Our New Home

Woohoo we have a temporary home in Whangarei (pronounced fan-ga-rei) Heads. Whangarei Heads is located about three hours north of Auckland in Northland.

Aunt Judy commented on a previous post about having anxiety attacks. I think this is a good time to mention that finding a place to settle wasn’t easy. I was so proud of myself going into this trip, because I decided not to worry over planning and just figure it out along the way. We had our plan for Mexico/Central America, and look how that worked out for us. So, I was going to save myself the pre-trip stress. That idea worked great for the weeks leading up to the trip, but as soon as we started researching long-term accommodations, my stress-free plan fell apart. I panicked. I flipped out. There was not a minute that I wasn’t worrying. I was more stressed than I’ve ever been, and I am now the proud owner of multiple gray hairs. I’ve never had gray hair before. Ben, worried I would implode and take us both out, took over the planning of the rest of the trip. It was a sweet gesture, and I’m pretty sure it’s the only reason I’m still sane. Thank you, Ben. He decided Whangarei was a good base location to explore the rest of the North Island, so that’s how we ended up here.

We arrived at the studio apartment with groceries in hand. “Does the place look okay to you?” the owner asked. “Yep, sure does. Can we go ahead and move in?” Ben replied. We were more than ready to have our own place and cook our own meals.

The view from the patio is gorgeous. We can see a bay to one side…

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

…and Mt. Manaia on the other side…

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

It didn’t take us long to get settled, so we took a little drive around the bay. A few minutes away there is a great surfing beach called Ocean Beach.

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

We’ve already visited it several times. Sometimes we hike (more on that later)…

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

…sometimes Ben snorkels, and sometimes we just enjoy the weather and lie on the beach.

A short walk around McLeod Bay (the bay where the house is located), leads to the Reotahi Marine Reserve.

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

Ben took his snorkel gear, and was ready to snorkel right away.

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

Man, what I would give to have a video of him snorkeling that day. I was keeping an eye on him when I noticed him swimming straight for a seagull in the water. I assumed he knew the bird was there and wanted to check it out. He was a couple of feet away from it when it decided to take flight. Turns out, Ben never saw the seagull before he approached it. When the bird splashed, Ben jumped straight out of the water, looking around in a panic. It was funny at the time – especially since Ben is hardly ever startled – but I’m sure it wasn’t funny for him. He said he was certain that he was about to be attacked by a shark.

The city of Whangarei has a farmer’s market on Saturdays. Here, a farmer’s market is called a grower’s market. It makes sense, but it’s also cracks me up. It sounds to me like a market for certain plants you probably wouldn’t be selling in public. Anyway, the most exotic food item we found was a yellow watermelon…

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

I was so excited about the discovery until my brother informed me that he grew yellow watermelons in Georgia one summer. Oh well, new to us, and it was delicious!

Since the grower’s market, we have also tried gold kiwis (described as tasting like a kiwi with honey – I think it tastes more like a kiwi mixed with a melon) and feijoas (described as tasting like a combination between a pineapple and guava – I’m still undecided).

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

After the grower’s market, we took a walk around the pier. Ben has a new interest in sailing, and he’s fascinated by the boats.

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

There were camouflaged ducks along the walk…

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

…and an awesome playground! All the equipment is boat-related, and it’s more extreme than any playground I’ve seen at home.

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

There was also a huge chalkboard in the center of a parking lot…

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

This chalkboard is a great idea! It’s double-sided, there’s plenty of chalk, and it gives people a change to express themselves. It gets washed clean with every rain, so there’s always room to write.

On the way back to our new place, we stopped at the local pub, Parua Bay Tavern. The view from the tavern deck was magnificent…

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

…Ben had a meat lovers’ pizza, and I had a seafood pizza – a first for me.

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

It was interesting, to say the least, and the flavors worked: shrimp, scallops, crab and mussels in a garlic butter sauce. I’ll have to remember that combo the next time we have pizza night at home.

Based on the first couple of days, I think Ben picked a good place for us to stay the next few weeks. There’s plenty to do, and every turn of the road offers a different, equally gorgeous view of the water.

Whangarei Heads, New Zealand

4 thoughts on “Our New Home

  1. Gramma

    Wish we were there.Temp in the high thirties again tonight. SLeeping in socks again. Sounds like you are having a great vacation. Will be glad when you get back to Dalton. The scenery is gorgeous. Love you. See you soon.

    1. Tara Post author

      Oh no! Hopefully, the Indiana weather will warm up soon! It’s actually starting to get chilly here, so we’re almost ready for the warm Georgia weather!

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