To celebrate the three day weekend in honor of the Queen’s birthday (no, New Zealand doesn’t have a queen, we’re talking about the Queen of England here), we went west. Mike booked us a small two bedroom home used as sheep shearer’s quarters, sans sheep shearer, on a sheep and cow farm near the Kai Iwi Lakes.
On Saturday we drove the one-and-a-half hours to the lakes and spent 4 hours fly and spin fishing looking for some trout. The lakes are pretty small but supposedly stocked with nice rainbows. Unfortunately we stood in the rain and wind troutless. The lake is actually best suited to wading since the drop off into the deep is quite a ways out, but clearly visible. Float tubing or trolling work well too, but we were stuck on the shore. It was still a really good time on the super-isolated west coast of Northland. We saw our first Kiwi on the way home from the lake. Mike nearly ran it over in the car and we stopped to get out and have a closer look. It was quite small and looked just like a hedgehog!
Sunday morning we hit the Mangawhai Bluffs to pick some mussels. We made it just in time to snag some off the rocks before the tide came in, which was great since we weren’t going to be eating trout. Further along we stopped to see Tane Mahuta, a 2000-year-old Kauri tree. It’s absolutely MASSIVE.
We lunched further north in Opononi at a great little local joint on the water. The walls were covered in big game fish and trophy pigs. They love their pig hunting over on the west coast. Mike is dying to go; he just needs an in.
On Sunday night, I wisely stayed back whilst Mike got skunked again and fished through a horrific rainstorm …50 mph winds and all. The night wasn’t a total loss since on the way back to the car he nearly tripped over a kiwi! We’ve been here for almost six months and have been dying to see one of these rare flightless birds. Seeing two in two days was a real treat. Anyhow, evenings were spent watching lots of movies, specifically catching up on the classics i.e. Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, etc…
A day off for queen’s birthday was a real treat. Mike however was miserable all day after watching the Cavs lose. It did put a smile on his face opening a birthday card from Grandma and Papa – thanks, it’s the perfect card!
Thanks Dad for the fly fishing gear. Next time can you send us some good luck so we can catch fish!