Happiness Is The Road
Jay was a lot better today. All the pain in her stomach had gone but she was shattered and had a sore throat from all the peppermint pu-khe ing! Missy the big black cat came sauntering over to check that Jay was okay before we left which was really sweet of her. She waved us off with one of her big black paws. We were heading right to the very top of New Zealand today. On the way back down the Karikari Peninsula we had a look at the little coastal town of Rangiputa. This peninsula was mainly farming country and we saw countless fields full of sheep and cows. Sheep actually outnumber people 11 to 1 in New Zealand! We also saw a load of turkeys in one field who were erratically scurrying about. Bearing in mind that it's only two months away from Christmas Day we were shouting at them 'go and hide, your lives are in imminent danger'! It was a drive of just over 100 kilometres along a sometimes very winding road to Cape Reinga at the northern most tip of New Zealand. It's logging country here and we passed loads of logging trucks hauling huge tree trunks. The truckers along with virtually everybody in this country drive like demented nutters. We haven't seen such bad driving since being in Tasmania! The scenery on the way up was green with rolling hills and forests. There were tropical looking trees thrown in here and there. The road up to the top had been reasonably quiet but when we got there the car park was rammed with camper vans and tourist buses. The weather was quite warm and dry with the cloud beginning to clear. We followed the path to the lighthouse about a kilometre from the car park. Jay went slowly but did so well getting there considering what she had been through yesterday. Cape Reinga is the point where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet. Both oceans were calm and serene today. The two seas weren't clashing today as I'm sure they often do. According to Maori mythology the spirits of the dead travel to Cape Reinga on their journey to the afterlife to leap off the headland and descend to the underworld to return to their traditional homeland of Hawaiki. We ambled back to the car park on this northernmost tip to continue our journey around this green and vibrant land south. Our next stop was the Te Paki sand dunes. We had gone past the turn off for them on the way up. They were just a couple of kilometres from the main highway. The road there took us through lush and green fields reminiscent of the English countryside. Suddenly though we turned a corner and looming up over the fields were these absolutely vast and giant yellow sand dunes. They were an incredible sight to see especially with the change in scenery being so sudden and dramatic. We then continued our journey back south with the intention of stopping the night at a camp site in Pukenui. It had good reviews but when we got there we both got a bad vibe about it. It was a scary looking place! We needed a plan B so after consulting the map we headed to a place called Ahipara which is on the coast just south of Kaitaia where Jay had been treated so well yesterday. The camp site at Ahipara was okay and we got a nice secluded spot but it wasn't ideal. The camp site also doubled as a backpackers hostel and the amenities and communal areas were riddled with annoying and inconsiderate young Europeans. Our note to selves was not to stay anywhere again with an attached hostel!