#taskersontour Omaha edition

Recently we had a child free (yay!) weekend away at Omaha, a little settlement on the north-east coast, about an hour drive from Auckland. We’re doing the half marathon/10k events there on the first Sunday in December, so wanted to take a look around the place first.

I rented us a little apartment in the “new” side of the development, which is near the start/finish point, altho really nothing is too far away here. The furniture was a mix of contemporary and antique, including a rocking horse that I’d have loved as a child.

The top row of photos is from the beach at Omaha looking east – the shadow island is Little Barrier. On good days you can apparently see it clearly and further out to Aotea or Great Barrier. I know – to think this wasn’t a good day???

The middle row is just a couple of things that caught my eye at Matheson’s Bay, which is on the road to Leigh. Si learnt to snorkel and spearfish here when he was in the Army Air Corps unit; it was once the home to a thriving boat building business. There’s lots of rock pools down past that twisty Pohutukawa and we enjoyed exploring them.

The nearest town with full services is Matakana; full of gorgeous food, heritage buildings and wonderful people. The war memorial had been part of a service for VE day on the 11th and still had all the wonderful poppies; and this church still has working bells that call the faithful to service on Sunday morning (bottom row).

I’m ready to head back after the crappy “spring” weather we’ve had for the last few days!

The Mount

For some odd reason, every Kiwi seems to have the knowledge built in that if you’re going to the Mountain, you’re off to the snow; and if you’re off to the Mount, it’s all about sun and surf. It was part of my childhood, growing up in a suburb of Tauranga, we spent a lot of time at the beach and it’s something I remember fondly.

Bay of Plenty

We had the force’s apartment thanks to a last minute cancellation. The mattress is well past expiry but the location and other features of the apartment well overcame the annoyance. Look how close we are to the Mount!

We drove down Friday after work – ugh – and spent Saturday exploring. We had arranged to view some MR2 parts down in Whakatane (which is about an hour further down the coast) so once we’d done that, it was all about the exploring. We went down to Ohope Beach peninsula, then back to the small township (best hamburger, chips & milkshake combo we’d had in a long time), then Whakatane township, then Te Puke, Papamoa then back to the apartment. Si rested for a while and Mase and I went out exploring.

That kid simply did not shut up for the next two hours! We went along the surf beach and clambered on Moturiki Island. Onto the Cenotaph, where we watched the moon rise up from the sea and the sun setting over the Mount.

Sunday was travelling home via Hamilton and the new Waikato expressway; family dinner and going over Grandma’s photo stash. Good memories.

Book Review: Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

I meant to post this yesterday, but best laid plans and all that. We’re currently down the country, living the dream… sea, sand & finally some rain! BLURB: A magnificent epic set against a history of seven thousand years of the struggles of Gods and Kings and men – of strange lands and events – of fate and a prophecy that must be fulfilled! THE BELGARIAD

Long ago, so the Storyteller claimed, the evil God Torak sought dominion and drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.

But that was only a story, and Garion did not believe in magic dooms, even though the dark man without a shadow had haunted him for years. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved – but did not know? For a while his dreams of innocence were safe, untroubled by knowledge of his strange heritage. For a little while… THUS BEGINS BOOK ONE OF THE BELGARIAD’

MY THOUGHTS: I love this book. Totally adore it. It was the first title I brought with my own money, earned from a paper round (which I hated, BTW). It’s classic high fantasy, good vs evil, with a few twists & turns along the way. Recently I listened to it on Audible, with the gorgeous tones of Cameron B (think Sean Connery *sigh*). Yes, it has gaps and there is a bit of patriarchal character development, but that reflects the period of writing. After all, not many people complain about Tolkien’s writing!

Te Puna Quarry Park

In March, Louise made a cake for a first birthday, so we took the opportunity for a night away in Tauranga. The party was being held at the Te Puna Quarry Park, just outside the city limits, so while Lou spent time with her friends, we took the opportunity to explore.

The quarry itself ceased operations in 1979, and from 1996 a group of volunteers have worked to create natural habitats alongside art installations. There’s machinery (made safe), musical instruments, a hobbit hole, butterfly houses and more. We walked around for over an hour and probably only caught quarter of it. And the views!