Arriving in Auckland was cool, a slight interrogation at the airport about whether I had any money in my bank account (I don't blame them judging by the holes in my top from the dodgy washing machine in melbourne) also I became a bit obsessive to keep checking I didn't have any food on me, as my friend james told me he got charged something like $400 for having an apple in his bag!
A dude kiwi bus driver took me to my hostel (choice backpackers) full of south americans with very thin mattresses but ok for only $19 (9 pounds pn!). One of my uni friends, Kats, brother was living there too, so was nice to have a chat with him about travels etc. Walked around the city the next day, in beautiful boiling sunshine (and got quite burnt). The harbour is quite nice, I enjoyed reading about the boats near the maritime museum, but other than that, as previously warned, there wasn't much to do really. It was just another city. But slightly surreal that I was actually in New Zealand, I had to pinch myself!
Next morning I was off on the Stray bus to the bay of Islands! Something I had heard great things about and was very excited. It was so fun to be back on the road again.
I was absolutely blown away by the scenery, everything was so green and healthy. Completely different to Australia, infact more like england. Even the cows looked so healthy and shiny! There was lots of hills and the landscape was incredible, just driving down an average road! Our driver was called daisy and he was really nice modest guy, and lots of fun and informative. We went on a glass bottom boat ride over to goat island in a marine reserve where we saw lots of big snapper and goat fish. We discovered some cool caves and learnt about the marine biology conservation they have going on.
Once we got to the bay of islands, I just couldn't believe my eyes. It was so beautiful and the small cove where were were staying was like a holiday village from a film! I was gobsmacked! I had met lots of people on the way and we were all staying in this backpackers together where we had our own little apartment thing.
The next morning I went on this swimming with dolphins trip in the morning, although it wasn't that great it was more chasing dolphin tails. I naively thought the dolphins would be interested in humans and come and play, however this was not the case, and I think if I was a dolphin and had 20 humans swimming at full speed towards me, I don't think I would hang around too long. So yeah I don't blame the dolphins. I did see a tail though! The weather wasn't great either so I was feeling a little down in the dumps, but I had also booked to go sailing on an 80ft maxi yacht, and the sun came out for this. And it was breathtaking sailing round the islands, and the sun was out and the water was bright blue and the hills and islands were so bold and beautiful. I just cant try to explain it in words.. and even the picture I took don't really show how amazing it was. The guys on the boat were really cool too and I learnt lots about good ole captain cooks adventures. He was an amazing guy, he was going to come back and plot the bay of islands another time but he got into a storm and got pushed in here, and discovered, like I did what a great place it is! And to think he was just some small farm hand from yorkshire, and ended up travelling the world and plotting most of the maps that we still use to this day!
Ha enough about old cooky (although he definitely did deserve a mention in this!). So this brings me up to date to today. This morning I had to check out of my hostel because they were fully booked, and I desperately needed somewhere else to stay for one night, but everywhere was booked up when I checked, and I didn't have time to keep looking as I had a trip booked to Cape Reinga at 7am. So I just met my bus, and thought I would sort it out later. When I got back from the trip (which I will tell you about in a sec). There were still no beds in any of the hostel phone numbers I had…apart from one bed in a girls dorm in "captain Bobs Beachouse" I honestly couldn't believe it. The name of the hostel..the chances…I think it was meant to be. And im sat here now, writing this on the verandah overlooking the ocean, and the hostel itself is probably one of the nicest ones I have stayed in, its like a kindof small friendly house.
The day trip to Cape Reinga (the most Northern point of New Zealand) was absolutely stunning, I saw the lighthouse overlooking the point where the Pacific ocean meets the tasman sea, which was pretty incredible! The views were amazing and the water was so blue, and the hills so green and huge. Again the pictures don't even really do it as much justice as it deserves. On the way, we went along ninety mile beach on the road in this big coach/ lorry 4wd drive vehicle which a crazy driver who repeated the same things over and over again but was really funny and had some interesting stories to tell us (my ipod prooved very useful after a while though). We then went sand boarding on these huge sand dunes and got completely covered in sand, and then went swimming in the sea.
So tomorrow I plan to do some fishing and a few touristy bits and pieces before I get my bus back to Auckland at 4pm. I then start my southbound journey in the north Island the following morning! So lots to look forward to!