20th october - touching the north got on a ...

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

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Monday, October 21, 2002

20th October - Touching the North.

Got on a coach to take us to the Northern most available place - Cape Reinga. We stopped at a couple of fab beaches first, the best one was where we had lunch. There are a few places where you feel just right and this was one for me. The water is so clear and it comes in so fast with glittery edges creeping closer like a pancake mix going around the pan. The beach was sheltered in the high mountains surrounding it so it felt quite warm down near the water's edge. I could have stayed there forever but we had to move on to the lighthouse. We walked down the little track and took our cheesy shots under the signpost to places like London, Sydney etc. It was just over 19 thousand miles to London so I felt quite homesick for a moment or two. The two seas also join here (Tasman and Pacific) and you can see a line of waves in the sea off the rocks. It's a very spiritual place where the Maori people believe you end up when you die and you have slid down the kauri tree roots into the water so you are not allowed to eat or drink at the lighthouse and you do get a feeling of being at the end of the earth. Back on the coach we headed for 90 mile beach but first I need to tell you about our driver Kingy (a maori). When we got on the bus we thought my Dad had joined us (Happy Birthday by the way Dad) as Kingy looked and seemed just like him (though he was a better driver....) He spoke very slowly and repeated important points several times and never shortened anything and we were in hysterics in our seat as we caught the eyes of the other passengers.
Phil's trivia question - what is the toughest sport in New Zealand?
Answer - sand tobogganning! Kingy dropped us off at a sand dune area where we had to climb up soft sand dunes and sledge down. After taking an age and knackering myself out on the first hike I only did it once. We kept sinking and it was a bit like going up a down elevator! I stuck my legs out to stop myself on the toboggan and got sand in places I didn't even know I had places! Several days later and I can still taste it and keep finding it. Kingy then took us along the 90 mile beach in the coach. The beach obviously stretches as far as the eye can see but is also very wide and there is room for loads of vehicles to travel safely. However, Kiwi Experience had an accident there 7 years ago and are not allowed on the beach anymore and people are often getting swept away in the big waves that come up so unexpectedly there. We saw a car deep in the sand and well rusted that had lost it in the sands a few years ago which is there as a reminder to be very careful. We steamed along the sand and it was awesome! Then we had a quick paddle on some rocks and yet more photos of the massive waves that crashed around us looking very dramatic.
After trying to shower some of the sand away we headed back south to Paihia where Phil cooked me peppered steak and smoked the whole camp out so that people came out of their vans and huts to see what was happening!

Heading south again we stopped briefly at a beach on the way to Auckland and while we were munching our sarnies in the back of the van we were approached by a family of Auzzies who wanted to look in our van. They ended up giving us their phone number and we promised to let them help us find accommodation in Coogee Beach for the Christmas period. Weird huh!

As an aside, they mentioned the Bali bomb where they had lost friends from the rugby clubs there and we discussed what we would do. It seems many people think that South East Asia should be avoided altogether but we think this is a bit over the top. The chances are still much higher in the Western countries from old Al Qeada. Other than that, you just never know about anyone anywhere else so the whole world is just as much at risk. The big problem among travellers is lack of info. There is a lot of unrest here that America knew there would be a risk there and advised it's citizens accordingly. No other country warned their people and obviously those who have been affected are pretty disgusted and angry that this information was kept from them. The government here though are saying that there was no indication of a specific attack and there was therefore nothing to warn anyone of. We'll obviously keep an eye on things and avoid any large gatherings of westerners so don't worry and we'll let you know of any changes in the itinerary when we've decided what to do. We do know that we will be probably be extending NZ by a week to 10 days though as it is just so wonderful here.

We'll be in touch again soon but now we're off to Waitomo down the West coast on the way to Wellington to see the glo worms and the caves.

Bye for now

Pip and Red
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