Friday, 20 January 2012

Jan. 19: Black Sands, Green Me

We had a plan. We had heard that, with a bit of digging on the black sandy beaches west of Otorohanga, hot spring water would create beach baths, so off we went, armed with a chopped off milk carton and a pop bottle fashioned into diggers. The hour of hairpin turns made me quite nauseous, despite gorgeous scenery all the way there. I had to take a time-out in Kawhia, while Gina and Kees enjoyed burgers and fries. Ginger beer helped me feel a bit better. So did the walk over dunes and down a vast beach, where the tide was out and a bit of cloud cover kept us from frying. Fresh sea air was very therapeutic.
Our little diggers were not very useful, but visiting with other locals who knew what to do was a very effective strategy! It was great fun for a couple of hours, but the chilly ocean and fresh breeze dissuaded us from immersing any more than feet. See Kees's most excellent movie of our experiences, to be linked here soon.
We headed inland on a southern road, one that again had just stunning views, I managed the twists and turns well for most of the trip, as we stopped for waterfalls, a natural limestone bridge down a jungle path, 35 million year old oyster beds and another amazing cave, but this was all self-guided.
By the end of the 94kms of hairpin turns out of the region, I was in bad shape again. It took an hour for the nausea to pass. We spent most of that time back at the best free wifi spot on Main Street, Otorohanga. Kees managed to Skype Oma and Opa successfully, but I wasn't feeling very chatty! I wish I had been able to visit, too. I miss visiting with my folks, as well.
As Gina skyped friends, Kees called a distant denHartigh relative, who has a dairy farm and B&B at Mystery Creek, minutes from Hamilton. That turned into an invitation to visit, so our evening's destination is set. Off we go to meet Henkand Lieda denHartigh.

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