Week two in new zealand

Trip Start Nov 09, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thursday 19th

 after a good sleep in the camp site we climbed on board the tour bus, we had wondered about driving up the coast to the top but on several peoples advice decided to take the 6 hour tour bus . the camp site was right next to 90 mile beach so only 5 mins down the road and we drove onto the beach. 90 mile beach is actually a highway with all the rules of the road, it is actually only 67 miles long and stretches from Wainui Junction  to Te Paki  . we got out of the bus and took pictures of the beach as far as you could see sand and sea amazing... as it is a highway there are few people sitting on the beach but many buses and cars....interesting...!!

Back in the bus and it was soon obvious our bus driver, Jason, was a good laugh he told many stories and kept all 38 of us laughing all the way... 45 minutes later the scenery had not changed, miles and miles of sand and sea and dunes..it was interesting driving on the beach but the water splashes soon covered the windows in a sandy film...so the views out to sea were somewhat limited.

Another stop for piccies was opposite an island with an interesting sea cave / archway which we could see right through... then back on the bus and shortly afterward we turned right off the beach to drive up Te Paki Stream. According to Jason the main thing was to keep the momentum going and as far as possible drive in the flowing water rather than the sandy bed to the side that could become quicksand that the bus could get bogged down in (apparantly that had only happened to him once before).

As the stream passed by a series of extremely high sand dunes we stopped, along side half a dozen other buses.. First job - Jason jumped out of the bus to check that the wheels were not slowly sinking in his selected parking spot. Success, we were ok. Next Jason unloaded toboggans from the storage bays below our seats - enough for any one who wanted one.

Well after my experience at the oasis in Peru I was more than ready to take on the challenge. Unfortunately whereas in Peru we had had a sand buggy take us up to the top of the dunes and collect us at the bottom here it was  haul yourself to the top from the river bed, dragging your toboggan behind you. After the usual two steps forward one step back I finally made the top and selected a suitable launch site as far up the ridge as I could get ( and away from the hoard of novices from the other coaches).

Remembering my experience from Peru (keep you feet up) and Jason's brief chat about closing your mouth and leaning backwards as far as possible I was away. Awesome ride to the bottom. I had time for two more runs before Jason donned his yellow cap (that meant it was time to get back on the bus).

After the sand tabogganing we drove along the Te Paki river bed, in the fresh water , Jason said to clean the bus of salt (and plancton)...up to Tapotupotu Spirit Bay. this is lovely sandy bay with high  rocks either side we found a shaded spot on the grass under the trees and Jason prepared our packed lunch which we enjoyed with views of the awesome beach.

 After a paddle and photos we set off again to Cape Reinga, or Pohutukawa as it is known by the maori people. This area is still owned and sacred to the Maoris and we are only allowed there if we abide by certain rules... they believe when they die their spirit travels all around new zealand and then enters the 800yr old Pohutukawa tree growing on the rock at cape reinga and then enters the waters by the roots for everlasting life..

we stopped here for 45 mins long enough to walk all the way to the lighthouse and in fact the most northerly point in New Zealand..the views were amazing... the two seas meet here the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea and you could see the currents forming as they joined together. the beaches down below were beautiful, mainly untouched, aquamarine sea flowed into the bays and the rocks were interesting and plentiful, what a super place it was full of positive energy, I loved it..

Leaving the cape we drove back along the only road on the peninsula, which was only sealed last year apparently, and knew we had made the right choice coming by bus, the place was desserted no houses no people and very barren, it would have been an uninteresing and lonely drive, but we were with jason and the crowd so we were having fun listening to all his tales...

we soon arrived at the most northerly store in New Zealand at Te kao, where we had an awesome ice cream...sadly we were unable to go to the silicone beach today, Jason said buses were not allowed at the moment but we saw from a distance the perfect white sand which sweaks when you walk on it due to the high silcone content.

back towards home we passed through the ancient forests with 2000yr old Kauri trees, the had been dug up from the peat and reckoned to be that old...the trunks were huge they were lying in the fields drying out ready to be used to make many things later..

after being dropped off at the camp site we enjoyed our first meal outside under the awning overlooking 90 mile beach... what a super day...

Friday 20th
we headed for Wainui junction the real start of 90 mile beach... we had lunch there watching kids playing in the rock pools..we followed the tourist route through Broadwood and Kohukohu .... quite interesting very small townships and loads of estuaries and mangroves... we caught the ferry to Rawene just a 20 min car ferry across the estuary and had a quick walk around the village before driving on to find a P O P at an awesome spot on the end of a peninsula with views in all directions across the estuary... only two other vans were there and the weather was super..we took an evening walk along the shoreline watching fisherman and birds as the sun set ... awesome..

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