Nicky Park plays leading lady during a rainy weekend excursion to the Coromandel.
Rain is romantic.
Sure, the washing doesn't dry, your feet are always damp and everyone starts to smell like a wet dog. But just think of all the soppy scenes in your favourite rom-coms - all the kissing, embracing, playful banter and first date disasters happen as big droplets fall from the sky.
Maybe it's the water running down my face or the fact that it makes even the daggiest clothes a little more racy - but there's something about a downpour that spells romance for me.
So when my manfriend and I took off for a weekend to the Coromandel I was secretly smiling as heavy grey clouds began to set in.
He was ready and raring to take me hiking up the Pinnacles trail. I was longing to be rugged up in our four-poster bed, sipping shiraz.
With the Pinnacles plan in mind, we stopped in at the small town of Thames for the night. It was late when we arrived but the lovely waitress at the local restaurant, Rocco, kept the kitchen open late to cook us up a tender venison rack and smoked duck breast. Turns out it was the chef's last night in the kitchen so we were particularly grateful for the special service.
Our bellies full, we retired at Cotswold Cottage, a gorgeous old house-cum-B&B set atop a hill in Thames. It was a clear night, so manfriend and I shared a bottle of red, stargazing before taking a spa and getting an early night in preparation for the potential hike at sunrise.
Eating muesli home-made by Jacqui at Cotswald, the grey clouds were ominous. Ominous enough, I convinced the manfriend, that we should concede defeat on the Pinnacles front this time and enjoy the coast.
We hit the road, past pohutukawa trees teeming with blossoms, stopping for a stroll around the lush Rapaura Watergardens. The seemly deserted spot was perfect for cheesy hand-holding along the damp trails. We stopped for a herbal tea with the mother and son owners of the property who told us how they'd recovered the gardens from a severe storm back in 2002.
By this stage the sun was shining, but it was too late in the day for us to begin the long tramp up the Pinnacles - what a shame.
Instead we carried out to our accommodation for the evening, Mussel Bed B&B at Cooks Beach, where we were served up delicious home-made mussel fritters and a bottle of bubbly. We were getting the perks of honeymooners without having to get hitched.
We were feeling lethargic on the back of our indulgent afternoon but had only heard great things about The Lost Spring thermal pools in Whitianga. I'm not really one for man-made hot pools, but these were pretty special.
We opted for the hottest pool and ordered a couple of cocktails from the wandering bar staff. Three hours and four cocktails later, our body temperatures were soaring, our finger prints were wrinkled and - much to my aching heart - the rain started falling again.
This was perfect for the romantic ferry ride from Whitianga back to Cooks Beach and in to our cosy honeymoon suite.
The fickle New Zealand weather isn't always bad. You've just got to embrace it and live your real-life rom-com.
Nicky Park was a guest of The Coromandel.By Nicky Park @Nicky_Park Email Nicky