Published: May 6th 2012March 10th 2012
Once back in Auckland we exchanged our bikes for a hire car so we could explore the Northlands, our plan for that afternoon was to get to Cape Reinga, the most northern point of New Zealand. It turned out that our map was not quite to scale and the trip took us the best part of 8 hours. At the cape the wind was gusting as we were right on the beach looking out to the Pacific Ocean, it was also totally dark and I still had to put the tent up, Nice one! The previous day’s efforts were rewarded with a clear morning the following day so we went over to the lighthouse at the point where the Tasman Sea meets the South Pacific. It’s unbelievable, right at that point where they meet there is a straight line of waves out to sea as if someone had drawn it there.
We headed south stopping off at the infamous 90 mile beach which was well, a beach that was 64 miles long! We soon arrived at Mangonui, home of the world famous fish and chip shop that is famous in New Zealand. We had the staple Blue Nose and Chips
which beats cod or haddock any day but then it’s been a while. The Chippy is built on stills overt the old colonial harbour so we sat down and took in the scenery. From here we went onto the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the Maoris essentially gave the British permission to share the island. The treaty is still contested to this day, we went to the house where it was drafted and signed by a collection of Maori Chiefs.
Driving around the Bay of Islands, we should have spent more time there as it is so beautiful but we headed on to the town of Tutukaka to book our Scuba Diving trip for the following day. The Poor Nights Islands which are an hour from the coast form a marine reserve home to dive sites reputed to be in the world’s top 10, our day trip included 2 dives both of which were amazing as the visibility was out to 30 meters. Nat saw an Eagle Ray which I missed. I was busy swimming under the kelp fields, flushing out unsuspecting fish and trying not to get too tangled. The Snapper there were huge compared to what you get
served for dinner and they have pretty turquoise spots underwater which you don’t quite see in their full glory when on the plate, next to the lemon slice! Eels, they look nasty close up in their own habitat, they have rows of sharp teeth and look at you with their beady eyes; we saw several varieties, all sorts of crazy colours, all evil looking.
We made our way south again and stayed on a beautiful campsite owned by the Department of Conservation (DoC) in a costal location called Ureiti. By the time the tent was pitched it was getting dusky so we headed off to the beach for a walk when we stumbled across a weird tide mark that was covered in full Sea Shells, some as big as your hand. Nat set about collecting them, why I don’t know because it’s not like we would take them on the rest of the trip, anyway she snook two little curly shells in my coat pocket.... more on this later.
March the car was returned to Auckland and we met up with a friend who lived there for some drinks in the afternoon. It just so happened
that the Volvo World Ocean Race had arrived in the harbour the day before along with the entourage of boating enthusiasts keen to out-do each other with the tallest mast and tightest trousers. Just as we walked past the stage a girl announced that the podium finishers would be out shortly along with the champagne. On the way to the pub there was a stall with a hand bike affair that simulated a boom hoist (something to lift the sail up with) I signed up for a go as there was a leader board topped by the Turkish Team who were actually in the Ocean Race. Up I stepped after 2 pints previously in town and managed 5th
on the board, best of all a random tramp watched the whole episode and was demanding that they append my name to the list, needless to say we left!
There are more photos below