As predicted, we woke up to a rainy morning, but with our handy list of wet weather activities we ventured out into the rain decked out in our quick-dry clothing, hats, an umbrella for Shawn and raincoat for me. Because the north island just isn’t enough island for us, we once again found ourselves on a ferry headed to the island of Russell.

How often do you see a yacht with a helicopter on it?

We strolled in the rain along the waterfront to the Russell Museum to learn about the Maori and European history of New Zealand. The museum includes a one-fifth scale model of Cook’s ship Endeavour. The rigging is pretty amazing with numerous wooden pulleys.

Next, we headed to the Pompallier Mission (1841). While waiting for our tour to begin, we strolled the gardens in the rain. We were on the only brave souls, but it was worth the climb up the soggy hill. I think agapanthus is a weed here. They are everywhere…little ones grow along the roadside and giant agapanthus is used to create hedges and apparently to hold up hillsides.

The restored building that we toured was a printery and tannery, and we learned about the full processes of printing and leather tanning. I have a new appreciation for leather bound printed books. Our guide Maggie enjoyed telling us how many common sayings came from the early printing industry, such as “mind your Ps and Qs” and “strong silent type”. I also had no idea that it takes about 2 1/2 years to tan a piece of leather.

We lunched at the Waterfront Cafe (they seem to have a shortage of restaurant names here). Surprisingly, the seafood chowder was green and had smoked fish, but it was creamy and good. The fish in the fish & chips was fresh, light, and flaky with a nice crunchy breading.

After lunch, Shawn insisted we find Christ Church (the oldest existing church in New Zealand built in 1835) because he had read in the brochure that some of the headstones in the cemetery had musket holes in them. We tromped through the graveyard in the rain but could not find a single musket hole. We did find Cook’s headstone though.

All the seat cushions were needlepoint

After a rainy ferry ride back to Paihia, we drove to Haruru Falls. Since driving on the left is not enough of a challenge, Mother Nature decided to test Shawn with the addition of pounding rain. Once again, he safely navigated us to our destination. The falls were not quite as impressive as the tour posters portrayed them to be, but after our California drought any falls with water are a welcome sight.

An afternoon of blogging drinking a cup of tea while sitting with the patio doors wide open giving a fine view of the jungle/forest and constant rain…not a bad way to spend your day.  Now, where should we go for dinner?

Being on vacation, we have no sense of dates and times. We headed into town and stopped at a restaurant we’d seen the day before. We walked in and the first thing they asked was “do you have a booking?” It was 7:00 PM Friday night on a holiday weekend, things were not looking good. The hostess was on the phone and held up a finger telling us to wait a minute. She got off the phone and said she just had a cancellation, the owner’s mother would not need her table. She walked us to the best table at the front of the restaurant looking out on the street and ocean.

My career as a food blogger is looking dim. After we devoured the beetroot and goat cheese salad, I realized I hadn’t taken a photo. In case you’re wondering, it was pretty and delicious. So were the lobster ravioli in a lemon sauce and the salt and pepper squid with fried capers. Just imagine the lemon and lime meringue pie.

Wi-fi is sketchy at this hotel, so more photos later.

Daily ratings:
Waterfront Cafe – 3.5 Kiwis
Alfresco – 4 Kiwis
Aloha Seaview Resort Hotel – 3 Kiwis

Ice Cream Flavor: salted caramel with cashews
Steps taken: 5,263 (95% in the rain)