We escaped Auckland for the Anniversary Weekend with a trip up to Waipu Cove. Pretty nice weather, hot as, with water temperature around 22 °C so we spent most of it in the surf.
The kids had a ball riding boogie boards and body surfing, burying themselves in sand etc, and I had a blast learning to catch waves on the paddleboard. It's exhausting work with lots of uncoordinated failed attempts (very funny to onlookers apparently), but pretty damn nice when you get it right and actually hook up on a swell!
My sketches were done laying exhausted on the beach while I recovered from the surf. I'm enjoying the Moleskine landscape watercolour book that we received from the Singapore Symposium sponsors, really nice to sketch in, but the textured watercolour paper seems to confuse my scanner - I think it prefers cheap smooth sketchbook pages.
The Elms is apparently the Bay of Plenty's oldest European residence. I've always wanted to visit the place but I don't think it was open to the public back when I was growing up in the bay. It's situated on what would have been a beautiful harbours edge, these days it's an isolated patch of green bordered by reclaimed land of the Port of Tauranga and the busy harbour bridge onramp. I think the original owners would be pretty shocked!
It's still worth a visit though. They do an interesting tour explaining the mission history, family history and their part in early Tauranga. The house reminded me a little of the Treaty House at Waitangi, both constructed around 1834. Check out their website for some more background.
We spread out on the front lawn in the shade and sketched, enjoying the break from the sun. The garden has some impressive old specimens of both native and introduced trees. On the right of the sketch you can see an enormous Queensland Bunya Bunya tree. Looking like a super spikey Norfolk Pine (or a Chilean Monkey Puzzle tree)with enormous spikey pine cones — you wouldn't want to stand under it.
This ones from a few days after my previous post. The Bay was soaked by a cyclone that put an end to the beach days for a while! This is sketched from the top of the Mount Drury with my back to Main Beach overlooking the town, Pilot Bay, over the Tauranga Harbour to Matakana Island, Tauranga and the Kaimai Ranges. That's a half shrouded Mount Maunganui (Mauao) on the right.
We've had some pretty average weather this last week! Here are some beach scenes from the days before cyclone Ula hit. This is Pilot Bay, Mt Maunganui on the 26th and 27th – a pretty action packed scene with paddlers, yachties, swimmers, a big cruiseliner in port and views right across to Tauranga and the Kaimai ranges.
This years Christmas lunch was an interesting combination of classic kiwi and international fare.
Of course the classic turkey for main with the global flavours coming in later with the Christmas classic - trifle, to Nick's kiwi classic - Pavlova, then Tiramisu (an Italian classic?) and Christine's (visiting from Germany) Bavarian Cream.