First stop in our van (stan) was takapuna ...

Trip Start Sep 19, 2002
Trip End Sep 22, 2003

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Monday, October 21, 2002

First stop in our van (Stan) was Takapuna Beach. We went out in the rain to maybe see if we could catch anyone watching the New Zealand V Australia rugby league match but couldn't find anywhere. Just when we were about to turn back we saw a light on ahead.... the Sin Bin sports bar beckoned and we managed to find a seat near the front of the big screen before 150 kiwi fans descended. What an atmosphere!! They lost in the last moments but it was such a buzz to be there.

Back at the doctors, they still wouldn't release me from Auckland as the abcess wasn't healing. They couldn't use the room for the rest of the day as they suspected I might have some sort of bug that would have infected everone else! So we whizzed across to Paha which is a surf dude beach and has the highest wave count in the world. We had a walk on the beach but only saw one guy braving the surf as it was soooo rough.

The next day we went for a walk to Kitekite Falls and saw absolutely no-one else the whole time. When we reached the falls we were surrounded by forrest and scrubland and it was like we had found a secret place where no-one would ever find us. Phil of course, had to get close to the edge and made me walk across the river on the stones but the views were worth all the walking and danger. New Zealand is so beautiful and unspoilt and everyone is so eco-friendly to make sure it stays that way.

Back at the doctors, after some pursuasion, they let me go under strict instructions not to go walking for too far and not to go in the bush away from medical facilities. So we began our journey north and headed for Whangerei (pronounced Fun-ar-ay.... boy have we had fun with this Maori language!!) We parked up on a little bay in Whangerei heads that was overlooked by about 10 houses and only had enough room in the bay for about 2 boats. We slept there overnight with me only half asleep just waiting for someone to come and move us on - (oh how I love being British!!)

Next day we headed for the Bay of Islands which was fantastic. Beautiful harbour, gorgeous beaches and fantastic mountain and forest views. Had my dressing changed (again) and found a camp site that brewed it's own lager! It was also near Hururu falls so we had a wander up there too but it wasn't Kitekite. Talking of Kitty though, we had a visitor in our van in the shape of a creamy coloured cat who plonked himself down on Phil's lap for the evening!

Next day we went out on a boat from the Paihia harbour to explore the Bay of Islands. Phil got nominated chief for the trip. I'll let Phil explain what this entailed.....

" I was standing on the harbour side when this big semi-naked Maouri geeza came charging towards me. He was grunting a lot and waving a big stick. He came up to me and made a number of swipes at my head that I skillfully evaded by staying totally still. He then placed a twig on the floor. We had been told that this was a traditional Maouri challenge and that if I picked up the twig we came in peace. At this point I did consider replying with the traditional English challenge of 'Come and have a go if you're hard enough!' but thought better of it because he was a big man with a big stick and I was a small man with no stick. So to avoid a diplomatic incident I picked up the twig and followed the Maouri warrior to the boat where I had to press noses with him (needless to say I checked his sexual orientation before doing this). Once this was all over I was told that my wife now belonged to the Maouri warrior. Oh well can't win them all. The trip itself was great but very rough. We went out to the Hole in the Rock but couldn't go thru cos of the weather. We didn't see much of the wildlife because of the weather, just one seal. I had to hold back a laugh as a very green looking German leaned over the side to be sick and got drenched by a wave (she should have put a towel on her seat!)"

Back to LJ

Watched the semi-finals of the cup rugby in the bar with a beer - very nice!

After a bit of a lie in we headed for Whaitangi which is the most important place for in NZ historically as this is where the treaty was signed in 1876(I think ?) giving Britain sovereignty. There was a massive war canoe built to celebrate 50 years, a fab beach and a house that the Governor General used to live in. For some reason, we messed about doing Haka poses with our tongue out and Phil took a picture on the understanding that I would then take one of him. Of course he had the camera and fell about laughing at my vulnerability as he had no intenion of capturing his stupidy on film. He laughed about this all day. Yes dear. Very funny. Then it was onto Kaitia which is the last town in the North. We stayed in a park on the edge of the 90 mile beach (actually 96 kilometers not miles) and had spit roast lamb and roast potatoes while watching the other rugby semi-final in the bar with some Kiwis we met there.

PTO for more exciting adventures.

Pip and Red

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