Just as winter turned to spring, Andy and I went to one of our favorite spots for a long weekend getaway, Castlepoint. It had been almost exactly two years since we first got engaged there, so it seemed like the perfect place to say farewell to winter in our usual bach by the sea. This would be our fourth stay at Alfie’s – if you’ve found the perfect spot, why look elsewhere?!
After work on a Friday, we headed over the hill and arrived in Castlepoint a couple hours later in the dark, settling in for the night and waking the next morning to an incredible show. Well, I woke up when I heard Andy say “look at the sunrise!” I’m not usually up at this time on my own.
It was breathtaking watching the sun rise over the ocean, though even looking through a camera lens it was VERY bright. Also, is it weird that I hear the Lion King theme in my head?
The weather was extremely windy, even for the coast, so we decided to stay close to home and relax at Alfie’s for the day. We wandered along the beautiful beach just beyond our doorstep, where Higgs enjoyed a swim (too cold even for Andy) and had a great dinner at the Whakataki Hotel that evening. If you want to go out to dinner in Castlepoint, that’s about it for your options. Luckily, it’s charming.
The next day, although the wind hadn’t really died down, we were determined to set out for a hike up by Castle Rock, where we got engaged.
You can get a sense of the wind from the white-capped seas and swaying plants.
And if the movement of the flora wasn’t enough, just look at this majestic windswept Vallhund! His fluffy pants and tail can tell you the direction of any gale.
It ended up being far too windy to climb to the top of Castle Rock, so we settled on enjoying the view from where we were. Not bad at all, really.
Heading back downhill towards Deliverance Cove, we had great views of Castlepoint Lighthouse.
Nearing the beach, I had a brief thought, “I wonder if there are any seals around.” Just as I mentioned it to Andy, he was shouting at Higgs to come back to us. A big seal was right in the path and Higgs had gotten within a few inches of it. There was a bark from Higgs and a guttural growl from the seal, and thank goodness Higgs came back to us quickly (probably thinking “what the hell is that giant fat doggo?!”) and the seal didn’t pursue him. It could’ve ended very badly, and I was terrified!
Of course, the seal quickly returned to lounging, not bothered at all, while Higgs kept stealing glances back in its direction. Let’s just say, he’ll be on a leash every time we walk near this part of the beach in the future!
Because of the wind, we didn’t bother going all the way up to the lighthouse this time and instead admired it from a distance.
After a blustery adventure and a close encounter of the seal kind, it was time to head back to our little hideaway to chill out. The afternoon sunshine was warm and inviting, so I took the chance to explore the blooming gardens around Alfie’s.
These sheep don’t know how lucky they are, to live a life by the seaside!
Higgs was also enjoying the peaceful garden vibes.
My trusty sidekick and I decided to explore a little further afield, and headed down to the beach.
The best part about this area, and this time of year, is that it’s so quiet.
Mataikona, the name of this spot, just outside of “central” Castlepoint, seems to be a mixture of holiday houses and some permanent residents. We’d love to have our own bach out here one day, just a simple cottage like Alfie’s.
There’s a grassy path that follows the beach, so Higgs and I meandered along that, enjoying the views out to sea and towards the lighthouse and Castle Rock. Well, I can speak for one of us anyway.
I loved that yellow house, and there’s Alfie’s on the right, home sweet home.
And last but not least, some crazy boys running around beneath the (almost) full moon on our last night! Thanks for a lovely time yet again, Alfie’s.
I had hoped to get some night sky shots, but it was far too windy and partly overcast to get anything decent. Maybe on our trip to the South Island after Christmas! I hope you enjoyed coming along on our first spring expedition. Stay tuned for our trip down to Motueka as we go “glamping” for our one year (already?!) wedding anniversary. 🙂