The gravity of travel lies in the reckoning that no matter how much planning and control one pours into the trip, there will always be a thing or two that will deviate from what is expected. That’s how I fell into a life of travel, at the very least. The happy accidents brought about by detours and bumps are what spice up the stories of my journeys. I believe that is mostly true for everyone.

The weekend we drove to Whitianga was a rainy one. In New Zealand, weather is one of the (if not THE) most important elements in activity planning. But having been brought up in a country with one of the (if not THE) most unreliable weather forecasts, we pushed through a “beach” trip amidst weather warnings.

True enough, we were forced to cancel a peninsula cruise (twice) due to erratic waves in the areas we were set to go. To add insult to injury, the walking track from Hahei to the world famous Cathedral Cove was closed due to risk of landslides.

But sound adventurers, like what I would like to think of myself as, get over hurdles like big waves and landslides and make do of whatever was on the plate. From Hot Water Beach (separate story coming up -R), we turned right to Purangi Road, and instead of heading to the Cathedral Cove trail, we drove straight to the less frequented, but magnificent Cooks Beach and the serene, almost surreal Purangi Estuary.

Cooks beach is a small crescent-shaped settlement flanked by hills and the Shakespeare Cliff, most notably. East of the beach is the Purangi River, which cradles the green and gold paradise of the Purangi Estuary.

It reminded me of a little-known estuary two minutes away from our front door back in the Philippines. There was an islet in the heart of the stream and I’ve always wished the owner of the land would sell it to me one day someday. Purangi Estuary, for a split second, brought back many childhood memories and the realization that despite all the blings of making it kinda big in another city, another country, my heart always headed home.

I picked up a twig and wrote my name on the golden bed of sand and threw a pebble or two in the water. That was how I marked happy places as my own back home, so I did it with Purangi.

Shortly after, a drizzle started and the boy and I ran under a tree with, lo and behold, a mistletoe. And just like any other fairy tale, the mistletoe beaconed us to end that day with what else but, a kiss.