After my Starbucks Christmas blend coffee, I crossed the street and saw another backpacker. Turns out, she is on my bus tour! She is from Holland, just finished travelling through Asia for 2-3 months and is now doing NZ!
Bus comes. There are about 10 of us on it today-so a small group which is nice. There are 2 other girls from Holland, 1 from France, a couple from Australia, a couple from Germany, and 2 from I have no idea! Bus driver seems hung over but jolly! He will be on vacation after today!
We left Auckland around 745am and headed north. Lots off sheep (as most would expect), but actually the driver (Bear) mentioned that NZ's biggest export is dairy-supplying up to 1/3 of the world's needs. That I didn't know! Also, there is a refinery for oil and a site offshore with crude oil that they want to start drilling, but environmental groups are opposed to it for obvious reasons!
A couple funny names-Urititi beach and Semenoff lane-lol.
Made a couple of stops-to see an 800 year old tree; a waterfall; a quaint little touristy town (for gas), then to the centre of Paihia. Reminds me of Seattle meets Nanaimo, meets Hawaii! Kiwis come here for vacation.
A group of us wandered into town after checking into the hostel-this one is beautiful and I will be here for 3 nights-$25/night with wifi, free bikes, private ensuite-:) There is a market today in town with local fruit, wines, cheeses, goods....so neat!
Went through the tourist traps on the main drag. Now back at the hostel relaxing. Tomorrow we are heading up north to Cape Reinga and sand surfing; then on Saturday I booked a day trip out on the water:)
Looking forward to some downtime this weekend:)