Numerous times during our travels through New Zealand, people remarked that the South Island is much prettier than the North. I see what they’re talking about–the South Island is truly magnificent, but I think people sometimes sell the North Island short. The entire country of New Zealand has made me feel like I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to adequately convey the beauty that we’ve seen without being repetitive. Our stop in Hahei also made me feel like I don’t know enough ways to describe the color blue. We arrived at our campsite at twilight, that lovely liminal time when the last rays of the sun gently kiss the horizon good night and the silhouettes of the trees become strikingly intricate. Hahei is a small town in Mercury Bay that is primarily a tourist destination because it is situated on gorgeous white sand beaches and has access to Cathedral Cove. Hahei Holiday Resort, the fantastic campground where we stayed, is right on the beach, so we woke up and stepped out of the motorhome into a scene from a postcard. The water by the light of the morning sun was brilliantly blue. We started our hike to Cathedral Cove from where we were staying, which I assumed would be a flat walk along the coast, but I was sorely mistaken. Sore being the operative word since my muscles were recovering from lugging the little man up the Mount. The trail along Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve winds up and down coastal cliffs that offer spectacular views, but leave you gasping for air. I was relieved that I had made it through our hike of the Mount carrying the Tiny Emperor so I didn’t have to feel too guilty letting Kris do the heavy lifting on this one. The breathtaking scenery gave me a good excuse to stop and take pictures–and catch my breath. How many hues of blue do you think you could name in those waters?The trail to Cathedral Cove winds past the turn offs for the trails that cut over to Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay. They sounded intriguing, but we kept plodding, determined to reach Cathedral Cove.When we finally arrived at our destination at the bottom of a dizzying staircase, it was worth the effort. We found a nice piece of driftwood to sit on to enjoy a picnic while Xander explored the sand. Our muscles were burning on the way back, so we stopped to admire the view regularly. It took us longer than we had planned to do the hike, so we had overextended Xander’s nap time, and he was not amused. When it seemed a meltdown was imminent, I nursed him to prevent it, but knew that was only delaying the inevitable. Instead of finding somewhere to sit and feed him, we just kept hiking while I was breastfeeding. If motherhood was a video game, I would definitely have leveled up. It’s hard to remember that when I was first breastfeeding, I would get so nervous about doing it in public under a cover that my whole body would shake as though I had the chills. We were nearing the end of our trip, but tried not to think about that. Instead, we focused on our excitement for our next stop in Piha.
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