Trip Start Aug 01, 2007
91Trip End Jan 11, 2009
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Well, I ended up spending 6 nights in Auckland. To be honest, I didn't really do too much exciting other than drink a lot of coffee and walk around a lot. I did however do the Stray free city orientation. A bit cheeky considering I am already a Kiwi passenger and have indeed done the Kiwi day trip! Oh well, had to find some way to fill up the time! The crappy thing about staying put in a place like Auckland is that there is a lot of turnover. I would meet a few really awesome people, only to have them jump on a bus, etc, a few days later. I also randomly ran into Jo who was on my Feejee experience bus, and spent a few days with on the islands! That was really cool and we spent a day together before she got onto the bus as well. We actually did attempt to go to the Kelly Tarltons Aquarium, however made the mistake of thinking it was within walking distance
On Monday, I was chatting in the apartments with some girls who had been in my dorm, and trying to leave on a road trip for four unsuccessful days in a row. (Waiting for the newly purchased van to have some repairs done). I offhandedly commented that I would love to get out of the city. And that was that, I was in! After some passenger shuffling (one decided not to come, me going, and another girl going), we got some supplies, and after some minor difficulty getting onto the motorway (we could SEE it, but didn't know how to get ON it!)... we were off!
It was pretty late the first night when we left, so a little after an hour, we decided to pull off the highway and ask a man mowing his lawn (he owned a cafe up a little hill) if he knew where we could camp for free, he generously offered his lawn to us. We just had a relaxed night, figuring out how to configure the seats, and getting to know one another. We actually managed to sleep until 10 in the morning, had some coffee, and onwards to the next destination: Paihia, my fave town in all of the North Island. (Wellington is a city!) En route, we stopped in Whangarei to get some more supplies. Bread, cheese, and peanut butter would become our staples. We then made a stop in Kawakawa to visit Hundertwassers toilets, as recommended by Lonely Planet and the most photographed toilets in NZ.
Arriving in Paihia, the girls were suitably impressed by its gorgeous views
Anyways, the next few days were just spent chilling and having a good time. We drove to Haruru Falls (a second time for me). Then we just randomly drove a few kms further down the road, we found lots of good places to stop for some gorgeous lookouts, as well, Mt. Bledisloe, which I think had some of the most stunning views I have seen thus far in the North Island. (I know, I can't wait til South Island!) We managed to get in some sunbathing as well, although it was definitely not warm enough in the water for a swim!
Thanks to "Blind Dating" at the Salty bar, we managed to score two 2-4-1 vouchers for a day sailing trip. So we each got to get a 6 hour day trip for only $40! Bargain. Even better since we ended up being the only passengers! It was a bit cloudy and chilly out, but it was a great day. We saw some dolphins from afar, playing around and jumping up and splashing and everything. Too cool! We also did some snorkeling (thanks to wet suits!) and saw some Stingrays. (This actually scared us a little bit, but they weren't doing anything besides chillin on the seafloor.) Then, after lunch, our skipper Luke offered us a chance to sail the boat! I decided to give it a go. Basically steering the wheel and not crashing into anything. Mission accomplished! It was a good last day together for us girls before I had to head back to Auckland.