All the Way to the Top!
The last week or so has been filled with more beautiful campsites and cool small towns (sorry to rub it in) as we’ve been working our way through the Northland of NZ. Some places that we have explored are Kerikeri, Piahia, Russell, and the Karikari Peninsula (fun fact: that means windy windy Peninsula, they don’t mess around). Really though, the Karikari Peninsula was quite beautiful. We found a wonderful free campsite there called Tokerau Beach where we were right on the edge of the beach, and not to brag, but it was glorious. We ended up staying there for two days and beach bummed it up. We also met a lovely lady there named Denise (a Kiwi) who we chatted with a couple times, and on our last night there we went to her camper and played Rummikin (Rummicube? Rummy.) with her for a couple of hours. She was the sweetest and made us tea and biscuits and made us feel right at home!
I guess a lot of you don’t know, but our “plan” (I say “plan” because we’ve pretty much been going day to day with little to nothing specially planned) was to head north from Auckland along the east coast, all the way up to Cape Reigna (the northernmost point), then head down the west coast. Once we get past Auckland, we’ll start zig zagging down the whole island till we get to the bottom!
We have now made it to the very top! We did it, folks! We made it as far north as we could! From Cape Reigna’s lighthouse, you can see where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean collide, and let me tell ya, it was beautiful. Highly recommend it. We spent a night at Tapotupotu Bay, which is just a couple of kilometers (look at me, not using miles) from the Cape. Yesterday after packing up camp we headed to Te Paki Giant Sand Dunes where we rented sand boards and had a great time cruising down some dunes for a couple hours. It turned out to be much more exhilarating than either of us expected and there were some pretty steep dunes that we got some serious speed going down. Our feet are a little raw from using them as brakes, (I gave up on brakes and went full speed because it hurt to brake. No regrets.) but it was a great time.
We’re currently at a paid site along Ninety Mile Beach (don’t ask me why they use miles in the name, no idea) where we have hot showers and WiFi. On the drive to the site (over some wonderful gravel roads) we saw WILD HORSES! They are the first mammal that we have seen (alive) since we’ve been driving, and they were so so pretty. Last night we met two other couples in the kitchen/community room of this campsite and had a good time talking to them yesterday evening (one couple was British, the other was Aussie/Canadian). The woman who runs the campsite is German and is lovely as well. It’s been really fun meeting people from all over the world and comparing our travels and life stories.
We’re now about to go walk to the beach (there’s apparently a beached whale there somewhere) and relax around here for the rest of the day. The little kitchen room here has lots of outlets so we’re getting all our extra batteries and various devices charged up (we can only charge when we’re driving in the van, not when we’re parked). We’ll spend another night here, then continue heading down the west coast of the North Island and see what happens along the way!
Here are some assorted pictures of our last week or so:
(The internet is quite terrible so we couldn’t caption the photos. . If you want to know more about any of them, just ask in the comments and we’ll happily tell ya!)