Forty two bends along Owhiwa Road in Whangarei sits a little bit of heaven in the form of Eden House, where we are currently staying with our lovely hosts, Jane and Mike. But before we talk about our current whereabouts we must retrace our journey along Highway One back to Auckland and the arrival of Pat (Mummy Barnes) to Kiwi Land. You can do this in your mind using any form of transport you wish - may I suggest a piggyback ride on Harold Bishop from Neighbours.
Pat arrived on the 9.40am flight from Seoul and was immediately delighted by our home-made banners: 'Welcome to New Zealand Mummy' and 'Who's Feeding Mr.Fluff?'. Victoria and I were immediately delighted by Pat's motherly inquest into our poor financial state and nutritional ignorance. After picking up our rental car (our backs are still hurting) we drove into city to show Pat the Auckland Central Backpackers building where she upgraded to a Luxury room, which has a friendlier class of cockroach and door that has both an open and close function. Lunch at Auckland Quay gave Victoria and her Mum chance to catch up on all the gossip from home whilst I stared into the distance and compiled my list of 101 things to do with a pair of rubber breasts. We then ascended the famous Skytower - the tallest building in the Souther Hemisphere - for some breathtaking views of the city and it's surrounding islands; it was also fun pointing out all of the five star hotels that Pat could have stayed in. The Skytower was a slight anti-climax for me and Victoria as a day earlier we had made the coach trip up to Auckland from Napier and stopped over at the Taupo Superloo...winner New Zealand's Best Public Toilet 1995...they had a plaque and everything. That evening we left Pat in her luxury bed to be massaged to sleep by the throbbing of the Globe nightclub below.
The next day was road trip day as we set off northbound from Auckland to Whangarei, a journey that turned out very tiring for all of us; Pat due to the jet lag and me and Victoria because we were actually going somewhere. As we approached Eden House, a beautiful homestay buliding being looked after by Jane and Mike, we saw Mike himself cycling up the steep Owhiwa Road and sweaty in all the wrong places. The house is fantastic, set amongst rolling hills filled with New Zealand bush overlooking pristine bays.It is perfectly decorated with wooden floors and four post beds; it even runs the Auckland Central Backpackers close in terms of comfort and cleanliness. We were welcomed with open arms and open wine bottles.
Jane and Mike took us on a tour of Patau Beach today, which is covered with millions of shells...i think Victoria managed to leave a few of them there. The sheer majesty of the Northern area led to singing fits from Pat and the beauty of Jane's egg sandwiches led to the same from Victoria. In the afternoon as the ladies gossiped Mike decided to try and kill me with a spot of mountain biking. Mike has been throwing himself sown hiils on two wheels since he was my age (he's a retired BA Pilot if that shows his age), unfortunately, I have only been mountain biking since I was my age too. I came out of the forested trail looking like I'd been scrumming with the All blacks. I went into the bush with Mike and came out with a curious rash (I think I may be allergic to some of the bushes I used as crash mats).
With all the walking and fresh air today I think Jane and Mike were secretly trying to tire us out so we'd be asleep before their first ever guests to the B&B arrived. But they should know that you can't defeat a Barnes, especially when there's so much wine being served at dinner.
All in all, Pat's happy, Victoria's happy and I'm slighlty bruised.
More adventure awaits (as long as it's not walking or mountain biking)