This early start took us up to Paihia, a town included in my Stray pass which you usually have to pay extra for as it's right up the north tip of the N island. Rebecca and Annas pass also allowed them to go further up again for a day trip to Cape Rainga where you get a 4x4 across '90 Mile Beach' (which apparently is actually closer to 90km) and includes sand dune surfing and kayaking. I was a bit disappointed as I thought my pass also included this but apparently not... anyway, even if it did I didn't actually have the time to do it before my flight out of Aukland, and therefore I wouldn't see any of the N island at all! (Whoops Queenstown).
Our driver for this leg was Miss P (allegedly short for Perfect) and there was only one other girl on board, Vicka from Holland. On the way we got to stop off to see a huuuge Maori tree, which when Anna, Becca and I held hands and wrapped our arms around didn't even cover a third of the trunk. The whole of the N island used to be covered in these trees but most of them got cut down (i can't remember the reason Miss P told us... but anyway this one was quite rare and apparently brings safe travels and good luck to travellers if you touch it). We also stopped at Whangarei Falls for a little walk and photo opportunity.
There isn't that much to do in Pahiai if is raining and you have no money (my situation) so we wandered the town and I tried grilled fish for the first time yum. We all slept the afternoon to catch up for last night and I was forced to watch Sex And The City - I think I must be the only girl in the world not to have watched a single episode of SATC (and now a convert which is worrying seeing as there's something like 10 series and 2 films to catch up on..)
Next morning I woke at 9.50 and packed frantically (checkout at 10) because I had to head back to Aukland while the girls went further north. There was only one other guy getting the same bus as me south so it would be a quiet one. We all just watched SATC until our required buses arrived and said our goodbyes :( It's been so much fun travelling with the 2 girls and on more than one occasion people have mistaken us for being older friends so it's weird that we've only known each other for 3 weeks... felt a lot longer :)