Yesterday I drove out to the Tutukaka Coast for the first time. Even on a grey day it was easy to see why it is such a tourist magnet, especially when there were hardly any tourists around. My destination was Whales Bay where I had been promised a massage. I went exploring first, down the steep track to the beach which is a croissant of golden sand fringed with pohutokawa and nikau, edged with black rocks where people were snorkeling but mostly just gently lapping of water to sand. Even the school trip worth of kids couldn't spoil the enchantment and when they left I sank down onto the silky sand and dozed off.
Climbing back up the hill I couldn't imagine feeling more relaxed but it just got better. Louisa Sinclair welcomed me into her family's log cabin on the cliff top, and turned my back to jelly. She learned massage from her Cook Islands whanau and had lots of new and different techniques that I hadn't felt before (and I consider myself a bit of a massage connoisseur). I felt like I had a total spa experience (not that I've ever had a total spa experience) with the beautiful surroundings, the carefully chosen oils and music, the sensitive and healing touch. And all this in exchange for a Boob Book. I feel very very lucky.