Published: May 20th 2010May 20th 2010
Hello again everyone, I had a fantastic day on my trip up to Cape Reinga 3 days ago! We left at about 7am and drove through a town called Taipa, the one thing about Taipa is that there’s a place called Cable Bay there. Apparently in the 40’s and 50’s, there was a cable going all the way across the Pacific to the west coast of British Columbia Canada! When the driver was explaining it I shouted out that it connected to Bamfield and he was pretty surprised, as no one he had driven before had ever known that.
We went to an ancient Kauri forest and got to tour around the board walk that the New Zealand government spent millions on for the Queen’s visit (she didn’t even end up walking on the thing), and saw some huge trees. I’ve seen some big Cedar in my day but these things are solid the whole way through. The Moari also used them to build long boats and feel that they are Tapu (sacred). On top of all that, the Europeans found that they were great for masts and that the sap from the Kauri was just about the coolest thing
for the ship building and furniture industry since the nail, since it could be used as a water sealant and was one of the best furniture stain around. Massive deforestation followed and now there are very few Kauri forests left, the ones that are left are very protected.
After the forest walk, we got to the sand dunes. After a shot speech about how to not get run over like an idiot, we started the climb up to the top of a 125 meter dune. The first time I went down was the slow and safe way, I got on the board (the size of a boogy board but with a strong smooth plastic underside) on my stomach and the driver pushed me down. I was able to stay in control and made it about 10 meters into the water at the bottom, not amazing but not to bad as about 1/3 of us wiped out before the bottom. The second trip down was a bit more exciting, a couple of the guys and me who were waiting at the top for out turn asked the driver if we could take a run at it, he showed us how
and we were off. With a short run you get going down that hill pretty fast, I managed to keep control and kept going until I was about 18 meters through the water. I somehow made it up the sand dune a third time (no small feat) and thought to myself, “If a short run sends me down the hill with a bit of pepper, how awesome would a long sprint be?” So I gave myself about a 20 step space and sprinted at the downhill, executed the mounting of the board perfectly and flew down that hill like a bat out of hell! I don’t know how fast I was going or how I stayed in control, but I made it to the wide stream at the bottom where, due to my speed, I promptly bounced off the water, turned in the air, and pulled the most massive wipe-out of the day!
After I got up there was a little cheer from some of the other guys who were doing the running start technique (though no as far as me) and I got my picture taken to show how covered in sand and water I got. After and
little wet and uncomfortable ride to a beach, I swam and dunked in the other end of the Pacific ocean. Lunch was had friends were made and we got back on the bus for a drive down 90 mile beach (which is really only 102km but they didn’t change the name because the Aussies have an 85 mile beach and they don’t want to give them the satisfaction). Anyone can drive their car on the beach, but it is advised that you go within 2 hours of high tide because the sand is harder. The beach itself is patrolled by police cars a few times a day and they are usually there to ticket speeders (anyone going over 100km on any of New Zealand’s roads) or helping tourists who’ve gotten themselves stuck in the sand.
After that we went to the Great Kauri Kingdom where they make art and furniture out of what is called swamp Kauri (Kauri trees that have been buried in swampland and preserved for up to and over 45,000 years [carbon dating is only accurate up to 45,000 years]). They also have a massive spiral stairway up to the second floor of the building carved
out of the centre of one of these logs which is about 14 feet across. We had some fish and chips on the way back and were home in time to catch the beginning of a movie that was playing in the lounge at the Base Hostel.
I’m in Whangarei now (pronounced Fangeray) and I’m seeking employment. The outlooks right now is promising, but I may have to lie about the amount of time I am able to stay in the requested position simply to get the job. I’ve also met another traveler named Kerstin who is looking for work and would like to stay in Whangarei for a few months so we’ve been talking about finding a 2 bedroom apartment. The rent on most places is about $110 per room per week which is cheaper than the Bunkdown Lodge where we are staying now. It is a nice place and the owners share one of the kitchens with everyone in the hostel, the place itself is an old style (Victorian?) home with huge vaulted ceilings and moulding edging everything. I try to get some pictures later, right now I can only upload a few as I am in
a café that only allows 60 megabytes to be uploaded and downloaded.
I’ll try to post more pics later today!
There are more photos below