Saturday 19 April 2014
After a relatively peaceful night we pack up and head down town for breakfast, H has already been out to stretch his legs (while I watch a movie) and scoped the best spots – Chocolate Brown here we come. Half chocolate shop / half cafe, we order a super healthy cereal, which is delish before we hit the chocolate shop …. it is Easter after all!
Umm a great selection, but I can’t resist the chilly chocolate bars.
We hit the road and once we are away from Warkworth there is hardly any traffic as we head north. We are heading towards Russell on the Bay of Islands. There are two ways to get to Russell the short way – utilising the ferry at Opua and the long way – along a windy, narrow, long back road. I of course decide to go the long way, after all we are in no rush and I want to see some of the lovely NZ countryside. I did not however factor in the torrential storm that we drove through while navigating a treacherous mountain road, or taking the wrong road along the coast (about a 30 km detour), or the 10 km we have to drive along a dirt road with multiple blind corners through a rainforest.
But its all good we did indeed see some beautiful countryside and even more beautiful coastline.
A little bit tired from our adventurous drive we make to Russell and head straight for the Duke of Marlborough Hotel on The Strand, New Zealand’s oldest hotel. We settle into a table on the balcony for a 1/2 pint of cider for me, a pint of beer for Howard and a dozen delicious oysters to share.
It is a glorious afternoon looking out over the water.
We eventually drag ourselves away and head up the hill to the Bellrock Lodge. We are greeted by the bubbly Lorraine, who checks us in and shows us our lovely room which has a fabulous view over the bay. The room is wonderful, with all the comforts of home. Lovely comfy bed, tv chairs and complementary Tim Tams! Which were replenished as fast as Janet could eat them!
We head back down to the harbour as it gets dark and hunt around for a restaurant for dinner.
We settle on Sally’s Restaurant, grab a table outside and start the night sipping on a NZ pinot noir.
We are told that this is the last weekend of the “season”. By Monday afternoon Russell will be deserted. As there is barely anyone around now, it must get very quiet indeed. The night is pleasantly mild, which is a unexpected bonus for us. After our dinner of lamb shanks and fish and chips we finish the night off with a couple of ice creams from the 7-11 and trudge up the very steep hill to the lodge.