I have finally managed a few spare moments to catch up on photos and blogging after a pretty hectic week up in Northland. i (finally!) left Auckland last Saturday and headed up with the Stray bus (which is a backpacker travel company) to the far north. We stopped on the way for some snorkelling at Goat Island and a few scenic points for photos before arriving in Paihia around 4ish - some of u may have remembered i went to Paihia last year for 2 days as a little break but this time i was there for 5 days as i wanted to head right up to the top of New Zealand.
Saturday night was spent in the bar - isnt it always?? and then we were up VERY early on sunday for the full day trip to the top. We cruised up past a load of forest regeneration where we encountered the giant Kauri trees and stopped off at a few little towns along the way. The main part of this trip is the drive up Ninety Mile Beach all the way to the top. Ninety Mile beach is technically a highway in NZ, but for obvious reasons only certain vehicles (and those with insurance!) can use it. The drive up there (which is 64 miles in total) was amazing and we stopped off a couple of times to get some snaps - as you do :o)
Our next stop was for the sandboarding which was something i was really excited about doing, until i saw how high it was. i mean a chairlift could have been appropriate! it was bloody tough trekking up the sand dunes in bare feet dragging along a board - hence why i only did it the once. but it was so cool on the way down that it made up for the effort getting up. i would recommend this to anyone heading up here it was a hell of a lot of fun! We carried on driving after we hit the sandunes on dirt track roads to the very top of New Zealand - Cape Reinga. Its where the 'clashing of 2 seas' occur....and dont ask me which ones, its late and im really tired :o) I spent a little while up here wandering around and reading the info points - and taking loads of photos, before we all started to get a little peckish and itching for a swim so we headed back into the van and drove to a little beach where we could eat lunch and have a swim. And the HIGHLIGHT of the day was the penguin! he was soooooooo cute, just minding his own business in the middle of the beach, he was quite happy posing for pictures :o) we wanted to put him in the van but for some reason the driver wasnt too happy about that.....wonder why?
That night we spent back in Paihia (with an early night) as we were yet AGAIN getting up early the next day for our Dolphin and sailing trip. The dolphin trip was something i had been really looking forward too, as i have never seen dolphins in the wild. They do operate dolphin swims but as a lot of the pods have babies in them its not really safe (for humans or dolphins) for it to happen - so we had to make to with a sighting trip instead. It took a while for the 'copters to locate a pod but when they did it was amazing. i was so gobsmacked at how playful they were and how high they jump out of the water, it was so worth the money spent on it. And as u can tell i took many photos...........
We were then transferred over to another boat - an 'on the edge' catamaran for our afternoon sailing. We had a kiwi bbq on board the boat and cruised into a bay where we could get off and have a swim/snorkel/kayak/sunbathe etc...for an hour before our afternoon of sailing around the bays. As you can probably imagine the weather was gorgeous and after a really hectic previous day i wanted to chill out and sunbathe on the back of the boat- so i let all the others do the hard graft! :o) it was awesome. The cat went really fast and i got some great pix of the islands.
So that was pretty much the 2 days of activity! the next 3 were spent sunbathing, sunbathing and eating Fish and Chips. No joke. i think we tried all the fish and chip shops during our stay here. So thats pretty much up to date now as im off to the Coromandel tomorrow for a few days - or maybe a week, i havent decided yet - so check out my pictures and the video of the dolphins and i will blog again soon!