Exploring New Plymouth – Part 2

The morning is spent eating birthday cake over cups of tea and chats. What a great way to start the day. The weather forecast isn’t looking too great for today or the rest of the trip, but it’s not raining yet, so we head out for a walk. Dad wants to do the Te Henui Walkway so that’s where we head.

The start of the walk is where the river mouth meets the sea. I get out of the car and am blasted with a cold, icy wind. I’m thinking to myself, ‘Who’s idea was this? It’s so cold, what an unpleasant walk this will be’

We spend the first few minutes in the playground, with young and old having a go on the digger!

But it’s too cold to sit around so we start walking. It’s a nice setting, but the weather is not making it very enjoyable at all! However, after about 5 minutes, we turn a corner and the wind disappears and completely transforms the walk. I am not hating it anymore, it’s actually rather nice. It’s an easy flat walk and I enjoy looking at the layers in the forest. The tall towering trees, right down to the ground cover ferns and seedlings. Moss covers the bare branches and vines drape across the trees. It’s such a fascinating eco system.

Daniel and I are walking much faster than the rest of the party, we are quite far ahead, but Lachie is on his bike and catches up in no time. The flat terrain makes it a great place for riding bikes. The walk twists and turns, but sticks to the river, we walk under several bridges and then arrive at one we need to walk over. While we wait for the others to catch up, we decide to have a few games of pooh sticks. Lachie selects his stick, I use a large, dried leaf and of course, Uncle Daniel decides to use a massive log that he’s found, it’s at least as tall as him. Lachie’s stick unfortunately sinks, my leaf gets caught up in Daniel’s log, and Daniel declares himself the winner. I love the joy that can be found in such a simple activity.

Daniel and I have lunch at The Backyard Cafe and take a look around the shops before heading back home. We spend the rest of the afternoon eating birthday cake, drinking tea and taking a dip in the spa.

One of my goals for the year is to watch some sunrises and sunsets. So, whenever I am on the East or West coast, I am making an effort to do this. And since New Plymouth is on the West Coast, despite the weather, I am down at the beach to watch the sun go down. It’s pretty overcast, but there is a break in the clouds and golden hues are pouring through it. The tide is low, which has exposed a sandy part of the beach. The colours from this patch of gold are reflecting in the wet sand. It’s not your traditional sunset, but it’s beautiful. I also note the vastness of the ocean.

Looking out to sea, all there is is ocean and sky. In Wellington, we are in an enclosed harbour. The view I am so use to seeing always has land at the other side of the ocean. Its a simple, beautiful reminder of how small we are in this big awesome world.

The next day is wet, wild and the last full day of our holiday. Daniel is keen to go to the Len Lye Art Gallery so we head there, while the rest of the family go to the local museum. Both great rainy day activities. To be honest, art galleries aren’t really my thing, but it’s still interesting. I like the tall ceiling entrance way and there are some interesting kinetic metal sculptures which we sit and watch/listen to for a while.

We have lunch across the road at The Public Catering Company I am delighted to find they make doughnuts and their filled focaccia is pretty good too, I highly recommend you check out this place! After lunch, Daniel spends up large at the record shop and I take a wander down the street looking in the home ware and plant stores. They have some really nice shops here.

We meet up with the rest of the family and head to Bowlarama for some glow in the dark mini golf and arcade games before heading back home for more birthday cake and boardgames.

Reflecting on this trip, a lot of the things we did, we could have done at home. We didn’t do or see much that was particularly Taranaki, but having those 4 nights away with the family, being able to spend quality time with my niece and nephew was so special. They are growing up so fast and I am grateful that I get to spend the time with them.

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