Hiking in Pacifica, California. Mori Point. looking over the Pacific Ocean.

We had amazing weather in Pacifica this past weekend. I’m talking sunny and warm without a cloud in the sky. Of course we had to spend our day outside and enjoy the unusual warm front. Matt and I decided to explore Mori Point and test out my new hiking backpack ($23) and get a little sunshine.  

Matt Mori Point in Pacifica California

I love the photo above of Matt. Reminds me of the hills in New Zealand — my little hobbit :)

Mori Point looks out over the Pacific Ocean and has numerous pathways to get to the top of the hills. We chose the rockier trail and although I wasn’t wearing my kicks made for rocky terrain, I didn’t slip! Success.

Mori Point Pacifica California hike

There were a lot of other folks out and about on the trail today with their pups. I wish our family dog Benji would go on hikes with us. One little French bulldog was scurrying up a nearly vertical part of the hill and it was the cutest thing watching those tiny legs move up the path. Mori Point is dog-friendly so definitely bring your pooch on this hike.

Mori Point Pacifica California ocean hike

Mori Point Pacifica California ocean hike sunshine

Mori Point ocean waves in Pacifica California hike

After our hike, we stopped to have brunch at Breakers in Rockaway. I got (of course) eggs benedict and Matt got an insanely large breakfast sandwich. The owner shared with us some big plans he has for the restaurant in the coming months and I can’t wait to stop by after another beachside hike.

Robin and Matt at Mori Point in Pacifica California

Mori Point Quarry in Pacifica California hike

Mori Point Quarry in Pacifica California hike sunshine

Hiking in Pacifica., California. Montara Mountain.

Yesterday my husband and I dusted off our GoPro that we haven’t used since our honeymoon and took it on our Montara Mountain hike. It’s still pretty chilly out, especially in the shade, but it made for a gorgeous hike in our hometown. The back of the valley, where we were at, was sunny, but you can see the fog rolling in from the Pacific Ocean. By 4 o’clock, the entire valley was submerged in the fog.

Hiking Montara Mountain in Pacifica California Northern California day trips

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to take better pictures and I think a lot of that has to do with understanding my cameras and how to use them properly. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see wisps of my hair at the top of the image. I actually accidentally took this photo while trying to see if it was still on. It came out pretty cool regardless!

Hiking Montara Mountain in Pacifica California Northern California day trips

Hobbiton was awesome, as I wrote about here in my last honeymoon post. New Zealand is so beautiful. I wish we had more time to explore. There’s still so much we didn’t see:

  • The west coast
  • The south island
  • Wellington
  • Tongariro Crossing
  • Whale Bay
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Rangitoto Island
  • See a kiwi

Polynesian Spa in Rotorua New Zealandgeothermal activity in Rotorua, New Zealand

For the first few days of our trip, we stayed in Rotorua, which is about 2 hours and 45 minutes south of Auckland. Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity. There’s steam from geyers coming up all around you. We visited the Polynesian Spa late one rainy afternoon and rented a private hot mineral pool overlooking the lake. The alkaline mineral water spa was relaxing and mixed in with the awesome view, it was pretty romantic, too. I have never been to Calistoga, but that’s on my to-do list this year and try one of the mud baths. 

DCIM100GOPROOn our way to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, we stopped to take a selfie on a bridge.

River on drive to Waitomo Caves Matt driving in New Zealand on the left side of the road

Matt did most of the driving while we were in New Zealand (thanks babe!). We rented a Suzuki. I think that was the first and only time I’ve ever rode in one of those.DCIM100GOPROThe Waitomo Glowworms Cave was high on my list of things to do while in New Zealand. You can’t take pictures while you’re inside the caves, but it is quite beautiful to say the least. You feel like you’re either looking out at the stars in space, or looking at the stars from space. We went on a 45-minute guided tour where we learned the history of the caves and those who first found it. I can only imagine stumbling upon these caves hundreds of years ago and not quite knowing what I was looking at. Our guide explained that the caves were found by local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau and an English surveyor Fred Mace who took a raft into the cave from a stream that flowed through. 

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPROWe took a ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island where we had one of the best meals of our trip. There was a restaurant on the island called 4th Avenue Eatery & Bar where Matt and I had delicious fish and chips. Stop in there for a bite if you’re ever in town.DCIM100GOPRO

Once on the island, you can get a day pass for the bus and hop on and off as you please. This was one of the streets we hopped off to explore and shop. It rained on and off that morning, but cleared up in the afternoon. You couldn’t tell in the picture, but only a few hours earlier, my umbrella turned inside out and had to be tossed.DCIM100GOPROThere were boats out in the little bay here and some really nice views from the restaurants on this street. While on the ferry, we flipped through real estate pamphlets and were impressed with what you could get on the island versus the Bay Area housing prices. 

Huka Falls New Zealand

Huka Falls was incredible. Look at how blue that water is! On the map, it looked like we were going on a quick 15-minute hike, but about 40 minutes in, we realized we still hadn’t found what we were looking for. It was raining and we were soaking wet, but it was totally worth it when we made it.

On our hike, we met a gal from London who had been traveling the world for the last few months and had another month of travel before heading back home. Ah the life. The walk along the river was beautiful and if it were warm and sunny, I would have loved to take a dip right here (below, not above!).

Huka Falls Hike New Zealand

After Rotorua, we spent two nights in Auckland near the city center. We met our Airbnb host upon arrival and she was very knowledgeable of the area and things to do, as well as how to get around. Auckland AirbnbKeep Calm and Eat Hot Dogs SignA “Keep Calm and Eat Hot Dogs” sign on the street in downtown Auckland.

Sky Tower View in Auckland, NZ

One night we went to the Sky Tower and SKYCITY. It was a really cool experience to to see a 360-degree view of Auckland from so far up. We checked out the casino in SKYCITY, but didn’t get lucky.

cronut in auckland new zealand

Also had a delicious cronut in Auckland. Yummmmy!

Check back soon for the rest of our honeymoon recaps. Missed my last one? Read about our trip to Hobbiton here.

New Year's Resolutions and Goals for 2015

Robin’s New Year’s Resolutions and Goals

1. Travel more.

2. Make health and fitness a top priority.

3. Take better pictures.

4. Attend at least one festival this year.

5. Grow in my career.

6. Learn new skills.

What goals or resolutions are you setting for yourself for 2015?