to tell the tale! I’ll post a video of the drive, just as soon as I can get it loaded onto YouTube. Motel broadband is not all its cracked up to be. This worm is sure you’re all waiting on tenterhooks. Ah, the suspense!

That’s all for today dudes.

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are back in San Francisco for a flying visit. The TC is working here for a week, so this worm has tagged along as usual, keeping her book warm and generally looking after her. Today, Sunday, is her only day off on this trip. So we all got in to a Smart Car and drove over the Bay Bridge, to see what happens outside San Francisco.

My impressions? Oakland and Berkeley are worth the drive, if you have time on your hands, if only to see the Bay Bridge and the view of SFO from the other side.

Travel tip

Smart Cars are larger inside than you may think.

Recommended restaurant

Pakwan restaurant, corner of O’Farrel and Jones streets, San Francisco. Quite outstanding. See photos and words below.

The book I’m in

Gone Tomorrow, by Lee Child. The TC hasn’t had much time for reading, so I’m still stuck in the same book as when I wrote my previous post. No matter. I’m quite attached to the book!

The photos

Me with Peg and the food at the Pakwan restaurant:

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

The Pakwan restaurant is on the corner of O’Farrel and Jones streets, San Francisco. It offers “Pakistani-Indian authentic cuisine”. The space itself is not all that impressive, but the food is simply delicious. The price is very reasonable too.

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

Me with the Smart Car that we hired for the day. I’m attached somewhat precariously (as usual) to the aerial:

lackadaisical

lackadaisical

Me and Smarty Tyres are parked in the grounds of the University of California, in Berkeley. Here’s one of the attractive buildings on campus:

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

Next we drove down to Oakland. Surprise, Jonathan was there! Here he is, admiring the view from Oakland docks of the mist coming down over San Francisco:

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland

That’s all for today dudes.

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .

Today’s travel notes

The TC got it into her head to drive an open-top Mustang down Highway 1, the coastal route from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Actually, it was the TC-once-removed who put this idea into the TC’s head. Reluctantly I have to report that the TC got a bit carried away with the whole experience and left me cooped up in her bag much of the time. I didn’t even have the chance to get cozy with the pony (that’s what we aficionados call a Mustang) although I had been eagerly anticipating that photo opportunity.

Still, the TC did give me an airing every now and then, so I can report some highlights of the trip.

My impressions? The drive to Los Angeles is just beautiful. LA is a dump. Drive on by.

Travel tip

If you can, spend a few days on the drive. There’s much to do and see.

Here’s another tip from a wise worm: Invest in a GPS. Don’t rely on your TC. If she’s anything like mine, you’ll get lost and end up seeing the, ahem, interesting parts of town. En route from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica, we encountered Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Sod Farm.

Recommended restaurant

Lucia Lodge Restaurant, perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean at the southern edge of Big Sur.

Recommended accommodation

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, 400 Cannery Row, Monterey. Even the TC, bless her cotton socks, deserves a touch of luxury every now and then. But be warned, it’s pricey.

The book I’m in

Moonlit Cage, by Linda Holeman. Highly recommended. This worm felt homesick when the TC finished reading The Linnet Bird, by the same author, so I’m glad to be ensconced in another of Linda’s works.

The photos

Me cozying up to an urn in the Santa Barbara courthouse. Yeah, Keats dude: Leaf-fringed legends, deities and mortals abound. In truth, beauty and all that, I feel that I have a certain unfading charm myself:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Here’s the Mustang backed by a fittingly scenic view:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

The TC keeps remarking with glee how the car took her up and over 100 miles per hour before she had time to glance at the speedometer. Hmm. This worm is sceptical of the “before she had time” part of that tale:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

It’s a 4 litre, 6 cylinder mean machine:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

We started in San Francisco. Here’s that serene city, as seen from the Sausalito ferry a few days before we left:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

We spent our first night in Monterey. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is well worth a visit. It’s housed in a converted sardine canning factory situated at the end of Cannery Row, of John Steinbeck fame:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Me with a seahorse in the aquarium:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

The jellyfish displays are awe-inspiring, dwarfing even the TC’s height:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Here are the jellyfish in motion:

Another sort of jellyfish:

And perhaps the most ethereal yet:

These beasties are seadragons, related to seahorses. These dudes have the art of synchronised swimming down to a T:

Wherever I go, Jonathan is there too. Here he is masquerading as a porpoise, but I spotted him. Is he the most inept spy ever? Double-oh-seagull:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

We stayed at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in the middle of Cannery Row. It’s luxury squared. Here’s the view of the sea at dusk, from our room:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Just a few steps down the Row, two homeless people set up for the night. John Steinbeck would probably recognise their experience of the Row more than ours:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

The scenery from Highway 1 is sometimes breathtaking. This video gives some idea of its beauty. The noise you can hear is the barking of group of elephant seals on the beach at the bottom of the cliff:

Further along the road, you can get up close and personal with more elephant seals.

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Santa Barbara is gorgeous. So impressed was this worm, that I plan to write a blog post dedicated to that city. Here’s a snap to whet your appetite:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Malibu is luxury with a road running through it. Can’t visit your neighbours, for fear of getting run over when you cross the road. Can’t get anywhere without a car. As we approached from the north the TC chirped, “I could live here!” Then Malibu went on and on and on and this worm is pretty sure she changed her mind. Not that the TC would admit such a thing, of course.

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Santa Monica was blowing up a storm when we arrived. Extreme weather. The TC had to duck the kamikaze palmtree fronds. At one stage she was walloped in the middle by a low-flying cardboard box, but seemed to take that in her stride. Even so, Santa Monica greeted us with glitz, glamour and fairy lights:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Early next morning all was calm and clean again, the palm fronds magically back in their rightful places:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

After a bit of research to find “you know, that beach where you always see people in films rollerblading among the palm trees”, the TC decided on Venice Beach, LA:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

We found this skate hire shop:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

And the TC fulfilled her heart’s desire:

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

Driving a Mustang from San Francisco to LA

That’s all for today dudes.