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QBW - Auckland via Waikato (Part 1)

Escaping work as early as I could muster, we were off on a short roadie over the long weekend. There was no time for stopping on the way, making it to our accommodation with about 3 minutes to spare (which also didn't leave enough time to fix a booking faux pas, but for one night we made do). Apart from that, The Podium Lodge in Cambridge was a nice modern space and once we got the heat pump working (aka press every button until something worked) we were comfortable!

After checking in, we grabbed dinner from T & S Takeaways - I had a chicken salad "without the cheese" (nb it still came with cheese) but apart from that it was decent for a takeaway salad.

With not much else to do, we had an early night and set the alarm for the morning, and the early morning was well worth it - not for the sunrise but for the fog - wow!

First, a fuel stop at Cafe 9 for the always needed caffeine hit. Grabbed a ham & tomato pie (I think - was more like a quiche). Was very tasty! Coffee was hot but good.

Anywho - back to the fog... So much fog! First, we checked out Lake Karapiro and it was almost harder to take a photo I didn't like!

We then drove around for a bit looking over the land and scoping our next scape. There was so much potential but not quite working. A cute little bridge gave inspiration for a moment and that was a wrap on the morning's shooting.

The next refreshments were sought in Te Aroha. An accidental theme, we found Villa 9 for coffee and food from the bakehouse - both were fine but nothing to write home about. Second time that I recall we have been stuck in Te Aroha looking for food and been left underwhelmed.

If there's a waterfall nearby, of course, we have to visit (btw same goes for piers). Owharoa Falls is a very easy access waterfall, only a few minutes of steep incline. Unfortunately, I forgot my grippy waterproof shoes so was a bit hesitant to reach the spots I'd normally venture to around these kinda places but managed to get a decent vantage point eventually. A hard falls to photograph. Need to trim their bushes on the right here, especially the dead branches.

We got to the Auckland region much earlier than needed so had time to kill. Thought a bit of bird chasing would suffice but the tide wasn't our friend at the moment and neither were the birds! Nothing substantial obtained. Nothing even worth sharing here!

Another point of interest we decided to check out - the Manukau Heads Lighthouse - not an actual lighthouse, just a replica of one that used to be there. The cool thing about this one was we could go inside and up to the top as well.

And because someone he knew goes there a lot, we had to check out Hamilton's Gap - a cute little beach that reminded me a lot of Kai Iwi beach. Wrong time of the day for anything great but a nice spot to check out nonetheless. Would I hike all the way back out here again just for this location? Probably not.

By the time we drove back from there, we could check in to our AirBNB - a studio loft care of Stu & Jacqs. It was a lovely space but a bit noisy for my liking. What was great was the 100% bamboo sheets and amazing fluffy pillows.

I may have a problem with pillows... as in, I have purchased far TOO MANY pillows. And no, I'm not the type to have a hundred throw pillows everywhere. I just haven't found THE pillow. I've even got an expensive memory foam pillow on the promise it would be the one and only pillow I needed but alas it was not. Quite often I'll find an excellent pillow at a motel and be tempted to take it home but I couldn't do that... This time, being an Airbnb, it was an actual pillow I could just go out and buy. So that's what I did. We hit every Briscoes on the way home until we found it. Lucky for us, it was at the 2nd one we visited and we didn't have to go to the 6 others that were on the way home LOL. Got the sheets too. And a new duvet.

This is the trouble when photographers have a rainy day, can't take photos, end up shopping instead. At least I had self-control when we visited the camera gear shop, right? Might be needing those brownie points later, when I try out the new Tamron zoom lens for Sony...

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