New Zealand is silly sometimes. It has the same number of public holidays as Canada, but it crams them all into summer. This makes for a nice summertime with lots of long weekends, but it sure makes for a looooooonnnnggg winter. We go from the beginning of June to the end of October without a statutory holiday--that's FIVE MONTHS. I told you: silly.
So we most definitely took advantage of the long weekend at the end of October, which is Labour Day, and drove up north to Mahia Peninsula. It was a long drive, but well worth the mileage (kilometerage?). Matt, Danielle, Kevin, and I enjoyed a stunning three days of camping, cooking, and even a bit of very cold swimming. These pictures are a mix of mine and Danielle's (her camera is clearly much nicer than mine, so thank you Dani!!).
First stop--mandatory beach yoga pictures.
Driving into the Wairoa region.
While silly at times, New Zealand is also incredible. Many regions in the country host Freedom Camping sites where you can pull up and camp for free for a few nights, while the Department of Conservation provides toilet facilities, running water, and rubbish bins. Being a long weekend, we figured these sites would be jam-packed. As we drove into Mahia, we checked out both sites to find that they were both EMPTY. Not. A. Soul.
View from our campsite.
Boys playing baseball (not cricket).
Matt brought along a cast-iron cooktop from Russia (maybe?) that proved to be a pretty unbelievable camping essential. Throw a few patties around the edges and fry some potatoes and kumara (Kiwi-speak for sweet potatoes) for a delicious meal. It fit perfectly in Kevin's briquette grill and on the fire for breakfast!
The next day, we drove all along the peninsula taking in the magnificent landscape. The boys geared up to go diving for paua (abalone) and crayfish while the girls lay on the beach taking in the sun. I ventured out into the ocean for a very quick dip, but brrrrrr it was cold!
Gasp! Kevin's not making a stupid face. This is a keeper.
Back at the campsite, we witnessed a fleet of old army vehicles that drove all along the beachfront. I also was educated in the fine art of shot-gunning. This was proceeded by some very serious frolicking around the beach.
Cheerleading (I've still got it!) and yoga was compulsory.
Then we returned back to basecamp for another delicious feast, sunset, and campfire before our long drive back south.
Beer in the bum chicken--classy!
The boys show off their intricate dance moves.
Art installation in Napier.
By the way, I hear it's snowing in Canada. Yuck!