Top of the Country and Back

Trip Start Nov 23, 2009
Trip End Jun 10, 2010

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just got back to Auckland from an incredible trip up to the northern most point of New Zealand! Picked up by bus this past Wednesday and were shuttled up to a small coastal town named Paihia.  Along the way we stopped at a beautiful Kouri forest that seemed to swallow the bus whole as we slowly drifted under its dark canopy towards the entrance to a pathway taking us further inside.  We walked around staring in disbelief at the size of these magnificent giant Kouri trees, which are second only to California Redwoods in size. 

Paihia is a quaint northern town located in the Bay of Islands region, which is full of stunning scenery, yet we actually only spent 1 full day there.  The day after arriving we headed even further north to Cape Reinga at the very tip of the country.  Such a great time!  We drove along a stretch called 90 mile beach for an hour, literally on the sand close to the breaking waves and headed to a set of towering sand dunes.  We parked, grabbed some buggie boards and climbed the searing hot sand all the way to the top! Really exhausting actually since the sand gives way every time you step against it, but so worth the effort because not only do you absolutely fly down these dunes, but at the very end there's a jump that shoots you into the air only to splash down into a thin stream of water.  Upon touch down you skim across the water up to the 40 feet before stopping the ride!

The next area we headed to after dusting ourselves off was a beautiful beach that allowed us to test out the chilly water of the Pacific Ocean.  Thankfully, the water was some what clear because as soon as I dove in my sunglasses came shooting off, a successful mad scramble ensuing.  From here we cruised to the famous Cape Reinga.  You walk down a small path along a mountainous ridge down to a lookout point and lighthouse.  From the lookout you gaze upon the horizon and get a front row seat to the Mighty Pacific meeting the Tasman Sea in a series of small rapids. 

The last day of this northern trip was spent in Paihia and it all started out simply by walking along the beach front brainstorming different ideas, when all of a sudden it hit us!  Hobie Cat rentals!  We bargained a reasonable price and after talking to the owner for a while, he suggested a sailing adventure across the bay to the even smaller town of Russell for a pint in the oldest pub in the whole area.  So we set off!  Great winds carry us to a great time shooting pool, eating a cheeseburger and fish and chips, while enjoying that ice cold pint. 

The ride back to Auckland was a little crazy with pouring down rain and wet, winding mountain roads with an inexperienced driver behind the wheel, it was only her second time driving the large bus by herself! The bus also broke down for a short while, but we got to see the world's largest Kouri Tree!!!  So absolutely majestic this tree was and it literally made your jaw drop it was so impressive.  Also the fact that its been around since before Jesus walked the earth is mind boggling.  

Well working our way south now! Enjoy the pictures,

Brayden and Austin
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Andrea Hart on

Hi guys, am a New Zealander in the Turks and Caicos with your grandma so will enjoy your travels in NZ. You are hitting some of my favourite spots. Make sure you go to Lake Wanaka in S.I. one of my most favourite spots of all. Also when you are back in the North Island, make sure you hit Rotorua, Tauranga and Mt. Maunganui which is my home town.

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