© 2020, The McGees

Paris, Monte Carlo, Bay of Islands, Abbey Road

July 19, 2019

And EMMA!

Life IS good here in Kerikeri (pronounced keeri-keeri by the locals)! Between Paris and Monte, the dogs, and Emma, the daughter, we are busy.

Paris may be little, but she definitely rules the roost from Pride Rock and keeps goofy puppy Monte in line. We have settled into our daily walk routine in this beautiful neighborhood and have learned how to manage the dogs on the property boundaries. When we return home from various outings, the greeting from Paris and Monte is so sweet it begs the joy of knowing a pet no matter where you are in the world. Emma has been dog deprived for too long and is getting a full happy dose here in New Zealand.

We take a lesser known hike to the north on the Mahinepua peninsula. The Maori lived in this area long before the Europeans settled in New Zealand. Archaeologists have found evidence of gardening, storage pits and pa (village / hill fort) sites here. The quiet bays offered safe waters for fishing and storing canoes. Our rewards walking this historical area include views of clear blue coves, rocky ocean shores and lots of stairs! Emma cannot help but exclaim about the incredible beauty at every turn. We agree as, after 4 months here, we continue to be in awe.

Another activity enjoyed with Emma is dinner at the local theater cafe followed by a viewing of “Yesterday” about the Beatles. So it seems quite appropriate that, the next day, we head to Abbey Road and the Abbey Caves to the south. Here we are wowed by incredible limestone outcroppings and lush forest. We explore among the rocks feeling like they could come to life in a “Lord of the Rings” sort of way at any moment. The area features 3 caves, and Emma and I descend deep into one of them - until I get that claustrophobic feeling and refuse to go further. So, we turn off our headlamps, look around, and see a constellation of glow worms - little bright blue lights - actually the bioluminescent tails of carnivorous gnat larvae.

Life IS good!

Big smiles in New Zealand with Emma

Don't even think about it!

Nap time for puppy Monte

Neighborhood walks - rain or shine

Wet pups

A kiss from Paris

The neighborhood creek

Puppy time for Emma

Mahinepua beach from where we start our peninsula hike

Crystal blue Mahinepua Bay

Tim with the South Pacific Ocean behind him

Beautiful remnant of the past

Emma hiking along near the site of a Maori pa

Stairs up

Trig station (physical reference point used for navigation) at the end of the peninsula

Stairs back down

Lush forest near Abbey Caves

Tree epiphytes - fern? bromeliad? orchid?

Tim near the entrance to one of the caves - appropriately named Organ Cave

Emma amidst the mossy limestone outcroppings

Seeing faces in the rocks

Seeing faces in the rocks!

Peering into Middle Cave

Descending into Ivy Cave after Emma

Headlamps required

Inside the cave

Lots of flowing water

Glow worm constellation - you had to be there!

Written by Julie and Tim McGee who live in Sonoma, California, USA and frequently elsewhere...