Heading north to Cape Reinga
Trip Start Feb 28, 2008
2Trip End Ongoing
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Yep, Glenda was our campervan. We'd be staying in her for six weeks, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried by the confines of her 'sleeping' area. Basically I'd be getting into bed with Lee for the next 42 nights, and waking up next to him every morning. Lucky me.
So off we went, across the famous Auckland harbour bridge, setting course for the Northland. Our first stop off was a toilet. But not just any toilet though. It was the famous ornate toilets of Kawakawa and very nice they were too.
From there we travelled to Ponsonby, and then decided to spend our first night in Glenda at Paiha in the Bay of Islands. The weather wasn't great. In fact, it would be safe to say that it had been pissing it down pretty much from the moment we left Auckland - but our spirits weren't dampened (see what I did there).
After a frantic moment the next morning, when we thought we'd lost the keys to the van, we set off to have lunch at the Kari Kari penninsula. This was the moment when, as a campervan novice, it dawned on me that we'd be in for a real treat travelling the country in our own mobile home. We drove up to a deserted beachhead and had lunch out of the back of Glenda. Although it was a bit overcast the scenery was still pretty stunning and I knew we'd be seeing plenty more along the way.
Now, it's at this moment that I have to admit I was a bit rough with Glenda. As a joke, while Lee was taking a picture, I drove off down the road on my own then attempted a three point turn to go back and pick him up. It didn't work and I ended up sticking Glenda's backend in a ditch. The worse thing was I couldn't get out.
Thankfully an old boy drove past (we hadn't seen hardly anyone else on the road up until this point) and saved the day. After asking how I was, and me sheepishly replying what I'd done, he got out a tow rope. However, his car wasn't powerful enough to drag Glenda out. Then I received my second bit of good fortune when another guy came past in a 4X4 and offered to help. You've got to hand it to the New Zealanders, they are so friendly and helpful, and I owe these particular two gents a great deal of thanks.
Glenda came out with a dented bumper. I lost a bit of pride. And thankfully Lee wasn't too angry with me.
After my 'incident' we drove on to Kathia where we booked ourselves an excursion to see the Ninety Mile Beach, which led to Cape Reinga, the northmost point of the North island. We took in a spot of lunch at Hokianga harbour and then camped near Avanui before getting up early and parking Glenda up at a campsite so we could go off on our excursion.
The first thing to say about the Ninety Mile Beach is that it isn't ninety miles long. But the excursion itself was very informative and the old boy doing the driving and the commentary was very good (even if some of his one-liners were on the cheesy side). As well as some local history, and a monster ice cream, we were treated to a walk on Rawawa beach (with its squeaky sand) and tried our hand at sandboarding down some monster dunes at Tepaki.
The next day (the 4th) we took a look at the Kaori tree museum at Matakohe, which was more interesting than it sounds, and then stopped by Leigh and Goat island on our way back down to Auckland. Unfortunately the weather still wasn't great, so we didn't stay too long in these areas. Then it was on to Warkworth where we did some much needed washing and Lee bought himself a lovely underwater camera (which would be put to great effect later on in our travels).
Our aim now was to get to Hamilton to catch a bit of the first cricket test between England and New Zealand. Would we get there in time?
To find out, you'll have to wait for my next installment.
Until then, toodle pip.