This morning Jessie slept in until 8.30am. I know it probably doesn’t count because she went to bed pretty late last night, but it counts for Craig and I because we went to bed earlier than usual, and then to get a sleep in like that, well we were just a couple of boxes of birds! I had a plan in my mind for how today would go, and here’s how it looked:
- Breakfast nearby the Airedale, somewhere fun
- Quick trip into Cotton on Mega for a sun hat for Jessie (which I forgot to bring… knew I’d left something behind!)
- Drive north to Puhoi, where I’d made a lunch booking to eat allllll the cheeses
- Continue on to Sandspit Wharf to catch our ferry to Kawau Island
Here is how it went:
- Walk down Queen Street, realise pretty much everything is shut due to Good Friday, then realise our choices for brekkie are McDonalds or Starbucks
- Choose Starbucks because it doesn’t smell strongly like urine outside (😬)
- Walk back past Cotton on Mega in the hope that maybe they were just opening later on (nope).
- Pick up car from car parking building, drive north to Albany Westfield, still holding out hope that someone would’ve broken the Good Friday laws (still nope).
- Give up on that idea and head back to the motorway towards Puhoi, and realise there is intense traffic… a 40 minute delay, in fact. Lucky we continued on when we did!
- Call Cafe in Puhoi to cancel, because data is being slammed by all the backed up traffic, so I can’t cancel the online booking.
After making that call we thought we’d better keep going and perhaps stop for lunch in Warkworth instead, time allowing. Fortunately that did happen, and we found the cute Warkworth Hotel, which had some pretty good food options to fill up a little girl’s tummy before the ferry ride. I quite liked Warkworth… I feel like it’s somewhere I’d like to live if I were to live up this way.
We arrived at Sandspit Wharf with plenty of time to spare, so that made us happy – so much so that even the (very) sarcastic lady behind the ticketing desk, who assumed our trip was “on the company” couldn’t dampen our spirits, and the weather was so much better than I thought it was going to be… winning!
The ferry was a medium sized cat, quite dated with staff whose attitudes matched Karen behind the ticketing desk – after telling us to pile all our bags with everyone else’s in a particular area, an announcement was made that we should make sure we are taking our own bags because they’d had several incidents already this morning of bags going missing… funnily enough, we did actually look up during one of the stops to see that someone was carrying one of our bags off the boat. I think perhaps a better system is needed here, but for anyone going, I recommend keeping a close eye on this situation.
After approximately 90 minutes, and several stops at bays along the way, we made it to our destination – Vivian Bay. The jetty is exactly where our accommodation sits, and it was just a matter of a few steps to our check in, which Craig was grateful for after a lot of luggage hauling today.
The Beach House is a boutique beachfront hotel, with just seven suites. I’m not sure of the history of the site, but from what I can tell, it’s been a house which has been converted to having the downstairs area as a restaurant, and then the suites have been built around it later on. There is a terraced area looking out to the bay, with sun loungers, where you can have cocktails and snacks, and also an area where you can take out kayaks, paddles boards, and snorkelling equipment.
Once we’d settled in, we went and grabbed a couple of the sun loungers and ordered some cocktails while Jessie played with a girl she had made friends with on the ferry ride over – perfect. The staff were super attentive and booked us in for an early dinner at 6.30pm to cater to Jessie’s needs.
As it was already after 4 when we arrived, 6.30 rolled around fast, and we headed to our lovely table with sea-views, where we had a three course set menu, and Jessie had some delicious Swedish meatballs – she was shattered though and starting to get quite fidgety before our mains even arrived, and so I did give her a device to watch some shows on, with her headphones… you gotta do what you gotta do, sometimes.
The sunset was so beautiful tonight, and the trees around the restaurant all have fairy lights attached… it was a really lovely evening looking out across the bay with a Malbec in hand – we even spotted a weka (and apparently there are kiwi around as well – I’m pretty sure I can hear one right now, actually).
Something that’s easy to forget, especially as people who work in the travel industry, is that you don’t get as much bang for your buck in New Zealand as you do in say Thailand, or other such countries where they have these huge resorts competing against each other. These rooms are not cheap, but you’re paying more for the exclusivity and views of the location than anything else. If I’m completely honest, if it weren’t for Covid, and credits we had due to last years cancelled anniversary trip to Melbourne, I probably wouldn’t have come here given the price point, but it is nice to know that this money is going into our own economy and into an industry so close to our hearts, which has suffered over this time.
We’re looking forward to exploring a bit tomorrow – there are a couple of walks we want to do, as well as taking out the kayaks.
I hope everyone is enjoying their Easter weekend so far!
See you tomorrow night!