It is time for me to write another postcard so that you all know what I have been getting up to, and I have been up to many things!
On Wednesday I headed out on the first leg of my 'Kiwi Experience' tour, leaving Adam and company behind. My destination, Paihia.
On the caoch I mainly chatted with the driver so that I had a better idea of how the tour worked. When we arrived in Paihia I booked into the 'Pipi Patch Lodge', which is actually a nice little hostel with dorms sleeping up to eight and each dorm has en suite bathroom and small kitchen.
I was really pleased when I got to my room as there were four of the guys from the coach staying in the same dorm - Dave, tony, Valerie and Kate. We all hit it off very quickly and it was nice to have a group to relate to.
That afternoon we were all booked onto the 'Excitor', a power boat that took us on a tour around the bay of islands, adn went through the 'Hole in the Rock'! It was a windy day and the sea had a good swell so the trip was full of breath taking jumps and bumps!
After the Excitor tour, the guys and I returned to our dorm and chilled and chatted. That evening the hostel had a BBQ and for $10 everyone had a giant sausage, a steak, cheesey potatoe bake, and a free pint! After that we all wnet to the 'Light House' pub on the waterfront.
The next day we all took a tour up to Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of New Zealand! Our tour driver for the day was called 'Auto'. NOw if you have ever seen the Simpsons then you will know what I mean when I say that he was a replica of Otto the bus driver!! He was also a very clever guy whom believes in Mauri rights and he has strong views that he wasn't affraid to share. He was also a very cool bro!
Our first stop was a kauri nature reserve. These trees are ancient and are now being protected due to mass deforestation over the past few hundred years.
Our next visit was to ninety mile beach (which is closer to sixty four miles). There we raced along to beach at 90mph adn stopped to take some photos and collect fresh shell fish from the sands! I have never seen beach run so far as here! The views were awsome!
Next as we reached the north end of ninety mile beach great sand dunes reared up on the horizon and as we drew near I was amased at the size of them, some reaching over one hundred feet high! So there was only one thing we could do at this point, SAND BOARD them!!! Yup Auto pulled up next to a dune that was about 85ft high and proceeded to give us all a tutorial as to how to board down it. Unfortunately there was a strong noth wind so the top of the dune was like standing in a sand blasting chamber! However, once we were on our boards we raced down the dune and I was clocked doing around 45kph! I am awaiting one of the guys to send me the pics from this part.
Next we drove all the way up to Cape Reinga, as far north as you can go in New Zealand! There we walked to the light house that sits at the end of the land and to see the ocean stretching out before us was a humbling sight!
When we left Cape Reinga we headed to the 'Ancient Kauri Kingdom'. This visitors centre is where they take Kauri trees found in peat bogs and carve them into wonderous items ranging from furniture to spinning tops! All these trees are carbon dated to be around 30 - 40 000 years old! As such it was all too expensive to buy anything.
For the last part of the tour Auto took us to what he called the 'Best' fish 'n' chip shop in NZ! There I had 'Blue Nose' fish and chips (or fish 'n' chups) as the kiwis call them, it was rather tasty.
Once we arrived back in Paihia the guys and I went to the Light House pub where they were holding a team quiz night. The quiz games were adult themed and we called our team '18+', named by Kate. We did well and by the last game we were drawn for 1st place. The last game was called 'Strip Musical Chairs'! Kate and myself volunteered to play this game for our team. Unfortunately we were caught out early and after Kate left the game I was left in only my shorts! However, I held on for my team and clawed my way to the last three people, both form the team we were tied with! I beat one of them but was caught out and I decided that victory MUST lay with team '18+'! And so, with grit and determination I dropped my boxers and proudly went on to VICTORY! Our prize was a $75 bar tab, which we drank away for the rest of the night! I was hailed King of the quiz and it was quite an uplifting (excuse the pun) experience!
Today I woke up feeling rough and it was the last day for all the others as they were heading back to Auckland! So early on in the day we took the ferry across to Russel, one of the many islands and once known as the 'Hell Hole' of the sea! There we had a breakfast fo banana pancakes with mixed fruit and maple syrup, very nice! then we walked around the island to a few of the important places such as Russel church, where there were many memorials to those lost to wars of the last century.
After we got back to the mainland we headed to the Waitangi Treaty centre, a museum where the historic treaty was forged. There was much cultural knowlege to be found there and many interesting items to see. I also found the Waitangi Bowling Club. Unfortunately it was closed and didn't look overly well kept.
After that we all walked back into Paihia where Dave, Tony, Kate and Valerie got their stuff together and headed back to Auckalnd. And so I am now in the dorm on my own and it is in stark contrast to the past few nights! I have busied myself uploading photos and writing this postcard.
And so I bid farewell for now, you are all up to date as to my actions and I now go for a pint and try to meet some new people.....
Until next time, take care, speak soon.
Baity aka John for those whom don't know my nickname :o)