12/10/11 Kerikeri campsite Bay of Islands
I noticed this morning, in the campsite shower, that the varnish on my toes needed retouching. I made a mental note to address this at the earliest possible opportunity.
I hoped that I could retrieve the nail varnish from it's hidden depths within the camper-van, that's if I could remember where I'd put it. You see, with space at such a premium there's a place for everything and everything must be in it's place. It has to be so in order to function properly and with Ian captaining a tight ship, there is no room for shoddy housekeeping. (Is there girls?)
I am not, by my own admission and contrary to popular belief, a particularly well organised camper! It takes me a few days to settle in and get organised and it's fair to say that I have definitely brought too many clothes. (Don't tell Ian) There are items of my clothing stored in most of the available storage areas.
We have a three berth van, (two for me and one for Ian!) which is fairly spacious but still requires some agility and manoeuvrability in terms of storing belongings and avoiding each other.
Anyway, it's more than adequate, extremely clean and comfortable and will be our 'home' for the next two weeks.
Let me take you back to when we picked up the van as it's difficult to keep on top of this blogging malarky and be on the move at the same time. Our days are full on and by the time I hit the 'put you up' bed, I'm asleep. Then I have to have Internet access to publish. Needless to say, photos are few and far between, but some of you lucky people will obviously enjoy our 'viewing evening'. Invitations pending!
Ian commenced the driving, which left me to navigate our way out of Auckland!!!
A selection of popular phrases, used during this initial part of the journey were as follows:-
"Why are you turning the map around?"
"Which way, which way?" and
"Oh for f**** sake". I failed to see the problem...!?!
After a couple of mis-directions, not my fault, we were soon heading north and up to our first camp site, Kerikeri!
It was absolutely throwing it down when we arrived, but we were soon 'hooked up' and I was rustling up a chicken stir fry, which we washed down with a bottle of Hawke's Bay Sauvignon.
After a good nights sleep, I awoke to what sounded like R2D2, sitting on the roof of the camper van. It was in fact a bird, with an amazing singing voice, known round these parts as a 'w*nkyw*nky bird! (I made that up as I've yet to find out what it was called.
After breakfast, we headed up north to Cape Reinga, taking in 90 Mile Beach on the way. A fantastic stretch of pristine beach stretching out as far as the eye can see in both directions.
Cape Reinga was shrouded in mist when we arrived and gave it an altogether 'eerie' atmosphere, which added to the spiritual significance of the place.
The Maori consider Cape Reinga the jumping-off point for souls as they depart on the journey to their spiritual homeland. It resembles a giant diving board as this long and thin headland gives you an-end-of-the-world feeling, being the most northerly tip of NZ.
It's also where the waters of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet, breaking together into waves that crash into each other and create whirlpools. A strange phenomenon.
There's a smell in the air here, which is quite distinctive and yet unrecognisable. It's a little bit musky, a little bit smokey and has tones of pine/fern; it permeates the air and again, adds to the atmosphere.
We headed off back down the diving board as time was ticking on and we needed to get to a camp site.
The scenery is beautiful and very varied, ranging from dark and brooding to sunny and curvy. You could go for miles and see nothing but hills, green fields, trees and the occasional clapperboard house, then run into a township with all sorts of amenities including, in one out of the way town, Zumba classes.
This was a long drive and Ian had suggested a campsite closer by, on the East coast. However, I had other ideas and feeling that we would be that much further south, suggested we push on. 'Di' the campsite official in Kerikeri had said it would be too much but, hey, what did 'Di' know?
Remarkably, Ian agreed and we headed south west. The rain increased as darkness began to fall and as the road was somewhat isolated, the chances of seeing a petrol station also diminished. This was unfortunate, as the diesel gauge likewise, was falling fairly quickly too.
Ian began 'chin stroking' and 'la, la la'ing', always a bad sign. I became increasingly more nervous as the road went on and on and on....
We had enough diesel to make it but not knowing the road or how easy it would be to locate the campsite was disconcerting.
Eventually we came across a one road town with a petrol station that was open, another variable to take into consideration given that by now, it was about 7.30pm.
With one less issue to worry about we carried on. It was now pitch black and we were about to start a long ascent on a road that a sign informed us, was going to contain bends for the next 25kms!
Bends, switchbacks, mist, rain and fog, we had it all, but we battled on and eventually found the campsite at 8.30pm! Phew!
From now on the fuel tank will never drop below half full!