After the amazing day of hiking last Friday, Saturday was rainy and cold, so we laid low. We popped over to the other side of the Coromandel Peninsula (to a town called Whitianga) to check it out, with plans of seeing some of the famous (and presumably beautiful) beaches. To get there, we took a tourist road – a gravel tourist road – that has a couple interesting things on the way.
The most interesting thing was Stuart’s Pigs. Stuart is a guy who owns a lot of pigs. And also chickens and roosters. And at least one cat. But the pigs! Old sows, old hogs, little baby piglets, tween piggies. There was a BUNCH of them.
Unfortunately, it was feeding time when we stopped, so they weren’t terribly interested in us. Fortunately, Stuart followed one around and brought it to us – the littlest black one he could find. This poor little piglet was either scared or annoyed to be taken away from food – or maybe both – so was squealing… like a pig… when he got handed over to us.
At first Stuart handed him to Gracie, but he squealed and squirmed and ran right up her shoulder and out of her arms. I caught him, and he kept squealing and squirming and then ran right to Tate.
And then he just chilled way out. No more squealing, no more squirming. He just hung out with Tate, happy as could be.
But eventually we had to go, and much to ALL the girls’ dismay, we could not bring a piglet with us.
We also stopped by a Kauri forest on the way to Whitianga. The Kauri is one of the most ancient trees in the world and very distinctive, because as it grows it sheds its lower branches. So you’re left with a smooth trunk (with a diameter of about 15 feet around) on a very tall tree – most average about 165 feet tall. There used to be loads of them around, but because they’re a great building tree, they’ve been heavily logged. Today, they estimate there is only about four percent of uncut forest left. Here’s a picture of the Siamese Kauri, joined at the base with two distinctive trunks.
The rest of the day consisted of eating and then driving back to our hotel. The girls were TIRED on the way back and made a little sleepy sandwich. Tate on the bottom (you can barely see her), a huge rainbow horse in the middle, and Gracie on top. Kids are weird. We also swung by the grocery store to pick up dinner to grill and ran into our driver/guide, Willie. It’s fun to run into people we know everywhere!
On the way back to Auckland on Sunday, we stopped at a delicious place, Cafe Melbourne, in Thames. Gracie’s hot chocolate was epic. Colored marshmallows and homemade chocolate chunks for the win.
A great weekend any way you look at it. And now just waiting on the next adventure.