PIHA BEACH EXCURSION

When I saw that Bush and Beach had tours to Piha, I knew I had to go. Insert "take all my money" meme here. Piha is a gorgeous black sand beach off the west coast of Auckland. This Bush and Beach excursion was a little cheaper than Hobbiton so we were able to do both easily. Bush and Beach picked us up at our designated location at 12:30 pm instead of the 6:35 am pick up for Hobbiton! Haha it was nice to chill a little before. Again, what I love about this company is that they want you to experience as much as you possibly can in a couple hours. Our tour included a little lunch stop in the town of Avondale, where they told us about the famous New Zealand meat pies! I was stoked because I didn't actually try one the last time I was in New Zealand. One of our guides, Felicity, mentioned that this was a great hole-in-the-wall place to get them where they're cheap and worth it! She was so right, you guys. Andrew and I both got a steak and cheese meat pie and OH MAMA! was it delicious. I'm honestly drooling just thinking about it. If you're not familiar with a meat pie, think of a flakey, delicious, mini chicken pot pie.

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Something really cool about the town of Avondale is that they have spiders that only stay in that one little suburb. Why they're even cooler is that these are the spiders that were used in the movie, Arachnophobia! I mean, they're basically little famous actor spiders just crawling around Avondale, haha! Thankfully, we didn't see any because I AM NOT A FAN OF SPIDERS. Once we scarfed down our food, and I mean SCARFED (our guide even made fun of Andrew because he ate so fast), we headed towards the Arataki Visitors Center. The center had panoramic views across the rainforest and of both of Auckland’s harbors! We were also able to see some traditional Maori carvings. They were pretty incredible. The visitors center had the most beautiful prints for sale and you can bet your butt I bought a pretty little print of a silver fern.

After a little more exploring at the visitors center, we headed into the rainforest! Y'all, New Zealand's rainforest is gorgeous. Andrew and I headed into the rainforest with our other guide, Allen, who told us all about the different trees and plants. I love how much New Zealand cares about their forest and animals. They had us all wash our shoes before going into the forest and on our way out.

Finally, we made our way to the beautiful Piha beach! Our guides parked on the way to let us snap a photo from above the beach, which I thought was pretty cool. They said they wanted us to see the lion head rock from all angles.

Once we made it down to the beach, we parked and y'all, when we walked over the hill and saw the ocean... it literally took my breath away. Andrew and I walked on the beach, took photos, and just let it all sink in. This was the New Zealand I saw in movies. This was the New Zealand I completely fell for in that moment.

As if it couldn't get any better, our tour guides pulled out a table and laid out tea, mango juice, Manuka honey, and biscuits. Y'all. We sat on a beach and drank tea and ate cookies!! WHAT?! I still can't believe I did that.

I'm definitely meant to live on a beach. The smell of the ocean is something that makes me SOOOOO happy. Anyone else?

Love Always,

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Tanna Wasilchak