Jan 24 - Gardens
24th January, 2010 - our first wedding anniversary! Time flies when you're having fun, and we'd certainly been busy little travel beavers, so what better way to celebrate than to embark on yet another little road trip. First, on our way out of town we made time to actually stop in at the Auckland Botanic Gardens, rather than driving on fast to get to destinations beyond like normal. They were currently hosting a sculpture competition, with entrants dotted about a walk that covered most of the Gardens' attractions - though admittedly many were completely lost to us, some were fantastic in their design, concept, or construction - and within their rose gardens we came upon a couple of faintly familiar blossoms!
Next destination, I had hoped, was to be Hampton Downs raceway, where there was an exhibition of exotic racers of many origins, but primarily oriented around a selection of historic Bruce McLaren racers. Unfortunately by the time we were going past it was rather full up, and we weren't too keen to bother about the hassles of parking and entry, so fell back on the backup plan and steamed on south-west out to Raglan, the closest beach to Hamilton and one I'd heard mention of many times. Quite an interesting place, with both an extensive beach with reasonable surf, as well as a calm harbour that would make for a brilliant kayaking trip.
Northward bound again, we took a short-cut through the North-West reaches of the Waikato district, taking some charming country roads, steadily finding our way to the road through Limestone Downs, a small community amidst spectacular limestone-based hills, which over time have taken on all assortments of shapes influenced by the flow of wind and water. One noteable inclusion to these is the formation now popularly recognized as Weathertop, base for the watchtower of Amon Sul in Peter Jackson's adaption of Fellowship of the Ring. Then, finally, as we were starting to become fed up with the quality of the gravel roads thereabouts, we emerged from the hills at the mouth of the mighty Waikato River, the country's largest. There we treated ourselves to a fish and chip dinner, had a clamber about the rock pools, and finally played cards in the car until such time as we could enjoy the sunset over the ocean.
All together now: Awwwww =) Here's to many more years to come!