Jen: So with a shed of tears and feelings of excitement Bernie (our car)loaded full of Val, Ean, Jen and Brick started their travels of the north island. By the time we had sorted out all our clothes, last minute chores, i.e. Bricks passport from the UK embassey which was almost forgotten etc etc. We left Wellington to hit rush hour traffic and got as far as Waiterere Beach before it was dark and we used Michelle's parents batch as our campsite.
A quick stop to jump in the lake at Taupo and Rotovegas was our next stop and the smelly town brought some bad times. While admiring the beauty of the blue lakes, our car was being broken into by a punk and his girlfriend of a ethnicity common to the area . They helped themselves to my wallet , camera, mobile, toilet bag, Vals bag and worst of all Eans computer. A couple of English tourists told us they were driving a Green Toyota Windom, so in a fit of rage we decided to chase after them. Little did we know that Toyota Windom's in green colour were the most popular car in Rotorua, but every one that we found had a good look over but we never found the right one.
We busted out of Rotosmellyvegas quickly and headed to Tauranga for sunshine and good beaches. The Mount as always gave us great waves and hot weather.
We headed to Waihi beach for Cas and Angela's wedding. Camped on the lawn of Ange's Mum. The wedding was fantastic. Ange looked great and the wedding was nice and relaxed. The reception ended with Abbie and I on the dancefloor, realising that we were keeping the Bride and Groom from their bedroom. So off we went loaded up with wedding booze and walked the long way home.
Ha Hei beach was my (Jen) pick for the next beach spot, as it's the best beach in NZ (others can dispute this but I'm sticking with it). We went to Cathedral Cove and body surfed some fun waves. Cathedral Cove brought another thief to our belongings, this one was in the form of a South African (had to at least say to Ean not all the kiwis are bad). This guy decided that taking our frizbie would be okay. This time it was Brick who did the chasing and caught him!!! Later that night we went to hot water beach and dug a hole in the beach to get to the hot water springs. Had to watch yourself on various spots as it could be scolding in parts.
Next day we headed up north to Pakiri Beach near Leigh and due to the long drive arrived at 10pm. The owners thought we were highly dodgy. After much questioning and suspicious looks they let us pay $60 and pitch our tent!! But apparently they was a noise ban after 10pm so pitching the tent was probably going to be too loud!! We did wonder if the campsite was a cross between a concentration camp or a front for a 'P' lab. Anyway next day we left quickly and headed to Goat Island, Leigh (marine reserve), which had heaps of different coloured fish and luckily no great whites!!
Bay of Islands brought great weather mixed with thunderstorms. We stayed in Paihia in a much friendlier camping ground right on the beach front. We visited my granny in Russell took her out to dinner. Visited the local sites of Russell, including the oldest church in NZ and flagstaff hill.
We took the long way to Whangarei on the coastal road past Tutakaka Beach (Leesa we even swam at Wellington Bay!!). Heaps of beautiful beaches along the way. Had a chores day in Whangarei and then off to Jaffaville
In Auckland we stayed with Amy in her fortress house with security gates all around the house!! Felt much safer about our belongings there (yes parnoia had already set in). Managed to catch up with a few ex-Studholmers- Sarah H and Aileen. And then it was off to Canberra....
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