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Published: January 30th 2007
Looking out Paihia Harbour
Woke up at 7.00am, had breakfast and got the rest of our stuff ready and we were on the road for 8.00am. We had a quick stop for coffee and hot chocolate at the BP station at Bombay Hills which is just before Auckland.
We got through Auckland with no problems and carried on up State Highway 1 until we reached Orewa. The main reason was to go to the UK shop to get some Bisto granules for Aunty Tina - but they didn’t have any so all we got was Diet Irn Bru, Vimto and some Walkers Crisps. Not a wasted journey.
After that we carried on until we got to Whangarei and had some lunch and a bit of walk round. The weather was lovely and it was a shame to get back in the car but we were on a mission to get to Paihia before 5pm.
We went straight up to Paihia after that and got there just after 3pm. We were staying at the Abel Tasman motel (and guess what - it was on the ground floor for a change). We got changed because the weather person said
Me and the Kauri's
it was going to rain all day but the sun shone and it was at least 23 degrees all day. Shorts on, and then out for a walk down to the tourist place to check that we were going to get picked up for our trip the following day.
The American rep couldn’t find us, but then his boss did and we got our tickets after him telling Aunty Tina that the bus would be full of 19-20 year olds and they would all be backpackers. She told him that she could act like a 20 year old and there wouldn’t be a problem !!!! NOT IMPRESSED.
Then we went down the prom for a bit and into a pub for a quiet drink. By this time it was nearly 6 so we went back towards the town and found an Indian takeaway/restaurant and had our tea in there. It was OK but not like a proper restaurant. Anyway, we went back to the motel to watch a bit of tele and then to bed because we were getting up at 6.15 and picked up at 7.15 the next morning.
Uncle Andy with the Kauri's
outside the motel at 7.10 and the bus came about 10 minutes later. There was a couple older than A Tina and U Andy but the rest were youngsters. A lot of Asians, some Brazilians, American, Canadian and British so there was a big mix. The driver was a kiwi called Cain and he was a good laugh. He knew loads of stuff and tried to tell us loads of history for the whole trip but some of the passengers either didn’t listen or couldn’t understand him.
Our first stop was at Puketi Kauri Forest to see some ‘young’ trees. These were only 300 years old, 60 metres high and were babies. The largest one there was 75 metres high. They are also the second largest tree in the world after the Redwood Trees. Once they reach this age they start filling out and get really wide. They are used for canoes and also logging for houses but a lot have been felled so they are having to plant a lot. Cain said there are only 4% left in NZ.
After that our next stop was a bakery in Kerikeri for a snack attack and to
Kauri tree reaching for the sun
stock up with water and food because there would be no more opportunities to buy anything until late afternoon. We all had a pie and a drink and got some more water.
We carried on up the highway then until we reached 90 Mile Beach (which is actually only 64 miles long). Cain then took the bus on the beach and we drove along the waters edge for 32 miles. It was AWESOME. We stopped near the top to take some photos and have a stretch of the legs.
Then we came off the beach at The Bluff and then went to climb the gigantic sand dunes which were 85 metres high so we could boogie board back down. The sand was really hot and the dunes got steeper the higher you went. Felt like I was climbing Everest. I was 4th up and was a bit scared about going down head first, but it was really good and you could get up a fair bit of speed. I got covered in sand because it was blowing on the top and we had all just put sun tan lotion on. Coming down was just as bad
90 Mile Beach
Posh folk on their trip up the beach
because it went everywhere it could and other places too.
Uncle Andy waited for Aunty Tina and they came down about 15 minutes after me. Uncle Andy went further because he didn’t put his feet down to brake. Aunty Tina didn’t scream and got down quite far but the feet were in the sand the whole way down.
When we had finished there and all had a good rub down to try and get some sand off, we drove up to the very north of the island to Cape Reinga. We saw where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet and you can see the white foam where they join.
The Maoris think this is a very spiritual and mystical place and say this is where their loved ones go when they die, go into a tree and out to sea back to Hawaiiki where they came from - yeh right.
The light house and the mileage marker is right at the end and it is 13,000 miles to London but we were closer to the South Pole. It wasn’t cold though.
After that we went down to Tapotupotu Beach to
90 Mile Beach
Looking down 90 mile beach
have some lunch and have a paddle in the sea. It was nice to be off the bus for more than 10 minutes and have a stretch again.
We left the beach at 2.15pm and then we had an hour and half on the bus back down State Highway 1 to the Kauri Forest Museum at Awanui. There is a very big Kauri tree stump in the middle of the shop and they have cut into it to make stairs which go up to the top floor. It was really smooth and looked smart. Oh, forgot to tell you it was raining when we got there, but didn’t last long and the sun came out again. Just so you know there is a bit of rain here.
Cain took orders for Fish and Chips but we decided we were going to wait until we got back to Paihia for our tea. We stopped at Mangonui for the ‘best fish and chips in NZ’ allegedly and the Asian people were taking photos of their meals. WHY. It is only a small place and because the bus took up so much room, we couldn’t stay long so most
90 Mile Beach
Our Awesome bus - the big yellow banana
folk had to bring their food on the bus. It smelt really good but decided to fall asleep so we didn’t have to watch. Well me and Aunty Tina did because Uncle Andy kept slipping on the sand on the aisle and couldn’t get to sleep!!!
We dropped off folk again at Kerikeri and then we carried on back to Paihia. We got back at 6.30pm and had a shower and went out for something to eat. We were all shattered so didn’t stay out long, went back to watch a film but couldn’t stay awake till the end so went to bed about 11.00pm after a really long, but very enjoyable day.
We left the motel at 9.15am and went down the wharf and got a ferry across to Russell. It is a very olde worlde place which had a few shops, museums and NZ’s oldest church - Christ Church. Not a lot to do there so while we waited for the ferry back, had an ice cream which was very welcome because it was VERY HOT. No rain today.
Went back across to Paihia and left there about 12.00. Our
90 Mile Beach
The three of us
first stop was for lunch at Waipu. Uncle Andy was in his element because this is a small Scottish community and they have Highland Games on the 1st and 2nd of January every year. Street names like Nova Scotia Ave and Robertson Place to name a couple. Oh and we checked the lottery to find out that we had won $116 - tea was gonna be good.
We took a steady drive back down to Hamilton after one further stop just below Auckland Airport. We went for our tea in Valentines which was a buffet type restaurant. Nice food, but I think we were all ready for getting home. I never fell asleep once which surprised us all. Anyway, we got back to Cambridge at 7.30pm and then it was fighting as to who got the tele, computer, phone and the post. I think I won 3 out of 4.
Well, that was my last big adventure while I am here. We are going out on Friday night to the racetrack and there will be a few people there who I have met while I’ve been here, then on Saturday it is off to Hamilton for
90 Mile Beach
Me and the big yellow banana
the Chiefs v Brumbies rugby match. Looking forward to that.
SUNDAY - is off up to the airport for my flight home. A Tina will put the last of the photos in and some words, probably good riddance, but you will all know that I am on my way home.
THAT’S ALL FOLKS from the travels of Eb in sunny NZ. So, take care and I will see you all soon.
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