Hello....is there anyone here? - Matai Bay, Northland

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May 28th 2012
Published: July 24th 2012
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We woke up the next morning to a pretty dreary day for the first time on the road trip so far. Still, we didn’t let it dampen our spirits, and we comforted ourselves that considering it was winter, we had done quite well for weather up to now.

Despite being overcast, the drive was again spectacular. I happened to be driving on this day, however Donna and I take it in turns to drive on alternate days, this way, we each get to have one day of fun in the driving seat, and the next day to relax and take in the views. We also have a deal. Whoever is driving gets to pick the music all day, and the passenger makes dinner. This means that after a long ride, the driver can sit back and be cooked for, and whilst driving can sing along to their favourite tunes! So far, this had worked out perfectly.

Since we have set out on our trip, we have seen and heard more than a fair share of stereotypical references to sheep and how many there are in NZ, and we just wanted to say something on that note. Yes, there are indeed a good few sheep here, and compared to other countries we have visited (this excludes Wales by the way) there are definitely more than the average. However, what no one seems to have mentioned is that cows are in abundance here as well, and although we have no factual data, we think that so far, there have actually been more cows visible along the way compared with sheep! This was all too apparent during our drive to Matai bay, when out of nowhere, we had to give way to a herd of passing cows in the middle of the highway!

In regards to the cows to sheep thing, please do not feel the need to bombard us with sheep facts or Wikipedia stats, this is simply an observation we made and felt the need to share it!

When we finally got to Matai Bay, the rain had started to fall, and it really was quite miserable outside. The campsite we were staying in was a DOC (Department of conservation) campsite and these are all over NZ. They are usually placed a little outside the main towns and cities and only usually have a basic toilet and a spot to camp on. As these sites are only around $7 per person (about £3.50), we decided we needed to stay at as many of these as we could. Being winter and the DOC site being a tad out of the way, we arrived being the only ones here. No staff or security, no wardens or other tourists just us…alone…in a dark, muddy, spooky campsite!

It was a little strange at first, as so far we have always had at least a few other vans around us and the managers or security staff on sight, so to be completely alone, was a little eerie, however, once we were tucked up in our van cooking and playing cards, it was all good. Going to the toilet was a little freaky, but we managed to brave it out…twice, and actually due to the silence and the rhythmic patter of rain on the van, we both got a great night’s sleep.

Our next destination was to the tip of the North Island and Cape Reinga where we both hoped for better weather and I hoped Donna wouldn’t put on any Take That albums……

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