10/1/14 After visiting Raukokore church, we decided to start looking for a spot to the spend the night. Went past a dodgy motel/caravan park which looked like it had been broken into… we were pretty sure it was closed down even though a crazy guard dog was barking at us. Just when we thought we’d never find a place to stay along SH35 Te Araroa Road before sunset, we chanced upon an old signboard saying ‘Lottin Point Motel - most modern motel on the Cape’. So we turned off road and decided to give it try. The 4km drive in was so beautiful with tons of sheep starring at us weirdos. As we came closer to the coast and saw the motel sitting on the rocky promontory overlooking the ocean, all three of us instantly thought that this was gonna be out of our budget. We kept discussing how much we were willing to spend hahaha we were making so much noise in the car as we inched closer to the motel. The general consensus was not more than $150. To our surprise, we only had to pay $110 for a self-contained 2 bedroom ocean view unit which could probably fit 5 comfortably. Felt like the most blessed travelers at the point of time that we managed to find such a treasure. The owner (mum) and her daughter were so nice, brought us a small jug of milk and definitely gave us the best room they had. Sadly one of the owners passed away, so the motel is going up for sale now. It is so remote, the motel even has its own helicopter landing. From the pictures at the reception, Lottin Point is famous for rock fishing and even diving. We finished our bottle of moscato and whipped up a hearty dinner to celebrate our miraculous find and a good night’s sleep.

11/1/14 Day 4: Lottin Point Motel - Finally slept in, woke up to amazing views of the ocean, had a big breakfast, checked out at 10am.

April 2013. Exactly one year ago in one of my favourite cities.

10/1/14 Raukokore Anglican church, located at the tip of the rugged-looking Papatea Bay before Waihau Bay. I think the church was established around 1894,restored in 1994 and owned by the local Stirling marae. It is extremely well maintained and still in use for church services and weddings. We were greeted by horses in the front yard, picturing sijing making new friends. I’m quite weary of touching horses before they approach me ever since being bitten by Chester, the hormonal needy miniature horse (PONY), on the elbow =(

10/1/14 As we drove further east along the coastline on SH35, we passed by many different bays (Whituare Bay, Whitianga Bay, Omaio Bay). I’m not quite sure which one we stopped by. However deserted driftwood and pebbled beaches were distinct here. So different from the pristine white-cream-yellow sand you’d see at most beaches. There is not a single soul in sight but ourselves and sandflies (or rather pebbleflies). Well I like the feeling of emptiness I guess. Good emptiness. We can drive for an hour and not see another vehicle, that’s the beauty of East Cape.

10/1/14 Day 4: The start of our remote East Cape adventure! According to Sam, less than 1% of New Zealand travelers tour this East region of the North island. Most drive straight to Lake Taupo from Rotorua and then Wellington. I’m really glad we added 3 days to our North island itinerary to complete the loop from Opotiki to Gisborne via East Cape (most eastern point of NZ, first to see the sunrise). Wheeeee!

Straight from rafting, we loaded our spaceship with supplies and fuel for our drive through SH30 to Ohiwa Oyster Farm slightly after Whakatane. There weren’t any oysters left but their battered scallops ($1), mussels (50c) and fish ($3/4) were cheap, fresh and irresistibly yummy! We also bought a tub of Pāua, which was a Maori term for Abalone. It tasted like… the sea, acquired tasting which went quite well with our chips. We didn’t finish it in the end plus it got quite fishy, nevertheless we did try some local Maori cuisine! Our first glimpse and taste of the Bay of Plenty, North Island.

10/01/14 Kaituna river white water rafting with Kaitiaki Adventures

After a stressful 45mins getting lost with fuel almost empty, we finally made it to our rafting assembly point, located at the 3D Maze, Te Ngae Park in Rotorua. We had crazy Stevie as our raft guide. A local Maori who was extremely strong and had the craziest crazy eyes that none of us could ever match up to. Kaituna = Food-Eel. I guess river eel was probably a primary source of food for the Maori, now Kaituna is pretty much a commericialised river rafting destination. My second rafting experience was just as fun as my first (Tully river in Cairns), in fact, probably more stomach-jumping because of the 7m drop (Tutea falls?). I was without doubt the most useless rafter, always grabbing on to the the sides and sinking my feet underneath the ‘seats’ in front of me the whole time ><.

Red door corner store @ 70 Mitchell St, Northcote VIC 3070

Pan-seared sashimi grade Tuna, buckwheat soba noodles, avocado, crispy poached egg, mirin dressing, gluten-free. Irresistible. Coupled with a good cuppa, beans from Proud Mary and good ole’ frothy from Saint David Dairy =)

09/01/14 Lake Okareka Cooking “in the wild” with Sam. Mac & cheese with hot dogs and frozen veggies. I miss this! Credits, Sijing.

Top Paddock, 658 Church St, Richmond VIC 3121

Top Paddock, 658 Church St, Richmond VIC 3121