Where Auckland ends New Zealand begins

Trip Start Jan 28, 2011
Trip End Jul 30, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just a heads up, it is all three of us writing this together unless stated otherwise!

After a fairly uninspiring couple of days in Auckland, we decided to hit the road jack, and rented a lovely white Nissan Sunny (good ol Vinny we called it) for a cheeky road trip to the Bay of Islands and general Northland area......which proved to be the best decision yet. 

After many variations on "oo let's stop here, this beach looks nice" and the Whangarei falls (the Paris Hilton of NZ waterfalls - not very impressive but apparently the most photographed) we finally arrived in the beautiful Paihia the main town in the Bay of Islands. The hostel was awesome and we embraced self catering as well as having our first night out and discovering kiwi bear at $4 (2pounds). It was here that we realised that yes, Georgina "olive skin" Graham can, indeed burn! And burn she did (ten days later she is describing herself as a snake shedding its annual skin). While coming to terms with no ozone layer in NZ, we splashed out and took a sailing trip around the islands with our Canadian skipper Mike. We were tremendously lucky and had amazing weather, dolphins playing around our boat and the realisation that whoever said NZ was dull or like England has clearly not been to this part of the country! We stopped for lunch on a stunning, near deserted, island where we met our inner hobbit and hiked barefoot and found paradise on a white beach with deep turquoise waters.

After suffering only mild sunstroke from our sailing excursion, we took in another of the Bay of Islands must dos, Maori extravaganza, Waitangi Day. NZ's version of history.....it's like two hundred years old!! Bless. Something to do with a signing of a treaty that's still being disputed today is nothing to have to have a song and dance about.....however that's exactly what happened and the Maori haka was incredible. Much fun was had between the fried food stands (NZ's seem to batter everything, with the run of the mill fish and chip shops offering deep friend scallops and mussels, tasty but wrong) and bantering George about being a BMW, Beautiful Maori Women. I personally want her to get a traditional Maori chin tattoo but probably for the best, she is not too keen.

Sadly our time schedule meant we had to leave Paihia and take Vinny back on the road to venture to the west coast. Jen's excited sighting of a rare Apaloosa (some horse with a spotted bottom...yes we forget she's a horse geek) was to be only the start of the amazingness that is Ahipara, where we realised that after Paihia paradise was definitely not lost! We found truly the most beautiful "lodge" ...safe to say that if Carlsberg did hostels, it would be in the form of Endless Summer Lodge. Situated at the gateway of the Ninety Mile Beach we embraced chilling out to the max but not untill after a cheeky bit of sand-boarding on some of Ahipara's epic sand dunes. It was let's say....an interesting experience. Involving having to beat a tide from cutting off our route, probably getting sunstroke and burning our feet (eeep) as well as George's "slight" tumble into a conveniently placed patch of wilderness. There was quite a contrast between Wells' reaction of fits of laughter at the top of the dune and Jen's face of shock at the bottom (WHAT am i going to tell Cazza?!). All was well after George dramatically flung her sunglasses to the ground and strutted off into the sea to de-sand "I'm OK!" Lots of fun even if we did take a bit of bruising to our bodies and egos.

After tearing ourselves away from paradise, we ventured on to Omapere further south which made our selected sand dunes look hugely inferior. These were sand MOUNTAINS! We ventured into Waipoura forest to see the biggest Kauri tree in NZ - it was indeed a biggun! And while Jen played about with pretty much every option on her camera we imagined ourselves in Fangorn forest. 

Unfortunately the stupid windey and extremely hilly roads came to an end and we arrived back in Auckland where we were met with our first bit of rain.....paradise lost.

......but not for long- Next Stop: Hobbiton  *girlish squeals!*

Lots of Love Wells, George and Jen xxx
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