The North Bit

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.

Big Orange Stray Bus
Big Orange Stray Bus

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 Spectacular Bay of Islands
The Spectacular Bay of Islands

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.

Consider This a Warning

It seems that all the cool people these days who undertake a period of travel feel the need to broadcast to the world all that they experience along the way. Being an individual with little to no ability to think for himself and a fervour for the mob mentality, I have decided that my journey too needs to be immortalised as a blog for all the world to gape at in awe and wonder.

As such, over the next 6 months you can expect in-depth accounts of all aspects of my journey. You will be inundated with expert analysis of my morning meals and a quote from absolutely every individual that I meet along the way. I shall ruthlessly review all forms of public transport that I must use and will painstakingly compare these to the facilities in my country of origin. Those of you who will be interested in the daily state of my laundry fear not! You will be receiving daily updates on the state of my sock collection and the colour of my initially blinding white walking shoes.

Okay, I lied. The shoes are black.

I will be armed with my trusty camera so you can expect a flood of photographs every time you access this site. I will photograph absolutely everything from the seat of the bus I am about to ride on, to the breathtaking scenery that I am sure to encounter. From time to time these photographs will be accompanied by snazzy catch-phrases along the lines of: “Sultry Sydney Sunset” or “Barely Broad Enough Bus Seat”. I will then expect you to use these artistic quality images as profile pictures and avatars across the litany of social networks that you belong to.

I depart on Friday evening so there is still time to prepare yourself. If you wish to be privy to what will surely be the travel blog of the century then I suggest you click on every “follow” button you can see on your screen. You will also be doing the world’s population a disservice if you do not share each and every post across all news feeds, walls and twitter accounts that you possess.

All jokes aside, this blog is a way for those of you who are interested to keep track of where I am and what I’m getting up to. I promise that there will be no photographs of breakfast and I will only ask the most interesting people who I meet to provide insightful quotes. What you can expect is some (hopefully) entertaining writing, some wonderful photographs of the incredible places I am visiting and simply another way to keep in touch while I am away. I will always make every effort to respond to comments so feel free to complain about the route I have chosen or the people I have chosen to accompany. Some friendly advice might also be appreciated.