Mar 242015



looking down into piha as you drive down piha rd. *home!*

our time in piha is drawing to a close and likewise the warmth of summer is slipping away, the evenings and early mornings are getting ‘brisk’, getting in for a surf needs a little more prep talk, jumping in to harvest a feed of mussels needs to be offset by the thought of the meal and a walk on the beach needs more than just a pair of boardies if its not in the middle of the day!

last weekend we had jeremy, leesi and friends of theirs, geoff & orla over for dinner, jeremy did a dash over to hendo and stocked up on a suitable selection of boutique beers and kai, sal & i bolted over the ridge and braved the surf and cool afternoon to bag a few kilos of massive mussels off the reef. we found the mother lode of the monstor mussels and luckily kai lugged the backpack most of the way back home! it was a great night with lots of mussels, beer, chat and laughs.

we had intended to do a big walk down a ravine, along the pararaha creek over at karekare with jeremy, leesi, geoff & orla the next day, but sal & I piked out and stayed at home, it was a 5 hour walk thru the forest and along the beach and as the weather was a bit dodgy in the morning we gave it a miss.

later in the day sal & i decided to have a walk ourselves and decided to explore a track thru the forest behind our bach which we hadnt had a chance to check out. we just intended to have a quick walk to blow the cobwebs away, but it was so beautiful, meandering along a stream before climbing gently up a ridge behind north piha beach so we just kept going.

the track got steeper and steeper and the views, when we got glimpses thru the dense forest, were stunning, and we kept thinking we were nearly at the top so we just kept going. in the end we realised the track followed all the way up the spine of a very high ridge that peaks up behind whites beach and is one of the highest points surrounding piha – quite a few hundred metres in elevation!

we ended up at anawhata rd above white’s beach and then had a climb all the way down from the peak of the ridge back to the end of north piha beach and home – it took us a good 2 ½ hours. it was breath taking though, so steep – especially down into whites beach, it was pure luck we did the walk really, if we had known how hard a climb it was we would never have set off to do it, but we were both blown away by the scenery and so grateful we got a chance to see it before we left.


the ridge we climbed in the background, we started out of frame on the right

midweek we had another meal with jeremy & leesi, they had been over on waiheke island for a few days and got back late so we told them to come down for a stir fry with us, they came armed with french cheeses and sticky dessert wine to go with! we had the gewürztraminer with the soft goats cheese and pear, and then a nice syrah with the camembert.


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Mar 152015
the track from the bach, beside the creek down to th e beach.

the track from the bach, beside the creek down to the beach.

well we have moved down the hill from jeremy’s bach into our little rental bach on the beach in north piha, its a very basic but comfortable little home, we only have to walk out the backdoor, across the lawn and down a 25m track to be on the beach.

we can see the ocean and lion rock from the house which is pretty special. kai and i have new boogie boards and we are living in the surf, as well as doing lots of walks on the beach.

now that jeremy and leesi are back we have been hanging with them which is really cool – we have had so many good times at home hanging out so to do it here with the is special.

they brought over a fantastic thai chicken salad the other night and we had a huge night that put us all of drinking for ever, well, at least until next time!

the weather has been stunning, lots of blue skys and gentle breezes – although we look set for some unpleasant weather with the remnants of cyclone pam due to swing past, the wind is already coming up.

this weekend sal’s cousin luke, zekiah and lorenzo came over, we had a huge day yesterday, once they got here luke and i did a quick sprint over the ridge and down to white’s beach to grab a feed of mussels off the rocks, the tide was a bit high and the swell was up so it was potentially a setup for an episode of piha surf rescue, but with luke as spotter and me jumping in between the big sets we managed to bag a feed.

the rest of the day was spent lazing around at home or in the surf and by the time we cooked up the mussels in a chilli coconut cream sauce we were all pretty knackered! an ecclectic range of nz boutique beers helped wash away the stresses of the day on the beach and it was just lovely having them over for the weekend, kai & lorenzo are great together and i suspect lorenzo idolises his big cousin!


Jan 042015
whites beach

whites beach

today was a classic summer sunday, warm, sunny and lazy! we pottered around at the bach, sunbaking, cleaning, washing and a little bit of gardening inderspersed with eating and resting while listening to tunes. all very chillaxing.

this afternoon kai wanted to go for a walk so we he and I jumped in the car and drove down to north piha, he beaches were packed at piha, everyman and his dog had jumped in their cars and driven out to piha for a bit of sun ‘n surf, we had the hot tip from jeremy though, head up into the hills and over to white’s beach when its busy in piha!

i can see why its quiet! Its a vertical climb out of the north end of north piha beach and then an even more vertical scramble down the other side into white’s beach – not for the faint hearted! in fact best suited to sure footed mountain goats. jeremy was right though, there were 4 other people there, so it was like a private beach really.

kai and i braved the cold water for a quick body surf and then we discovered the rocks were carpeted with lovely green lip mussels, so we filled our boardy pockets up with a feed of mussels and began the mountain climb, clamber and scramble back to north piha and then dashed home to cook up the mussels.

i decided simplicty was the order of the day, steamed them for a few minutes in water and then ate them with sushi vinegar, soy sauce, chilli, mayonaise, fresh thyme and coriander as a range of dipping condiments! all washed done with a cheeky little sav blanc!

life is sweet!

Jan 022015
nz  012

the view from the summit of mt eden across auckland city

Ok, i am sorry there have been no posts since last year, but nothing much has happened since last year!

today we headed into auckland to see sal’s cousin, luke, his wife,zekiah and their son lorenzo. they live in the shadow of mt eden hence the photo above. kai and lorenzo had a play and i suspect lorenzo was rather taken with his big cousin! i am sure we will spend some more time with them over the next few months.

we popped down to a little cafe in mt eden for lunch after our visit and went to a place called ‘the garden shed’, the food was nice, but the garden was amazing!

we went for a lovely walk to kitekite falls on new years day, its a walk through kauri forest and ferns that winds its way up from basically the center of piha to the falls at the top of the surrounding hills. there are lots of walking tracks up here and we are only just starting to explore them.

meanwhile i have been enjoying the fresh produce and cooking up a few storms, we got some lovely salmon fillets which i pan fried and served on a bed of fresh parsley and rocket from the garden and a caramelised fennel side, with local asparagus, roasted potato and garlic chips.

today we picked up enough mussels for sal and I and i cooked them in coconut cream with ginger, garlic, onion, chilli and coriander – $2.50 worth of mussels and it was sublime.