I left you with our incredible day on monday (which i have thought of more things to say about, so will update that asap!), that was our last day in the bay of islands, we ended it watching the stars for the last time up the top of the north (i tried to take a photo but my camera couldn't really capture them!), and chatting to the lovely people of the hostel. we've been given many tips, do this, don't do that (well mainly things to do, people don't really have any "don'ts" here!!).
Early early tuesday morning we crept out of our dorm room, we were in a dorm of 8, 4 bunk beds and everyone was sound asleep, after sorting out last minute things in the corridor we were packed and ready, bag on back, breakfast in hand we were ready to go
. Its so lovely and cool, and fresh at that time of the morning as we walked along the water front to meet our naked bus (look back to previous reference of this!). Winding back through the roads of the northland its just so hard to believe one country can have so many faces, forests, farmland, desert like areas, mountains, flat plains before finally reaching the huge, beautiful, sprawling city of Auckland. Suddenly auckland was in sight...you recognise it straight away, its got such a signature skyline (i mean i know its the only possible city around here that we could have been hitting, but straight away you're like woop thats auckland, i had such a lovely homing beacon feeling. Skytower stands up above the rest in fact i think i have a picture of this...hmm ok so you can just about see it on blog 6 buuutt it doesn't do it justice, so don't look at that, i have an awesome postcard of it, you'll just have to wait and see!).
We stopped for a quick lunch bought from a sushi market stall we found, really cheap, really fresh -they make it in front of you, really delicious! before hopping on our connecting bus and making our way to thames! Picked up by my wonderful granny we spent the evening discussing everything we´ve seen, want to see and planning the next couple of weeks! plus eating, they defo feed us well!
Wednesday morning we pottered down to a local car rental place and picked up a little nissan for pretty cheap
. We drove right around the penisular to the opposite side, was quite funny it was an automatic - steve had never driven one, we rang my dad for a quick crash course and then we were off! once his arm stopped twitching to the gear stick and trying to put us in reverse we were fine! jolly good job it was an automatic we had to go through mountain passes, we the road winding at extremly sharp angles with no warning, steep drops right from the road and locals tailing you until we tourists let them past he definately needed both hands on the wheel!! a beautiful drive through forests with a river at the bottom of the steep drop it was a spine tingling journey!! haha! we finally pulled up on hot water beach, half way down the beach is a natural line of hot water springs, people dig down and get 60degree water bubbling up into their little pools. Pretty surreal, you walk out onto the beach and see lots of heads in the sand! you need to be there the two hours either side of low tide before the sea rushes up and destroys the lot!!! unfortunately we got there a tad late, the pools with any hot water left were full of people. we saw many deserted ones that were cold and the sea was nearly there! this isnt really a beach to swim in, there are huge rip tides here so you just don argue with it! a shame we didnt get a hot dip but we´l have to go back in the winter and get the timing just right!
Thursday is the title naming day
! my grandparents and aunty sue treated us to the most fantastic day! We jumped in the car and sped down the country southwards a little way to a town called matamata! once here, a quick signing of official documents (i´ll explain later!) and we were escorted off in little hobbit buses!! HOBBITON!!!! totally fantastic! now i´m not sure how much iḿ allowed to say for fear of the film company that they warned us about all day, i cant show you any photos or say to much about the set. this was due to the fact that the majority of the people who have been on the tour saw it in a half destroyed state (bare as bones!) but the filming was due to be taking place right now, but unforseen circumstances has pushed the filming back, but the set is ready!!! so we saw the actual set of the shire. but also a new bit which has been built this time around for the film ¨the hobbit¨ so as you can imagine they are a bit touchy about secrecy! what I will say is that I was blown over by the amount of detail they put in (literally months of work) for a shot that will have 2seconds of time in the films! the way they capture everything and the lengths they go to for exact replicas of how the book described it, unbelieveable! an amazing place to be, steve was in his element!!! we heard a lot about the farmers (the alexander family) who own this farm and the day that peter jackson (the director) walked up to their door to propose a contract with them! the tour finished back at the alexanders barn where the farm workers demonstrated shearing a sheep - haha the poor thing looked embaressed at the end was half of its starting size and then another highlight - i got to bottle feed a lamb!!!!
! haha it was so funny and so head strong and they just want more and more and they are so cute! i loved it! One the way back we drove through a little town called Paeroa (pie-roo-a), its famous for its lemon and paeroa drink (shortened to l+p) its been bought by coca-cola and is sold all over nz. My aunty sue couldnt believe we hadnt tried it so dived out of the and bought us our first bottles of l+p, safe to say it is now a favourite - steve especially is totally addicted, its a lovely sweet fizzy lemon drink =) Finishing the day with fish and chips I just couldn´t believe we had had such a wonderful day!
Friday was to be our last day in the coromandel for a while, we chose one of the many walks offered around here for the morning. Up to the Waiomu Kauri Grove (pronounced y-O-mu), stunning trek! you leave the road and just disappear into the bush (what they call their forested areas!), following a winding track, slowly climbing the gorge there is just no one there! surrounded by trees and crickets and birds - you hardly see them but they are so loud! the path disappears into a river (7times one way we counted!) and you hop and skip (but quite slowly!Haha!) over the boulders with the water rushing around them before continuing up the mountains. After many a river crossing you come to a steep steep set of steps going way up- you cant see the top, soon you realise that you are stepping up between Kauri trees (i´ve talked about them before, a native tree that they are trying to protect, the king of the forest and one of the most incredible types I have ever seen
! Huge and straight up they tower over everything else) you feel a certain level of awe as you climb through this whole group of them and then stand with them at the top!
After making our way back through the gorge and the river! we headed back into thames, picked up big provisions and cooked up a huge dinner to say thankyou to my grandparents and my aunty for being such wonderful wonderful people to us. and what did we finished the night watching...could have only been one thing - the fellowship of the ring.
Love to you all,
Hello all, its been a few days since I gave you an update, we've been poking around the coromandel penisular (from thames and up the piece of land on the map!) its such a beautiful area!