You've just got to love the first full day of your holiday. You wake up that morning and think 'I'm here, and it's all just beginning- I've got however many weeks off, and work is as far away as it's going to get'. You can sleep in, chill out, relax and enjoy the serenity that is that first day of holidays. Unless, that is, you want to go and have some fun.
W started our day early but as it turns out Stell should have just stayed in bed. First day- first hour of the first day- she drops and breaks her camera. She's shattered (much like her camera), I feel very sorry for the poor thing who was so excited to take some great shots of our trip. We met up with Brad from Tourism New Zealand not long after who was able to put a smile on her face when he told us that instead of a rental car, Jucy Rentals were going to be providing us with the coolest campervan tis side of the Tasman! Like it says on the side of the van it has everything- including the kitchen sink!
After picking up our groovy new wheels and saying farewell to Brad we raced down to Auckland's Viaduct harbour to enjoy the water in the fastest and most heart-thumping way possible- Jet boat! On arrival we were presented with some very fashionable ankle-length ponchos and life jackets then jumped aboard and pulled away from shore. I tell you, there is no other way to see the bay. Getting up to speeds of 100kmph, performing spins and twists and turns. You will never enjoy sightseeing more than from the back of one of these beasts. With about an hour on the water you are able to get a fantastic tour of the harbour while having a completely exhilarating time- both of us just kept looking over at each other with stupid smiles glued to our faces. So, all grins and shaky limbs we came ashore- totally soaked (tip: wear the hood on the poncho, it's there for a reason), we jumped in our van and hit the road, off to Paihia, about three hours north of Auckland.
We decided to take the scenic route, which adds about 10 minutes on to the trip, but cuts out the tolls. Totally worth it, driving along the coast is always nice but when you throw in rolling hills covered in dozens of different varieties of trees, giving an almost patchwork appearance to the landscape, it makes driving a pleasure. I was a bit nervous handing Stell the wheel, as she is notoriously accident prone- she could crash a hatchback in a paddock, but to my surprise she did just fine and we arrived in Paihia safe and sound.
The YHA seems friendly; we're just a short stroll from the beach and shops. There wasn't enough daylight to explore properly but the town looks nice and you can see quite a few small islands from the shore. Early night tonight, it has been an exciting first day but we're really just warming up.