There was this one time at band camp....
so a quick bus ride throws us in to the area at the base of the 90mile beach. we stayed at ahipara, but due to a complete lack of public transport we got dropped off 14kms away and had to scrounge a life in someones camper van. but, it was all worth it when we fell out onto the front lawn of the hostel and were faced with the most gorgeous views of the beach (please see photos for this). so ensued a few days of relaxation in the most fantastic setting possible. well, unless u count the owner of the hostel. this man was the strangest man i have set my eyes on, not ugly or whatever but jst odd. he minced better than most men i have seen and have the most femine stance in the world, but was married, apparently. for the first few days there was no sign of wifey and so i concluded that he was both husband and wife and jst dressed up to whoever he felt like being. of course this all fell down around my ears when on the last day she appeared next to him and unless he was a world class robot builder then ill have to admit that i might have been slightly off base. anyway, onto the important things, what i actually did here... hmmmmm... well there was the obligatory sand castle building and sun bathing. in fact one afternoon i got so carried away paddling that i ended up swimming fully clothed... it was slightly cold but nothing like the uk beaches and i cld actually see the seabed which is a first for me! lol. ooooooh.... how cld i foget, the day trip around the 90 mile beach, which is actually nearer 65miles, hmph bloody liars. anyhow that didnt ruin a fantastic day. we booked a trip thro a company called sand safaris and if ur around this bit of nz anytime i recommend u go with them. so u get on the coach around 9 and start by driving thro kaitaia and having a history lesson from the bus driver. he outlines the day and explains that it will finish with a coach wash at the ancient kauri kingdom (local kauri craft centre (for those who dont know kauri is a tree which is very precious and grows to be very huge (the largest is 51m high, a girth of 18m and is thought to be over 1500 years old))). so we pick up all the passengers and head off to the 90 mile beach. at certain times of the day u can drive up the beach and so this is what we did, which is a really odd, and dangerous, thing to do. we stop to have a look at the sights and get wet and cold cos we have that kind of luck. the driver then drives us up this stream/river thing which is very important to the beach, but i was still trying to warm up so missed what he said, hehe. and then the sand dunes and damn these things are huge. i dont know if any of u have ever been to dawlish warren but these things look like mountains in comparison! and what to do? well sand toboggan of course!! the driver empties the bus of small plastic toboggans and then invites us to walk up and sledge down. great, until u realise how steep they are and that technically there are no breaks, other than ur hands dragging in the sand. i laugh and mock those speeding down and almost breaking their necks and the next thing i know my shoes and socks are off and im at the top of the dunes about to launch myself down... i think i may have agreed to this but i cant be sure.. so off i go, yelling words that young people should not read and therefore wont write! im trying to dig my hands into the sand to slow myself down but cos its been raining the sand is harder (and faster) than normal. thankfully i manage to stop before i end up in the river thing and then spend the rest of the day extracting sand from crevices i forgot i owned. next stop was the lighthouse at cape reinga, mostly believed to the most northen tip of nz but apparently it isnt. anyway, so the driver pulls out lunch, explains that we are stopping here to eat before embarking on the rest of our trip which will end with a coach wash at the ancient kauri kingdom. we struggle against the wind and make our way down to the lighthouse for photos, see album. struggle back to bus for hot drinks and nice muffins. due to the tides we cant drive back down the 90mile beach so take the road back down being serenaded by the bus driver in maori and promises of a bus wash at the ancient kingdom. For a treat we stop off at a little(ish) gumdigger park. the owner has managed to recreate the authentic feel of what it was like to live life as a gumdigger, i must say its not a proffession i would chose. basically the gum diggers dug pits to try and find gum which is mainly used as a type of varnish. it looked like seriously hard work which led to an ultimately solitude existence. the owner has also managed to excavate kauri trees in an attempt to discover more about their demise. the kauri tree population (please correct me if im wrong vita!) took a huge hit some years back which flattened most of them. theories are around on what might have caused this. the most common one i have heard is that a tidal wave swept thro the area and pretty much demolished them. this thought comes from the fact that when the karui trees are found and dug up they are lying in the same direction and have been ripped up, roots and all. anyway, it turned out to be a really interesting trip. then back on the road with more singing and more promises of the bus wash at the ancient karui kingdom. the bus driver did invite people to come forward to sing, but strangely enough noone accepted the offer. so we arrived at the ancient kauri kingdom where we spent some time looking around the gorgeous carved items (u can see my getting down in the tree in the photo album). and there ended the day. so yeah, if u do happen to be in this area make sure u go on one of these trips as they are loads of fun and really informative, espcially if u get the singing bus driver!! I have to admit that we didnt really do much else other than eat, relax, cook brownies and enjoy the quiet at ahipara. it was so lovely that it felt a crime to leave for other sights when they were so gorgeous where we were. here endth the reading.... for ahipara anyway, sorry folks more to come!