Here we go, the first of the catch-up blogs and the first piece detailing what I have been up to on my trip around New Zealand.
It all began on a sunny Saturday morning in Auckland after an entirely sleepless night at Nomads Fat Camel (an experience you can read about in this article), and it didn’t begin well. The bus was late, very late. In my already foul mood this did not impress me at all. However, I was able to spend the hour and a half on the side of the road getting to know the other 10 intrepid travellers who would be joining me on the trip north.
Eventually the bright orange bus turned up (to the relief of a fellow passenger who was convinced that we had been forgotten) and our driver apologised profusely for over-sleeping! We tossed our bags into the trailer, found our seats on the bus and settled in for the long drive north to Paihia in the Bay of Islands.
The drive passed by quickly, thanks to the excited conversation amongst the travellers and the exuberant commentary of our driver “Scratch”. A stop off at the Goat Island marine reserve allowed us to stretch our legs and we all took advantage of the free glass-bottom boat ride around the island.
At long last we arrived in the Bay of Islands and checked-in to our hostel, Base Paihia. We still had a few hours before dinner so I took the opportunity to do a walk, through the forest, to the Haruru Falls, getting a look at the incredible Bay of Islands. Looking out to sea from the beach all you can see is the multitude of tiny islands dotted throughout the bay. It truly is a spectacular sight.
The following day I took a day trip up to the northernmost point of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. The site is of spiritual significance to the Maori people and is the point where the Pacific ocean and Tasman sea meet. The ride back to Paihia including an exhilarating drive along 90 Mile Beach, an interesting experience in a bus to say the least!
The bus was only leaving in the afternoon the next day so I had time to explore more of the coastline, take a few photographs and even lie on the beach and soak up some sun. Two nights was simply not enough in this incredible part of the world. If I wasn’t right at the start of my trip I would certainly have stayed longer. However, I was still getting used to travelling with Stray and was nervous to spend too long in one place at the beginning of the trip and miss out on something at the end. Who knows, maybe I will get the chance to return when the weather down south turns nasty. I certainly hope so!
Ironically, as I type this I am, in fact, on the extreme opposite end of New Zealand, way down south on Stewart Island. Hopefully one of these days I will have caught up enough to tell you all about my time here at the southern tip of the country. Until then, the best way to keep up to date with my movements and to see a few more pictures is to follow me on Twitter, @dalwal.