Published: January 18th 2010January 18th 2010
Tauranga for New Years Celebrations!
So the hitching began looking to replicate the same success of previous efforts. Within minutes we’d been picked up by a nice guy on the way to pick his boss up from the airport. Great, airport in Tauranga would be just fine, that was until 10 minutes later when he pulled up at Rotorua airport and let us out. Grrr! We were grateful for the lift don’t get me wrong but now we were perched next to a fast flowing busy main road where the likelihood of anyone being able to see our sign as they passed, never mind have the time to pull over, was slim. However we gave it a go and as luck would have it a white Land Cruiser pulled up with our host driver for the next hour, Graham McKenzie, what a guy! Graham not only graced us with a lift all the way to Tauranga boat harbour but he also talked non stop for the entire journey about his passion for farming in particular his love of Swiss Browns (a breed of cow) and all his other stories including being a cow judge and being rammed multiple times by
an angry 800lb bull which fractured bones, broke ribs, punctured his lung and the only thing that annoyed him was that he was unable to dodge it having rode rodeo on bulls for many years. He’s what I would call a proper farmer!
We jumped out at the boat harbour in Tauranga and said our thank you’s and then called into a nearby café to weigh up our next movements whilst enjoying a wedge of chocolate cake. We decided to give Raewynne (my distant cousin) a call from the café to see how far away she lived from our present location. It turned out she lived only 5 minutes drive away and so said she would come and pick us up. Back at Raewynne's house we were welcomed in where we sat and chatted about her family and mine and our connections along the family tree. It was really interesting listening and talking about our different families.
A little later we met Colin, Raewynne’s husband, a very friendly and chatty guy and then took a visit to see Raewynne’s mum and dad who lived nearby. More tea and cake was offered and indulged and after another half an
hour of chatting about our family and travels Bowks and I decided we would head out for a walk along the beach to walk off some of our cake. It was lovely walking down the beach and the sand was soft and smooth between our toes. The coastline was very picturesque with a few small islands just out of the bay and at one end of the coastline stood Mount Maunganui which was a large mound that could be climbed with supposedly great views from the top. Well, Inca trekkers such as ourselves would find this a walk in the park, so off we set to scale the mount. We first walked half way round its base and climbed on the rocks next to the sparkling clear water and then made our accent to the top.
Great views from the top were exactly what were in store, you could see 360 views of the surrounding area. The beach, bay, harbour, Tauranga and far beyond. You could also see on the edge of the harbour entrance/exit a Maori statue which apparently before leaving the harbour to go to sea it is good luck to throw him some food in return
to be kept safe at sea. (Apparently an Australian Navy submarine had been leaving the harbour when a navy guy stood on the front of the submarine, threw him some food as for good luck and whilst swinging his arm right gave the instruction to the subs captain to bank hard to the right causing the sub to become beached upon the sand bed).
We sat and took in the amazing views and then with time ticking on we headed back down and back to Raewynne’s stopping only briefly to watch the lifeguards training in the sea and calling in at a couple of bars on a recki for new years eve celebrations.
The following day (NYE)
We had chatted the night before and come up with our plan of action for the day which consisted simply of walking into town and having a bit of a wander and look around then head back to Raewynne and Colin’s to enjoy a NYE drink then head to the Mount where we had been the day before as there was a big NYE party with bands etc on the beach and enjoy one of the first in the world
to see in the new year!
The plan went swimmingly! We first enjoyed the wander in town where we chatted about the idea of us doing the Nevis bungy jump in Queenstown and scared ourselves silly, then went to the fish market near the quay and had some fish and chips, finishing off with an ice cream then wandered back picking up a pack of Tui beers (local beer). Having enjoyed a beer or two and having some lovely New Zealand lamb (thanks Raewynne) we then headed off down to the Mount for its lively New Years Eve offerings. First stop was an Irish bar, always a good place to start, or so we thought…it was dead, although the streets outside were heaving for some reason it was not on the circuit so after finishing off our drinks, watching a couple of old ladies playing on a Nintendo Wii and having a brief chat to an ex Strangeways convict who said he’d been in for relieving banks of their money we headed off just as the woman running the place began to close the bar as she saw little point on staying open. I can safely say that was
a first, I have never seen a bar that has had to shut its doors at 10pm on NYE due to not enough trade, you certainly wouldn’t get it in the UK. Anyway, onwards and upwards, we headed off to find a little more life this time with success.
So having drunk a few more drinks we walked the short walked and counted in the New Year and watched the fireworks. What a beautiful setting, the full moon glistening on the water and the warm night air, live music playing on the stage over looking the beach and best of all a really good vibe. With our flip flops off and toes in the sea I looked around and thought to myself how lucky am I?
Next was to play ‘I’m going to be the first person in 2010 to…’ which I fulfilled by being the first person to do 21 successive feet clips on alternate sides, well I think I was the first anyway! Surely there can’t be too many people doing feet clips at 1 minute past midnight? Then onwards to watch the DJ on the stage where we pulled out our dance moves on the
beach with the other revellers.
NYE celebrations complete we then began our journey back to Raewynne and Colin’s on what was a long walk at 3am. Happy New Year!
There are more photos below