I have been absolutely awe-struck by the natural beauty in New Zealand. One of my favourite scenes is either the sunrise or the sunset. Both are just miraculous. Amazing that it happens every single day, and that each day it is breathtaking! The sunrise is the hardest to see as it requires being out of bed and out of the house before 6am. However, I was feeling very ambitious and somehow that rubbed off on Luke and yesterday we set our alarms for 5am! It's helpful that in our current home we are simply steps away from the beach, so we took advantage of that. With our beach blanket in hand and sleepy, groggy faces on, we flippy floppied over to the beach and settled in. Wow... was it ever worth it! I was simply flabbergasted! (that one's for you Dad, heehee). Enjoy the photos Luke took!
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Walking to the beach
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The amazing sky
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Just unbelievable
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Here comes the sunshine! Look at that reflection!
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The most amazing golden yellow
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A truly blissful moment
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I wanted to play!
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Breathtaking
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Mezmerizing!
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Just a sunrise beach walk...how romantic
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W.O.W

xoxo
Sweet Dea

 
 
When the usually sunny and warm Mount Maunganui gets hit with a blustery, windy, cold and very rainy day, what do the two kids from Victoria, Canada do to entertain themselves? Go for a rainy, windy trek to the point closest to the massive rolling waves of course! 

Moturiki Island has been a point of interest for Luke and I since we moved here two months ago, and yet, we had yet to adventure out to it. It is the beautiful"island" just down from Mount Maunganui main beach, a very popular spot for travelers and tourists to explore. I guess we figured since we're now locals, we'd wait for the perfect opportunity to trek out and see what Moturiki has to offer. Clearly we waited until the rainiest and windiest of all days to explore it! 
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Moturiki Island from the Mount Maunganui Summit (on a sunny day)
The trek out was lovely, a very easy stroll along a well-kept path with beautiful natural scenery. We were lucky that parts of it were sheltered from the wind, as once we got out to the tip, closest to the big waves, we had to stay low and step very carefully to avoid being blown into the ocean! 
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The fantastic scenery on our trek on Moturiki Island
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Having a spot of coffee at the tip of the island, a safe distance from the crashing waves
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Luke demonstrating the strength of the wind
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Mount Maunganui from the tip of Moturiki Island
The best part of the entire trek was, it made us appreciate the weather instead of complain about it! Sometimes the only thing you need when the wind is blowing and the rain is pelting down is to step outside, geared up in appropriate attire, and just experience the weather. You'd be surprised by how much you can laugh while being blown around, laugh while trying to see through a torrential downpour and become awestruck by the colossal power of the waves!
 
 

Mount Maunganui
My New City

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View from the top of Mount Maunganui
And I live about 4 blocks from the beach. 
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Our Backyard
New Zealand, you've outdone yourself! 
 
 
The sun was shining, the rain had stopped. It was a glorious new morning as Luke and I enjoyed a cup of coffee in Ahipara, the first town bordering 90 Mile Beach. Neither of us felt like eating our cereal for breakfast (not the cereal's fault, although I'm sure that it's pretty stale after two weeks of wwoofing, but I had been too lazy to put our milk in the fridge the night before) but we knew that we had a big day ahead of us. We drove to the teeny tiny petrol station and browsed our options. Final decision: $3 cheapest loaf of bread, $3 tub of peanut butter, a $2 steak and cheese pie(yum), a $1 bag of gummy candies and $50 of petrol (which really gives you next to zero gas due to the massively inflated petrol prices..but.. when in New Zealand...) Breakfast of Champions! As we happily nibbled away at our warm steak and cheese pie at 9:30am, Luke drove us to the drive-on entrance to 90 Mile Beach. We had found this entrance late the night before (late being 6:30pm... it gets dark early) and when Luke saw the tire tracks on the sand, he happily reverted back 10 years! A very giddy young boy, enthused by the prospect of driving on the beach. Now, I was the first one to point out that we had an old Toyota Camry, not exactly Luke's F-150 from home. Nor a Jeep - beep beep. And the sand was quite deep and soft. So, out of the car we go, walking through the sand to determine if we can make it. Being a little city girl who seems to often find herself in the company of non-city kids, I am well-versed in the art of asking probing questions instead of actually adding any useful information to the situation. Example: Luke says, "Pretty sure if we drive in these tracks that have already been made, we'll make it." My response, "Are you suuuuure Luke?" aka, just making him reassure himself that it's a good idea and he actually believes it could work.
Back in the car, seat belts on (safety first!!), decision made, we might as well give it a try! ZOOM - and we're on the beach, driving!! The little Camry really made it onto the beach! Woohoo!! Luke was in HEAVEN, zooming along, steering like a madman, or no steering at all... nothing in front of us but sweet sweet freedom.
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Can Camry make it on? I'mmm not sure!
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"I'M DRIVING ON THE BEACH!!! WOOOHOOO"
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Yup! Sure Can! Just driving in the ocean..NBD
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I LOVE BEACH!
Being that the name of the beach is 90 Mile Beach, and after a brief glance at the map, we decided to drive the whole 90 miles on the beach instead of the highway... clearly much more enjoyable scenery! We were already headed that direction anyway! Life just seemed to fall into place. So along we went, zoom zoom, "woohoo", munch munch on gummy candies, life was good! After about an hour of driving, we figured we should be getting somewhat close to the end of the beach. I was quite happy about this as I had been a very good co-pilot and had paid diligent attention to the continuously closer and closer incoming tide. As it made its way in and began to cover some of the tire tracks we had previously been following, I would comment to Luke, attempting to hide my true scared feelings. I mentioned that we should maybe keep an eye out for a way off the beach, and so we did. But funny thing, there didn't seem to be any... hmmmm