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Published: February 21st 2010
Day 70: Friday, February 5th, 2010
Auckland, New Zealand to Paihia, New Zealand.
Per the Contiki Brochure: "Today will be the day awesome scenery, great fun and extreme adventure take on new meanings! Meet your Contiki crew and view the beauty of Auckland's famous harbor as we cross the Auckland Harbor Bridge. Heading towards the subtropical region of Northland, we'll explore Parry Kauri Park before checking into our Resort in Paihia. In the evening get to know your fellow travelers during dinner."
I'm to meet up with the Contiki group at the Mercure Hotel today. The brochure says we depart at Noon so I'm assuming I need to get there before Noon to fill out forms and what not. I'm all twitchy and ready to get going so I leave my hotel at 10:30am and start the 3 block walk to Mercure. It's not that bad of a walk, even with 44 pound Monstro, and luckily is downhill. I get to the lobby and they instruct me the group is meeting upstairs. So, I head upstairs and meet the few others that have arrived as well. Two of the girls I end up hanging out with quite a bit later in
the tour, Tara (from England) and her housemate Jen (originally from France). The poor things flew in from London that morning and are slumped on the couch, dreading the jet lag that is creeping around the corner at them. The rest of the group comes in as does our Tour Leader, Emmo (from Christchurch, NZ). We all sign the forms and we're told we have an hour before we're to get on the bus. So, some of us (Alex from Australia and Danni originally from Scotland but now living in London) wander over to a convenience store and stock up on goodies for our bus ride (which will only be about 3 hours, not that bad.)
We hop on the bus, with driver Mike (from Wellington, NZ), and there are about 20 of us "newbies" and 28 "olbies" who have been on the tour for about 10 days. We're all going to be together until we get back to Auckland in 3 days when the olbies tour ends and we pick up new "newbies". On the way to Paihia in the Bay of Islands, we stop at what Emmo calls "Hug-a-tree". There are two Kauri trees
that are about 800
years old and are huge. We have enough time to hug-a-tree (to show how large the tree is), take a few pictures and hop on the bus.
We get to Paihia around 3:30pm and those that signed up for parasailing start their adventure. The rest of us go to the hotel (Bounty Inn
) and my roommates are Alex, Danni and Nicole (Australia). We don't have any excursions until tomorrow, Horse Back riding for me and sailing for them, so we take a walk around town. We're all in luck because tomorrow (2/6/10) is Waitangi Day
and there will be a sunrise service, festivities throughout the day and many food and vendor stalls along with a free concert at night- we timed it perfectly. Dinner that night is at the hotel where they have made grilled chicken- but with beer cans shoved into the chicken cavities to keep them moist. After dinner, we head to one of the local bars and, after one wild pepsi for me, Alex and I head back to the hotel where Danni and Nicole already are. We're going to be doing the Sunrise Service in the morning and we're to meet Emmo at 5am.
Tot: 2.627s; Tpl: 0.098s; cc: 12; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0601s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb