New Zealand Diary: Rawene, Kerikeri, Rainbow Falls

From Opononi to Rawene to Paihia in the Bay of Islands with a visit to Kerikeri along the way.
I’m also sharing the making-of the painting „Rainbow Falls“.

DAY 4, DECEMBER 17, 2017

Our host at the motel told us about the Koutu Boulders that were very near, so we decided to visit (we thought we would be extra clever and check out the Boulders on the North Island, in case we missed the Moeraki Boulders on the South Island). Alas, the way was flooded….

So we drove on to Rawene and I got to enjoy my first stage behind the wheel in left-hand traffic. You’ll laugh, but after half an hour of driving I was dripping with sweat. I hadn’t driven a car for 20 years… So I was glad when I could park the car in Rawene. (I’ll have to ask my sister again if I managed to park it myself; I think so, but I’m not sure).

Rawene is one of the first European settlements in New Zealand. The village is rich in history and has many fascinating arts & crafts shops. There seems to be a buzzing arts scene. We visited No. 1 Parnell, for example, a „socially conscious community space celebrating the arts“ (I still have the business card).

We had breakfast here at the Boatshed Cafe which also has a small arts & crafts shop and a gallery space.

This is me after my first time behind the wheel and before my victory coffee… 😉
During breakfast we enjoyed this beautiful view across Hokianga Harbour. Oh, and there was Reggae music.

The next photo was taken in one of our typical situations: Birgitta had seen some interesting bird and drove onto the verge. While she was looking through the binoculars, I took a few snapshots.
(It was still the same on Texel a few months ago – except that we were travelling by bicycle, not by car 😉 )

We visited some of the historic sites of Kerikeri Mission Station next, which are situated in a beautiful riverside setting.
The Stone Store is a Georgian warehouse and offers a wide variety of goods.

„Still trading since 1836“ says the sign at the entrance. I traded dollars for lavender honey.

Next to it is Kemp House, built in 1822. There’s a beautiful garden and orchard, but you mustn’t eat the fruit, because these are Heritage Trees.
The stories about the mission are full of sailors, convicts, warriors and ghosts.

We had coffee at the Honey House Café and enjoyed this beautiful view across the water.

During our break, the weather had cleared up, but unfortunately it didn’t last long.

We had something „real“ to eat at the RockSalt Bar, and then on the way to our next stop it really started to rain. (Btw, it was a Sunday, and almost everything was closed in Kerikeri. I wrote in my journal „desperately seeking food“, and the RockSalt was our salvation)

I don’t know if you can tell from the photos, but it rained cats and dogs throughout our visit to Rainbow Falls.
We therefore avoided climbing into the cave behind the waterfall, even though this is one of those famous, iconic photo motifs of all New Zealand travellers…

Nevertheless, it was beautiful there and we looked at the waterfalls from all sides.

I think it’s no wonder that Rainbow Falls was one of the motifs I painted at home in my studio.

For those who are interested in these things, I’m adding a few impressions of the making-of of this painting, of its different stages, at the bottom of this page.

We had not booked accommodations in advance for the next few nights either. We only knew that we were going to the Bay of Islands.
With the help of my phone and, we found a motel in Paihia, the Ala Moana Motel, for two nights.

When we arrived it was still raining. Still, we spent a relaxed evening with drinks on the deck of the Alongside and then supper at the CBK Craft Beer and Kitchen. Both offered a stunning view across the Bay.

We had the best vegetarian burger there. Honestly, until today I haven’t found one anywhere that was tastier.

After dinner, the rain had finally stopped and we enjoyed a wonderful evening atmosphere to end the day.

This is the place where I *really* noticed the Pohutukawa and fell in love with these beautiful trees.

This love has not yet passed and probably never will.

I did one of my ‚watercolour action sketches‘ at the end of this day, and in the morning did a bit of doodling…
Those doodles are sort of a meditation practice for me. They help me pass the time, they help me focus, they disctract me from anxiety attacks – and they often inspire me and lead to ideas for my paintings.

Back home, I painted a whole series of small abstract watercolours to process the multitude of impressions. This one was inspired by the ocean and the rain in Paihia.

As promised, here’s a sequence of photos to show the making-of of „Rainbow Falls“: