I’m a bit behind on my posts. Now that I’m looking at the date, it’s about 7 to 8 days, so more pictures and less type. It was a late arrival to the Paihia on February 5th, due to stopping in various locations for pictures, food, and bathroom breaks. I spent what was left of the day doing laundry and walking the coast. The other 8 travelers also talked me into doing a day trip to the far North for 107$, which was worth it.
|Tane Mahuta is the largest living kauri tree in New Zealand|
|I like trees :)|
|The dunes at Opononi|
|The coast of the Paihia during sunset|
Day two at the bay was spent at the Maori Festival. I lucked out being there, considering it only happens once a year. It had the Twin Lakes Festival feel with a bit extra. The highlight of the day was the long boats that the Maori paddled along the coast and then onto the beach. Traditional dance, singing, and rituals were on display, and all for free. The second part of the day I hiked up a trail, and shot the panorama that I’m currently using as my blog header.
|The video of them chanting as they rowed does this scene more justice|
|Arriving at the coast|
|Landing the Waka(canoe)|
|Watching over the Waka|
|Traditional Maori dress|
|Detail of the Waka carvings|
|A better view of the day's events|
|The coast of Paihia|
A whole day was needed to journey up North to Cape Reinga. I paired up with a girl from Germany, so we could take pictures and have someone to talk to. I know how to pronounce her name, but I’d butcher the spelling of it. Our driver for this part was phenomenal. He was so entertaining and comical, that there was laughter on the bus constantly. We stopped in various places to snap pictures of kauri trees, swim at the beach, sand board, and grab some fish and chips. The buses are made to drive on the beach, so the driver roared the bus at the surf only to swerve at the last second. Let’s just say everyone on the bus nearly S*!# their pants, but it was a good laugh after. After a long drive on the beach we arrived at our destination. Words cannot describe the view from the hill overlooking the lighthouse. Just look at the pictures.
|Good energy from a kauri tree|
|Our hilarious driver|
|The bus on the beach|
|90 Mile Beach|
|As far north as one can go in New Zealand|
|Hopefully I'll see some of those places|
|Staircase in a kauri tree|
|Only dug up Kauri trees can be sold and the prices reflect that|
There was no plan for the final day in Paihia since the bus was leaving at 4pm. Natasha from Austria and I hiked up a trail that overlooks the bay to waste some time. We also walked along the beach, and decided to do a 5km trek to Haruru Falls. We decided to hug the highway on our way back to make the trip a bit shorter, and a bit more dangerous.
|Flower along the hike|
|As the tide subsides you can see the river floor|
The remainder of the day was traveling back to Auckland. She and I had drinks at Swashbucklers since I liked the bar so much last time. Thanks to Grant for pointing out a great local bar far away from backpackers, except ourselves.