"" Writer's Wanderings: New Zealand Diary - Raglan, Bridal Falls, Auckland Botanical Garden

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Zealand Diary - Raglan, Bridal Falls, Auckland Botanical Garden

Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Sadly it is raining when we get up and go to breakfast. This B&B only has a continental breakfast so except for coffee, there is nothing warm on what looks like a dismal start to the day. I’m a little down. I want to go home but I’m sad to see this come to an end as well.
Bob pulls the car up into the driveway long enough for us to load our stuff and leave. Wipers sloshing rain, we say goodbye to Waitomo and check our map to see our choices of routes to Auckland. We have until six p.m. to get to the car rental place and our flight to LAX doesn’t leave until 10:45. The slower route would take us near the Tasman Sea one last time so we opt for that and bypass Hamilton.
Not far from Waitomo, as we head north, the sun comes out. I smile and give thanks. A little sun always lifts the spirit.
The sun still shining, we end up in a little town called Raglan. It sits on a harbor that looks out to the Tasman. We walk around a bit and find a nice little place at a cafe where we can sit and enjoy some coffee and tea outdoors.
Around the corner is an Information Center and we enquire about tracks and things to see. She shows us a short track and then tells us about the surfer beaches and a waterfall not far away. Another waterfall? Why not?
We drive in the direction of the surfer beach and stand above it to see if anyone is surfing. One lone soul is trying to paddle out against the waves and making slow if any progress. I wonder how many times he will actually get to ride a wave back in at this rate. We give up on him and go back to the car. As we do, we see a few others donning wet suits for a go at the surf. Their day is just getting started I guess.
Bridal Falls was the other suggested attraction and it is a 13 km drive out of our way but we have all day and plenty of time and nothing else planned. It can’t possibly be any nicer than the waterfall we saw yesterday but who knows. We arrive and park the car. It’s about a ten minute walk all the way down to the falls. Down means up again, I think, and my knees groan at the thought.
Bridal Falls view from the top.
Bridal Falls is spectacular but I decide I liked the Marakopa Falls the best of all. We take our time going back up to the car. I’m glad we separately packed clothes to change into before we get on the plane. I’m feeling a little dusty and dirty already.
We stay on the back roads until Bob decides we may have to pump a little gas to get us to Auckland. He’s trying to leave as little in the tank as possible since we had to pay for a tank of gas at the outset. While we stop for gas, we spy a McDonald’s and decide it will be a quick and easy lunch. Besides, Bob has seen something advertised called The Legend and he wants to try it.
Unfortunately this McDonald’s doesn’t have The Legend but an hour or so later, we stop for coffee again in Drury and find a McD’s that does. It’s really a disappointment. It’s a minced beef pie that tastes more like just thick gravy inside a pastry shell. A couple of weeks ago though we did enjoy what was called Son of Mac. It was a smaller version of the Big Mac—king of like Whopper Jr. is to the Whopper.
We walk around Drury a bit but don’t find anything interesting to do. It’s way too early to go to the rental car place. A cinema might be a possibility but we really don’t want to be cooped up inside. We’ll be inside for the next whole day. I study the map some more and see the Auckland Botanical Garden is not far from the airport and on our way and, it’s free!
We couldn’t have chosen more wisely. There are over 64 acres of gardens here. We wander through those that seem to be blooming the most and those that are just peacefully landscaped. Before long we are walking through a huge area that is nothing but rose bushes all in bloom. There is every kind of color and shade imaginable. One area of the rose garden is dedicated to new hybrids they are testing. Park benches allow us to sit and soak up the sun, the flower scents, and the peacefulness. All too soon it seems we have to be on our way. It’s time.

Lady Garmon gets us to the rental car return and we check in. In the restroom, we change into our clean travel jeans and shirts. This will be a marathon to get home. At the airport, we check bags and go through security and then make our way to the premium lounge. We get special treatment since we won the auction to upgrade our seats.

The premium lounge has a small buffet in it with some salads and a few hot snacks. I sample a little but save my appetite for our plane trip. Since we are flying all night, eating late will help to simulate getting closer in time to what it is back home. Of course spending nine hours in LAX will mess things up. My poor body is not going to know what time it is or what day for that matter until maybe next week. Ah, the joys of travel. But our 26 hours or so of travel will give me plenty of time to reflect on what a wonderful time we had in New Zealand.

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