Day 47 (18 of writing) – Monday 17 April 2023 @ 5.30 am
We took a trip down to Waihi Beach to stay at Neil’s bach this past weekend. I think Neil and Sharyn have owned there bach for around 3 years now, and this is the first time we have made it there with Mitchell to stay a night. I have been on my own, and we have been with Holly, but this will be Mitchell’s first overnight there.
Waihi is about 1.5 hours from home and an easy drive, which includes the lovely Karangaheke Gorge. I have shared this area before when we have visited enroute to Waihi or Tauranga. We set off on Friday afternoon, waiting for Mitchell and his carer who had worked Thursday night to wake. Our initial intention was to stop at Hamilton Gardens or Zealong Tea enroute but as we were a bit later, it just came down to a quick late lunch stop. We aimed for the Woodturners cafe just before Ngatea, to find it was closed, so diverted back to the Native Palm Cafe, to try somewhere new. This was an interesting cafe – with a large outdoor courtyard for eating, and an eclectic indoor area. It has become so popular to decorate using retro and mismatched items now, that it almost feels common. The staff were very friendly and we ordered off the menu, a toastie, bacon and egg muffin and an eggs benni. Mitchell had a big slice of cheesecake. It was all pretty average fare, but we did get a free chocolate milkshake as they had made an extra and offered it to our table.
We got into Waihi beach late afternoon and after unpacking took a walk to the beach. The weather was really windy and quite cold, but it was good to get the salt air in our lungs. The tide was out and the beach had a lot more shells than usual due to the windy weather we have been having.
We did a short drive after this to pick up some fish and chips, and show Claire the other end of Waihi Beach before settling in the for the evening. Mitchell had been good in the car, but didn’t settle well and Claire woke us up around 1.30 am as Mitchell was playing up. He settled for me about 2.15 am, but of course next day was difficult to wake up!
Saturday afternoon (once we could raise Mitch) we went on the vintage train that operates between Waihi and Waikino – known as the Goldfields Railway. I have done this previously with Mitch and Holly when they were young, but Mitchell still seemed excited about the train ride. The train ride is about 30 minutes each way, and passes through countryside and by the Gorge. Mitchell is most excited when he is feeling the fresh air and wind in this face, as you can see in the first pic. The interior of the train is original style in one cab and been modernised in the other.
After the train ride we went to the Gold Mine lookout. Gold was first discovered in the 1800s in Waihi and mined underground in the first half of the 1900s. We visited the mine pit and took a short walk around the area. There is a 4 km track around the Mine, but the weather was still really windy with the odd shower.
It was tricky to capture the scale of the mine, and Mitchell was not very interested in standing for a photo. Phil, however, watches a couple of programmes on mining and is quite fascinated by the process and I am sure would love to strike gold one day. 🙂 We then took a detour to the Bowentown lookout which gave us an expansive view. The weather didn’t highlight the area, it was pretty dark and gloomy, but what a spectacular beach. My photos do not do it justice.
After that, it was home to light up the pizza oven. Phil made a nice fire and we cooked 3 pizzas outside, but ate inside due to weather once again. The forecast was for sun, but the forecast was very wrong!
Another long night ahead, but Mitchell did get to sleep at 11 pm. Claire took on the 3 am to 7 am hours, giving us some sleep time in the middle of the night. A bit of a novelty. Phil stayed up until 2 am, then tagged me for an hour, then I got back up at 7 am. There is no quality solid 8 hour sleep pattern to be had at the moment.
On our way home we stopped at the Hamilton Gardens. This was our first time to visit in Autumn and the foliage had not quite turned, so wasn’t as beautiful as we hoped. As Mitch had slept late we could only manage about one hour there, but we had a quick look at a few of the gardens – Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Tudor, Surrealist and the Katherine Mansfield garden. We are saving up the new Egyptian garden for when we have Holly with us too.
After the gardens it was about an hour and half drive home and then the unpack and overnight began. Claire went home and Phil and I had to stay up for the night. It was a pleasant weekend, and maybe inspired us that we could travel in a campervan with Mitchell without a carer in the future.