It’s a day in the trenches trying to gain traction.
The best thing about the day is the start. With Paul, a walk and day dream watching the best surf in the world at Snapper Rocks. Uplifting and only surpassed by a passing rainbow which almost immediately lifts any doubt I have that we, the human species, won’t survive this.
Then I work… trying new things, knowing there is a solution of sorts. Not sure what…
For the first time I use the words “ I am out of work”. It’s almost an oxymoron when you work for yourself because you leave “work” to work/generate income for yourself with added meaning, control and passion/fun. All of which I had experienced in the 19 years I have been in business. With a massive pinch of stress, personal growth and turmoil.
So to say “I’m roasted” was acknowledging a failure of sorts
I’ve been waking each day remarkable robust and happy. Happy to wake each day beside Paul, checking on the kids and knowing, somehow in my heart of hearts life will be ok.
HOWEVER something in me said look forward. Be that shining light. Do something positive. So I decided to write an eBook about everything I knew about Covid-19.
I thought it would take a day. It took 2 days but was up running on Amazon, my website and I did a face book live around it. I might not have the solution for COVID-19 but I felt at least I was contributing to the fight against it.
I woke to the news like a domino series, that the World Surf Pro at Coolangatta was cancelling. Shock to start with but as the day went on and more festivals and events peeled back I realised this was serious.
Synonomous with healthy eating, beach side dining and long standing awards and reputation is Coolangatta’s Japanese favourite, OSushi.
Whilst this restaurant has a sushi train it is far from just a sushi joint. The place has an extensive hot menu too offering many styles of Japanese dining, including the popular poke bowls, udon noodle bowls, sashimi and other styles.
The layout is simple and welcoming. The happy bustling staff make your experience memorable as well as high quality food.
Position opposite the main beach at Coolangatta beside the Cooly pub it draws a diverse crowd. Lunch time vacay goers can stagger off the beach, and score a great snack. Night time diners can have a myriad of choice. Either dining at the sushi train or sitting outside with the sea breeze gently cooling the evening.
On this night we have kingfish cerviche. The fish is fresh and the tastes infuse well on my palette.
For mains we share a sashimi platter with comes with seaweed salad. I look sashimi and the salmon is buttery and fresh.
The best thing about this restaurant aside from the great food, friendly staff and ideal location, is that is serves a variety of alcoholic beverages at reasonable prices.
Overlooking the charming area and suburbs of Devonport it Mt Victoria. Set up as a battalion base in the wars it now serves as one of the best, unadulterated views of Auckland.
The Signalman’s House is on the way up and truly breath taking. For it’s colonial style, it’s obvious connection to yesterday and it’s current purpose of offering writers a retreat. Being a writer I am totally in-love with the idea of a haven. A place to write whilst being frivolous and overlooking the harbour.
You can’t drive all the way to the summit any more but you can walk, hike or stroll. Ie foot is the only way. Up the top you will be greeted by sweeping views to the east, north and west. To the south you have iconic views of Auckland although you need to veer past a few trees.
You can have a picnic on the old forts, while watching the clouds jump and jive overhead.
Or you can share a chit chat with an old mate reminencising over times of old … waxing lyrically about childhood while your feet dangle over the edge of the old fortress.
Exploring is lot of fun which is what makes this the perfect afternoon trip for a family or lovers or solo travellers.
2. Visit the Devonport library
Well blow me down, I have visited many libraries around the world but this library is amazing.
Aside from being an architectural designer master piece it offers peace.
Peace and an open air outlook over one of the most amazing bays in the world.
It’s inspiring and has all the literature greats at your finger tips… all for free… waiting to be indulged.
I whittle away a few lustful moments reading the local rag and absorbing the view.
Whilst not a “tourist” attraction I sincerely hope you visit this space. Especially if you have never been to a library before!
3. Walk along the foreshore
This is one of the oldest, loveliest foreshore walks in New Zealand.
Beautiful trees, spaces, play grounds, picnic areas and Elizabeth House, make this a beautiful lazy afternoon walk.
Grab a photo with your family – a real keep-stakes as the back ground of the azure waters of the harbour and the sky line of Auckland subside away. Truly beautiful.
4. Lunch at the Esplanade Hotel
The Esplanade Hotel is such an iconic landmark. Built in 1857 the interior is everything you would expect from a timeless building.
We rock up on a Sunday and have the bowl of mussels done in white wine garlic and cream. Yes you guessed it! Something I will travel back for again and again and again. Especially at the end of the pier if the ferry from Auckland. It the perfect romantic escape and boys… it has a fire side!
5.Visit an art gallery
Despite everyone assuming art is for the rich or eccentric art is an expression. There are many art galleries in davenport and all worth a Casual wander through. There are too many to name and in my personal (artist) opinion, sometimes it is better to waltz through art galleries than it is to visit one. See where your heart takes you.
It’s a typical Auckland winter’s spring day – cold, wind, rain, sun!
All the seasons every hour.
We head off to explore west of Auckland and the local wineries.
There is a lot to see and some really good wines, some lovely experiences, including the historic The Riverhead and the west coast of NZ.
The Riverhead is a restaurant location dating back to the 1850s.
Beautifully preserved it buildings and location offer a warm vibe.
The pub is great for a NZ wine, craft beer and game of pool. A fire side welcomes everyone, the staff are friendly and their is plenty of space and low noise so you can chat. You can sit outside with their warm heaters in winter so many options.
The restaurant has a very good reputation but we felt it feel a little short of it’s price and reputation. The staff weren’t the best and the food whilst restaurant standard wasn’t abundant. We gave it a 4/5.
I lovely little winery near Kumea. Worth a stop over and as the lady says their “chardonnay is the stilettos of wines”.
Hunting Lodge winery
I really like this winery – open, classy and two price levels of wines. Really good food and friendly staff. I highly rate Hunting Lodge.
The wines are great and there are two eating options – casual (perfect for families and kids) or the five star restaurant.
This is an absolute must. Only 45 minutes from Auckland the coastline is radically different to the east coast.
Wild and rough and some how exhilarating. The sand is speculedwith dark ebony sand and cobalt blue. I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else in the world. It’s an artists haven.
Follow the beach around the cliff and you will discover something really amazing. It is a gull colony and it truly breath taking. While watching birds navigate their landings, I felt like I was in a David Attenborough show. Amazing.
Perched about 20 minutes via car from the ferry at Waiheke is Stonyridge Vineyard. It is a magnificent looking vineyard and in summer boasts a vine wrapping all around the main building. It reminds me of a vineyard I once visited in Corsica.
I have been here before so going back was for the wine and ambiance.
What we discovered is that most vineyards on Waiheke charge (what I would call, a small fortune) to do a taste sampling. Some charge $10 for 3, others $15 for 3 premium. Guard your wallet because whilst they are guarding their cellar door so you don’t drink down their vats for free, you will be paying quite a lot more for the privilege of drinking a Waiheke grown wine.
On this day we are very fortunate to have Nathan as our bar tasting man. Entertaining and a whizz at wines we learn a lot about the local wines as well as New Zealand wines.
The wines here, like everywhere else on Waiheke, are expensive. But you have to expect it… don’t be surprised.
After sampling some wines we settle on a nice crisp Riesling and venture into the restaurant for lunch. In summer the outdoor area pumps. It’s referred to as the yoga deck which is kinda suitable as it has views spanning over the vineyard and to be honest I don’t know if they do yoga there or not, but it would be a perfect venue.
The restaurant is fine. Vineyard style, with a good menu but rich prices. We chose to share two entrees and a main.
Our entrees prawns and fish cerviche are good and our main is rib eye fillet, with mashed and jus.
We love our food so don’t want to put it down but it feel short somehow. As I type I feel bad writing. It was OK – to great but just not spectacular.
Obviously it is better than cafe food and a pub meal but when you pay $44 for steak I think one should expect 6 star.
I would give the experience this time 3.5/5. The food 4/10, the wine tasting with Nathan 5/5 but the service unfortunately only 3/5.
Coming back from the airport and eager to eat we stop into the very popular and funky suburb of Auckland called Ponsoby.
Right on the fringe of the CBD this food and inner city precinct has a great vibe.
There are many restaurants, cafes and designer shops to explore. It is late at night and city traffic is hectic so we go straight to the Collective. Here you will find many styles and types of eateries.