There was this one time at band camp....
Ok.... Thames.... hmmmmmmmmm.... another lovely place where nothing really happened... There were some lovely walks around, but cost a fortune to get the shuttle to and so spent time reading and planning other trips... oh, but i did get my hair cut which was very exciting, esp cos it was so cheap. I did however reacquaint myself with the joys of bicycles as the hostel let u borrow theirs for free and so spent some time each day reminding my bottom what it feels like to be on a saddle. Tilly has never really learnt how to ride so also spent time trying to explain the laws of motion and trying to hide my laughter at some points (no offence tilly, but u did look v funny at some moments). perhaps we shall resort to riding bikes to places a lil further afield, but first more lessons! damn!! how could i forget the 'Grand Day Out"! whilst challenging the cast of the Lord of the rings to another puzzle and after spending our 6th hour on it whilst being distracted by Charlies Angels (easily done) we managed to get some help from a fellow puzzle addict. For puzzle addict read: someone who is unable to leave a puzzle onve they have fitted the first two pieces together, they will sometimes forfeit food and sleep in order to complete the task at hand. So we met Clare (and darren (long suffering partner of puzzle addict) subsequently), she offered much help and her and tilly ended up taking over leaving me the really hard bit, not that im bitter of course. after managing to pry ourselves away from the puzzle sometime after midnight we met over a blurred breakfast table the next day. it turned out that they had a car (yay!) and were going to drive around the peninsula and asked if we'd like to accompany them on a days tour, probably seeing more this way then if left to our own devices. and so we scrambled into some clothes, flattened our hair with wet palms and met them by their car 5mins later. we dropped by pak 'n' save to grab some lunch and headed off up the west coast of the peninsula. we prepared for some car sickness as the road s are slightly windy aroud this part of the country and leave u in no doubt that u are living each corner u take. the views start off being lovely and then get elevated into oh my...". of course this didnt help darren with his driving as each time we turned a corner clare would grab his arm and shout look at that, he did and we then squealed, yes i can squeal when i need to, and begged him to perhaps look at the road. this meant that we pulled over on a few occassions to allow darren a sense of the breathaking views he was missing out on. the camera was permanantly glued to ur fist in case a corner occured and needed some attention thro my lense. the sights were truly fantastic and i became car sick as couldnt keep still as unsure of where to look first... oooh... also got introduced to the memphis meltdown, an ice cream out here... for some reason they dont do white magnums, hello??? what is that about?? anyhow apparently they are the most incredible ice creams and worth a go, sadly i still have yet to put one to my lips as i keep forgetting until all the shops close and im denied again and again. *sigh* oh well... so back to the story in hand... so we drive up until we reach the coromadel town and get out for a quick stretch of the legs and then eat our lunch whilst trying not to be attacked by the local birds, theyre v big and have no fear whe it comes to my sarnies for some reason!! lunch break ok, so then back into the car after a brief discussion about who will drive, i offered but i dont think they heard me as they ignored me... and then we went on the 309 road, a very important road which cuts across the peninsula and has lots of random sites and places to stop at along the way. we didnt really stop at too many as they looked a lil worn down and cost a lil too much for our pockets. but we stopped at a lil waterfall (see pics) and at the honey farm... slightly off track was this lil honey shop which sold manuka honey. manuka honey is known worldwide for its healing propreties and in the uk it costs a fortune!! however here it was incredibly cheap and u cld pick up a kilo for probably a third of the price. it wasnt manned so u go in, choose ur produce and leave the money (honest lot here). but as we were looking around the owner turns up who happens to be from scotland. ok, so shes talking and im thinking she sounds really familiar when it hits me that she sounds exactly like rhona cameron (stand up comic with a rather odd book which is worth a read). i then stand mesmerised by her voice, i try to not stare but this is very hard. i expect she thought i was slightly odd, but didnt seem to mind too much, she jst got into her car and drove as quickly as the track would allow her car to. so clare and darren bought the entire huts worth of honey and we moved on again... we bounced around and enjoyed the views from the edge of cliffs with no barriers until we hit the hot water beach... this is a fantastic phenomen where basically 2 hrs either side of high tide u can dig pits in the sand and they fill with hot water... we strolled over to the area and found people digging with spades, hands, anything really and lounging around in the pits. we smiled nervously at them before being convinced of getting our feet wet (and warm). so off come the shoes, much to the horror of those around, and stepped into a small pool and damn these things are really hot! i was totally surprised as ur about a metre away from the sea which is cold yet ur stood in these pools which u cant really stay in too long as its that hot! anyway, we're dragged from the beach with promises of another incredible sight that will out do all that we have seen so far, impossible? apparently not as we headed for catherdral cove... *sigh*... can i say if u ever find urself with a lil cash and wondering what to do with it jump on a plane and get urself to catherdral cove as it is worth every penny u will spend. u park up in a car park and then are greeted with a 45min walk down to the cove, i have to admit it was gettng late in the day so pondered about waiting in the car but was dragged down with threats of pain of death and worse... regret... so we stumble down the track, which i know is going to be much more painful on the way up, and the sights are stunning, the rocks change, the light changes, the geography changes and suddenly silence hangs in the air as everyone realises that there is defo something amazing out there in order to create sights like this... at one point u stand between two hills and watch the green grass roll away into oblivion and then u turn ur head and ur looking out into the sea where the blues overwhelm u and u wish u had another word for blue cos it dont seem quite enough to describe what ur seeing. so we press on and only 25mins later we descend into the cove.... ....artistic pause.... and oh my god... this place is amazing, i dont actually have the vocab to even begin to do justice to what i saw and im hoping the pictures may have picked up on a lil essence of what was there. we were the only 4 people on the white sands and no words needed to be said... you stand there looking at cliffs, at sand, at water and know that ur are truly blessed to even be allowed to see this sight, u even ponder about blinding urself so that no other image can ever dirty what ur seeing at this moment. you stand still and turn urself in tiny increments as u dont want to miss an angle or view cos u know ull regret it for the rest of ur life. and then u see what it is really about, the arch... a huge cliff juts out into the sea but due to thousands of years of erosion the middle has disappeared leaving an archway leading into the next cove. it is huge and u crane ur neck to take in the view, trees are still growing on the top and roots are pushing their way thro the rock and u wonder in the silence if u can actually hear them growing. the waves soothe the beating of ur heart and u manage to calm urself long enough to get a grip and begin to take photos, each slightly different fro mthe previous but u know the colour isnt quite right, the angle doesnt actually depict what ur seeing but u hope that u can manage to grasp a little of the magic. i can imagine it shifting everytime it hears the click of the camera unwilling to give up its sercrets to those who visit, wanting to preserve its magic for the future generations that will descend on the paths. by shifting u never get the true essence of the place and know ull have to return again. i cld probably go on and on about this but feel that most of u may have fallen asleep by now, but i jst want to say that it is defo worth the trip if u ever decide to make a trip to new zealand. soooooooooooooooooooo...........*deep breath*.... we had to leave as it was getting dark and we still had a long drive back to the hostel so then began the ascent back up... for the time i was in the cove i totally forgot about the walk up and forgot that the first bit was all steps, why the hell do they do that?? dont they know how much more effort it is to walk up steps than jst a normal steep bit of hill. so anyway, we begin walking and i know that my calf muslces are screaming in objection, but we push on and somehow manage to find some serious amounts of energy from somewhere and make the trip back up in 30mins, yay us! so gasping we arrive at the top, enjoy the view thro sweat stained eyes before collapsing into the car. i have to say im so glad i didnt have to do the driving that evening!! and that was thames... it started a lil dull but soon blossomed into something quite amazing and defo worth the visit.