Hot Water Beach and Coromandel.

How we first found out about Coromandel:

When we first decided we were moving to New Zealand, I didn’t know what to make of it. I wasn’t sure if it was going to resemble the Caribbean, or Hawaii, or Australia. So what did I do? I went to google! I typed “N E W  Z E A L A N D” into my google search bar and clicked on google images. This was the image that caught my attention:

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Photo credit: Google (obviously)

My initial reaction was “WOW!” We’re moving there? I can’t wait to go there!

Our first visit to Coromandel:

The first time we went to Cathedral Cove was when Chad’s parents came to visit. I was so excited to take them there and show them how magical New Zealand really is. When we arrived to the location, we all quickly realized that it was a 45 minute hike to actually get to Cathedral cove. At the time, Chad’s dad was recovering from a knee injury, so we didn’t want to aggravate his injury by forcing him to make the trek.

 

Our second trip to Coromandel:

This past weekend we head back to this beautiful place, ready to make the hike. The hike was a bit of a trek. We hiked down the hill, then back up a hill, then back down a hill, then down a ton of steps! Once we got to the beach we were ready to go for a swim.

Cathedral cove was just as majestic as I had imagined. This was a surreal moment for me. I stood at the base of the cove, sweaty and hot, and thought to myself “Wow, we really made it. We made it to New Zealand.” WE MADE IT TO NARNIA! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this!) Accept, there were a lot more people there than in that clip. Cathedral Cove is a tourist attraction, so obviously there is going to be more people there than we see in the photos. What we’ve learned is that even the touristy things in New Zealand, aren’t as crowded as touristy places in the U.S. (accept Hot Water Beach… but more on that later.)

Recommendations:

  • Bring a pair of sneakers & a water bottle for the short hike. Flip flops will do as well.
  • There is an area here for snorkeling, so bring your gear!
  • We found out that you can do a boat tour to see Cathedral Cove if you can’t make the hike.

Hot Water Beach:

We heard great things about Hot Water Beach. A beach where you can dig a hole in the sand, which then self fills with hot water, and you can relax in this self made spa. Sounds great, right? Well, it wasn’t exactly like that.

The hot water is produced by cracks in the earth that remain after volcanic activity that occurred there. Even though volcanic activity is no longer prevalent, the cracks below the surface still exist. To access the area where these cracks are, you have to come two hours either side of low tide. If you can find one of these two cracks (don’t worry, there will be a ton of tourist marking the spot), then you have to find an area to dig. The only area we found that actually produced hot water was so close to the ocean that the waves kept breaking onto it. Another con was that there were SO MANY people digging holes, that it was hard to find a spot. Most of the holes didn’t produce hot water either.

Therefore, Hot Water Beach was somewhat of a letdown. It was way to crowded for our liking. It was pretty neat to feel the warm water, but that was enough for us. We found a little nook under the mangroves further down on the beach where we planted ourselves and had a nice picnic.

Although the hot springs portion of the beach was slightly lame, the beach itself is absolutely breath taking. Also, the current at this beach is very strong and dangerous to swim/surf in. Just an FYI if your planning on visiting

Recommendations:

  • It’s not the most compelling thing to see in NZ. If you don’t get to see it, oh well.
  • Bring a shovel!
  • One of the cracks on the beach is located directly in front of the big rock in the water. (You will know it when you see it)
  • GO DURING LOW TIDE! When is low tide? Click here to find out!

More on our New Zealand adventures to come…..

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This nurse’s thoughts on nutrition…

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Constantly improving…

The best part about no longer being in college (besides no longer being a broke college student) is being able to learn what YOU want to learn! This has given us the opportunity to listen to a ton of TED talks, documentaries, and read plenty of books. We have been trying to learn as much as we can about this incredible world. We have dabbled in politics, finance, and nutrition.

One thing we have recently learned more about are the benefits of plant based diets. Since both of us are scientists at heart, it was hard to ignore the research. We figured we would take all the information we have learned and try to incorporate it into our every day lives and diet. (If your looking for great educational resources on nutrition check out: TED Talk: Chew on this & Vegucated)

My rant on nutrition

With a degree in Nursing and many nutrition classes under my belt, I think I’m fairly educated on what a balanced diet should look like. I believe that balance and moderation is the key to everything in life: food, alcohol, indulgences, work, finance, ext. I don’t know if I believe it’s 100% necessary to eliminate meat quite yet. There are a lot of nutrients in meat (such as B12, Iron, B6) that are also available in vegetables, but easier to obtain from meat. That doesn’t mean that you can not obtain them from vegetables, it just means you have to be educated and plan out your meals more precisely.

I would be fooling myself if I thought for a minute I could convince my carnivorous boyfriend to give up meat completely, especially cold turkey. I am so thankful for how awesome and supportive he is of me and all of my ideas. We are continually striving to improve our nutrition and our quality of life. The information we learned has made us aware of how what we eat impacts our environment, animals, and ourselves.

Although we are not ready to swear off meat just yet, I have come up with another idea. Many nutritionists say that you don’t have to eat perfect 100% of the time, if you eat healthy even 80% of the time, the other 20% has little impact on your overall health. So I figured we could apply this theory to eating a plant based diet. If we eat a vegetarian diet 80% of the time, that gives us the flexibility to still enjoy foods we love such as certain seafood & meat. That means out of 7 dinners a week, 5 of them should be vegetarian. Out of 21 meals a week (3 meals a day x 7 days a week), 16 of them should be vegetarian. I figured this way we would cut back our consumer demand for animal products, increase of fruit and vegetable consumption, decrease our cholesterol intake, and improve our health.

I was feeling pretty good about myself and this BRILLIANT idea I came up with. While watching Netflix TED Talks, I came across this talk:

I love this TED talk! Even though I wasn’t the first one to come up with this idea, I’m super excited to incorporate it into our diet and share it with everyone. The only constant in life is change. My approach is to embrace change, and strive to incorporate change into our live to make them better.

I’m also excited for the challenge of learning how to cook new vegetarian meals!

EXTRA RANT: I believe everyone’s diet should be specifically tailored to that individual, and what works for one may not work for the other. I also believe that you can lead a happy healthy life by being a vegetarian, vegan, or meat eater. Actually, I think labels for the way we eat is silly. As long as we eat a healthy nutritious diet that provides the appropriate amount of macro and micro nutrients to our bodies, who cares what we label it! Eat whatever you enjoy (in a healthy moderation), and don’t shame anyone because they don’t share your same “label”.

A few of this past weeks favorite vegetarian meals:

Quinoa breakfast bowl with poached egg & avocado

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Beetroot, walnut, and goat cheese spinach salad

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My (almost vegan) light and fluffy pancakes

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

The beginning of 3 weeks of travel

First Stop: Hawkes Bay

We spent our first hot Christmas indoors watching Arthurs Christmas (which is our NEW favorite Christmas movie), making Christmas cookies, and drinking hot chocolate.

We began the three week trip the day after Christmas. First thing on Boxing Day, we packed our tiny Yaris to the brim and set our sights on Hawkes Bay. Before even moving to New Zealand, Hawkes bay was on the top of our list of things to do. We both love wine, therefore we had to taste some of the world famous New Zealand wine.

 

After driving approximately 5hours, the first thing we did was to head straight to dinner for some green tip mussels. Even if you don’t like mussels, trust  me, you will like these mussels. After dinner we wandered around the quiet deserted little town. I’m sure this little town is crawling with people on an every day basis BUT on boxing day it was a ghost town.

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After dinner we drove up to Bluff Hill to watch the sunset. The view was absolutely lovely. On top of the hill there were an abundance of flowers and there was no shortage of views.

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The beautiful view of Napier!

 

Wine Tasting:

The next morning we woke up early and head straight to “On Yer Bike.” Hawkes Bay is unique in the sense that it has bike trails constructed by the city that connect all the vineyards. The bike trails are separate from the road so they are safe and the trails are in excellent condition.

We picked up our bikes and hit the road!

The vineyards:

Sileni Estates– In 1997, Graeme Avery established Sileni as an export oriented producer, committed to crafting world-class fine wines. This was our favorite vineyard, we really enjoyed all of the wines here.

Favorite Wine: Merlot & Gewurztraminer

Favorite feature: Gift Shop

Abbey Cellars– Established in 2002 (woah! Doesn’t it feel like that was just yesterday?), Abbey focuses on making rich reds with smooth tannins in a middleweight style that is barrelled in 100 percent oak. This property is also a brewery. We sampled the beers here as well as the wines, which were also delicious.

Favorite wine: Riesling

Favorite feature: Outdoor area & live music

Alpha Domus– Established in 1991, “Alpha Domus winery produces world-class wines from a wide range of varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, Chardonnay, Viognier and Syrah.”

Favorite Wine: Viognier

Favorite feature: The quantity of wines available for sample.

Ngatarawa– In the union of two families, this vineyard was established in 1981. This vineyard makes a large variety of wines varying from reserves to softer every day wines.

Favorite Wine: Pinot Noir

Favorite feature: The barn like cellar room and the entire estate.

Te Awa– This vineyard has three sub-brands: Leftfield, Te Awa, and Kidnapper Cliffs. This was our second favorite vineyard, and a close tie with Sileni. All the wines here were exquisite, and the artwork on the labels was beautiful.

Favorite wine: Rose and Merlot/Cabernet blend

Favorite feature: The staff

Ash Ridge– The youngest vineyard we’ve ever been to, Ash Ridge was established in 2008. Not even a decade ago! Even thought the vineyard is fairly young, they just won New Zealand’s Young Winemaker of the Year award! Congrats!

Favorite wine: Premium estate Chardonnay

Favorite Feature: Outdoor restaurant area

 

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Recommendations:

Out of the 8 vineyards on the trail, we toured 6 of them! With over 100 vineyards and 70 wineries, there is plenty to explore. We are certain that the best way to go wine tasting is to do it via bike. You would be missing out if you came to Hastings and did not go on a vineyard bike tour. Thank you to the awesome Kiwi’s that gave us this recommendation!

If your looking for a company to use, we would recommend “On Yer Bike.” Their website is awesome, and the service couldn’t have been any better.

Also, don’t forget that this is only one of four tasting trails. If you don’t like wine, there are also other waterfront and scenic trails available. If your interested in exploring all the bike trails Hawke’s Bay has to offer, click here! 

Last recommendations: don’t forget to make some super cool friends & have fun!

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Our friends from Holland: Miranda & Menno

 

 

A few extra pictures:

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