Bay of Islands, All Alone!

Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
1
4
12
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of New Zealand  , Northland,
Thursday, October 4, 2012

Up at 6am to get a lift with Mandy and her friend Darren. Lovely drive up to Wharangei then left to get the bus. Just being stood at the bus stop by myself made me feel pretty independent, just goes to show how unused to being alone I am. Bus ride up to Paihia was unfortunately grey and rainy and the same on arriving, so a grim 5 minute walk to the Mousetrap Hostel feeling more and more apprehensive. I don't really know what I was imagining would be so traumatic.
'I think i've booked a bed here, Rosie Eccleston' ' Ah yes, write down your details, 20 dollar deposit, and I'll show you around''. I feel so proud.

Felt even more proud of myself going shopping to save money - decided I could survive two days on just bread, cheese, baked beans and fruit. But then it cost 12 dollars. So I'll be fat AND poor.

Booked a cruise for tomorrow morning, then the afternoon involved a bit of (intermittent) sunbathing taking in the awesome view, beans on toast and a few drinks with a girl in my dorm - a German biology student also travelling alone. All relaxing and enjoyable but I again feel pressure to actually do something.

Got up early, checked out and headed out for the cruise at 8 am. Beautiful sunny morning over the bay. The Bay of Islands is a popular destination, kind of mediterranean islandy with lots of forest and white sandy beaches and, surprisingly, 144 islands so stood at the end of the road  with noone yet up around was amazing.

The cruise itself was equally amazing although it did get cold once the speed was up - I was the only person in T-shirt and shorts, but refused to shiver or sit inside due to English pride.  The cruise told us the history of the island where Cook landed, dolphins swam alongside of us, including a gorgeous little calf then we went through the 'hole in the rock' apparently what used to be done in war canoes. We then stopped off o the biggest island which again was beautiful - sandy beach, lush forest and turquoise waters. The sheep grazing on very Yorkshire looking hills were comically at odds with this, and I set off alone to wander about these hills and get lovely views of the bay.  
 
On the way back we were dropped off at Russell, the original capital, previously the 'hell hole' of the south pacific. Now it is a very quaint  (posh?) town with a cute harbour and pretty wooden houses. First scary experience being alone was taking a scenic shortcut to flagstaff hill - a track heading down through dense forest which  turned back off after five minutes. Possibly pathetic of me but I decided those are perhaps the situations that people get themselves into that 99% of the time are fine but could go wrong. Noone was around and noone knew I was even in Russell never mind that track.  
 
Back in Paihia enjoyed a hot choc watching the harbour when Carly Rae came on - very surreal but made me miss the rugby girls and at the same time happy to be sat in such a beautiful place in the sun rather than in Liverpool. Watched a game of touch rugby on the beach as well, but too afraid to ask to join in. Maybe next time.

On the bus back to Auckland I was again struck by the friendliness of the driver. It was the same on the bus here and on the boat - loads of corny jokes and just a sense of genuine friendliness and happiness that I don't think you find in England and that actually makes a real difference to the journey. I suppose that sounds stupid. Beautiful views again on the drive back with the sun out, big rolling green hills with idyllic pastoral scenes  alternating with dense bush.

Auckland city looked equally beautiful at night across the water, and finished the day watching a romcom with the girls having survived my first, albeit brief, foray into solo travelling. Although I do have a cold. 
 
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Comments

Mum and Dad on

Sounds brilliant so far.
Some pics would be nice.
Jane was asking what you are up to if you want to invite her to look at your blog

Jane and Stephen on

Glad to hear you are enjoying everything it sounds great .Thank you for including us in your blog. Enjoy youself.
Lots of Love xx

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