Posted by: annie | September 9, 2010

west coast beaches

In my last post, I shared some pics of Bethel’s Beach on the west coast of auckland. Recently, I finished my west coast beaches tour and have some pics of the other two golden sand beaches over there, Piha and Murewi.  Piha is the more popular and well-known beach.  It’s one of the major beaches for surfing, hosting national and international surfing competitions. Piha is also one of the most dangerous beaches in New Zealand.  Almost everyone I’ve talked to have a story of someone they know that either died or almost died swimming or surfing there. There’s even a helicopter landing pad in the parking area for emergencies and a local TV show about the rescues that happen there.

you can hike up that rock

While Piha may be the more popular spot, Murewi is definitely my favorite of the west coast beaches. It is just gorgeous and quite a photogenic beach. I took tons of pics hoping to capture the beauty and  somehow transmit the feeling of being there ( I don’t think I succeeded)  I was there during a gloomy day which heightened the moody, wild feeling of the rough open sea colliding with the rocky cliffs and rolling hills.

As beautiful as the beaches are, the drives to reach them can be quite stunning as well.  I drove about 20 minutes through the dense greenery of the rainforest on either side of the narrow roads climbing steep cliffs and navigating sharp bends in the road.  There were many homes hidden behind the trees down steep driveways that appeared intimidating. There were no opportunities to pull over for photos since the road lacked a shoulder.

Murewi is also the home of the only gannet colony in New Zealand.  I was visiting them during mating season. There are some adorable pics of some good old-fashioned courting. I’m excited to go back when the little ones are born.

gannet lovin

Things have been going well here. We’ve had some lovely sunny days between our steady gray rainy ones recently promising warmer, sunnier, springier days in our near future.   I am probably the most excited of anyone in New Zealand because I have had one year of winter. I’m a hibernating bear having her first spring in a whole year!! My liver is super excited and sometimes I feel like I could run a mile. And I don’t run people, but my body wants to, so I do a little jog/walk thing around the neighborhood.

All of this extra exercise made me think I could reward myself by making my signature dish (ok, it’s probably my only dish) which also happens to be one of my favorite foods: Lasagna!! I was apprehensive because I would be using unfamiliar ingredients (in terms of brands) and I had to make my own italian sausage which actually was easy enough and may be a good idea anyway. They don’t have prepared italian sausage here. Actually, the sausage in general in New Zealand leaves a lot to be desired…… a lot. It’s highly processed and more like a hot dog than a sausage. Anyone want to move to New Zealand and start a sausie company?  I also had to sample all the ricotta cheeses to find the best one before I would make a lasagna. I was surprised to find a pretty good one made here. I did the same with the parmesan.  Jeez, I just realized I’m pretty particular about this.  So after the research,  turns out, I still have the magic lasagna touch. It was delicious. I invited Tracey and Brittany to eat with me that night and they thought it was the best. From what I understand about lasagna making here, they put some white sauce in theirs which I’m skeptical about so that would be quite different to (they say to instead of from here) mine. I’m just happy, I can make a good lasagna here.



  1. Annmarie,
    Very good indeed…..lasagna, a one dish meal!!
    The beaches are beautiful as all the beaches and scenery in NZ. Did anyone tell you stories of surfers being attacked or bitten by sharks??
    The birds were cute as well….you know I love birds!
    Love, Aunt J

  2. this post was great for many reasons–well written and descriptive, lovely photos, and the promise of a spring for annamaria!! i’m glad your lasagna is good even when you are on the bottom of the earth. i miss you–let’s skype soon!
    love, jen

  3. I have seen the surfer beach on T.V.. Looks like the weather was not the best. Is that how it is all year long?

    • Hi bro! no, it was just a winter cloudy, rainy day. I think it will be much different in the spring and summer

  4. Hi Annmarie,
    I love those kind of pictures with the mist in the air its almost mystical, thats how it was when we were in Milford Sound on our cruise. The sun would just peek out over and in between the mountains , Just beautiful. The birds were so cute, I don’t remember seeing them. Spring is around the corner for you yea ! Keep the pictures coming. Love and miss you Mom

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