After the Beachlands Excursion, Marianne Sam and I walked up around One Tree Hill. Stunning place, all the way up and down. Check it out:
At the moment it is actually No Tree Hill, as the tree was removed in 2002, I think. There is a monument at the top dedicated to the Maori people who, at the time were thought to be going extinct (today, 1/7 of New Zealand's population is Maori). The sheep belong to farmers who rent the land from the city which works out well for both since the hilly, terraced terrain once used as storerooms and houses by the Maori are terribly hard to mow.
And here is a picture of a gigantic tree. Good lord, was it gigantic.
As if that wasn't enough scenery for one day, we all took a trip to Terry and Marianne's beach property at Langs Beach, about an hour and a half up the coast to the northwest of Auckland, on the northside. On a map, you'd find it close to Waipu, which has an astounding history of its own. Scots who chose to leave their homelands in the late 1810s travelled to Nova Scotia to escape British persecution. After 30 years of hard work to establish a colony there, the potato blight hit in 1848 prompting them to leave and head for Australia on the reports of land and work. They arrived in the middle of a gold rush and thousands of other immigrants. So they kept going, eventually making it to Auckland and then further up at Waipu. Great museum with all this there. Anyway, here's the view from the porch at the beach house:
Another view, this one of a nearby creek and Hen island, I think.
Stay tuned for the exciting report of sea kayak fishing and subsequent dinner!