As predicted, our trip to the Coromandel didn’t bring us the satisfaction of seeing much pohutukawa in flower. Too late last time, too early this time, we looked at landscapes, at hills covered in green pohutukawa trees with the occasional teasing splash of red, and said, “won’t that be beautiful when it is all in bloom,” bringing back memories of our search for sunflowers in Italy!
It was a good lesson in appreciating what we had in front of us, and so we enjoyed the abundant tree ferns, flowering flax, and cabbage trees, and even a few sculptural nikau palms – all so uniquely New Zealand. The water was still far too cold to swim (except for a few hardy souls – not me), but we took a boat trip and enjoyed the marine reserve around Whitianga, the huge snapper swimming through the deep, clear, cold waters, and the gorgeous coastline. We saw cliffs made from lava formations, and further north the remnants of ash clouds from eruptions millions of years ago, and everywhere (including Mt Paku where we stayed) there were volcanic cones, reminding us of how this landscape was formed. We enjoyed, too, the slightly unkempt nature of the farmland up in the Coromandel – small properties, old wooden farmhouses, wildflowers everywhere, and more beehives than I’ve seen in ages, producing the famous honey from the manuka trees.
We didn’t give ourselves enough time to relax and enjoy the views from our apartment on Mt Paku, to read the books I had optimistically loaded on my iPad, or even to catch up on sleep, but it is rare (for me at least) to feel that a holiday is ever long enough, and so there is always a good reason to return.