So here I was, in Paihia, where my dorm was actually empty for the first night – oh the luxury! 🙂 Getting up early for the day trip to Cape Reinga the first challenge was to get out of the glass doors of the hostel building. I met a German woman already standing there and together we got the courage to push the emergency exit button – which, as it turned out, was the exact way to go 😉
The bus picked me up where it should and immediately we were told that there’d be no sandboarding today – with no reason other than “it might not be for a few months” and “you can get off now, but probably won’t get a refund”. Surprisingly, nobody got out… We had a walk in a Kauri forest in Manginangina, a stop for coffee and then went on to 90 mile beach. It’s not actually 90 miles long, but still a pretty long stretch of beach that is classified as a road with a speed limit of 100 km/h! Speeding along that in a bus was really cool 😀 We also could stretch our legs for a bit there, the water was pretty cold though!
From there, our next stop was the beach in Tapotupotu Bay for our lunchbreak 🙂 More scenic lunch views should be pretty hard to find 😉
Then it was back up the hill and on to the actual Cape Reinga and the lighthouse there. All day we had seen a lot of motorbikes on the roads and it seemed they all went to Cape Reinga. Maybe it is a ritual to open the season? Some even went all the way down on the bikes, not too sure if that was actually legal 😉 The walk down to the lighthouse was very nice and the weather absolutely perfect! If you look closely, you can see the collision of the Tasman Sea with the Pacific 😉
After that it was more or less straight back to Paihia with a stop for Fish & Chips. I didn’t eat there, my mind had been on a nice curry for a while. And sure enough the recommendation from the hostel receptionist was so good that I had curry two days in a row 😉
On the next day, I went for a walk around the town and then to Waitangi for the Treaty Grounds. That morning, two cruise ships had arrived into Paihia and the population kind of multiplied, they even had traffic wardens 😉 Waitangi was very interesting, the place where the British made a treaty with the Maori in 1840, signifying the birth of New Zealand. Due to mistranslations (told you, we have an important job!) and misinterpretation, the Maori have been disowned their lands and to this day are still fighting for justice. It was in this context that the Queen signed a law in public for the first time and the Crown officially apologised to the Maori in 1998!
After that, I met up with Tabea again and we took the ferry over to the little town of Russell, formerly also known as the Hellhole of the Pacific 😉 Not really hell anymore nowadays, very small and with good views over towards Paihia 🙂 A good place to end the day! And we met a cute little dachshund named (of course!) Sausage 😉
The next day I was supposed to catch the Stray bus at 2 from the Maritime Building – only that it never showed up… in the end they booked me on the next Intercity bus and I got to Auckland in style, but about 2.5 hours later than expected. Just as well I only wanted to sleep and had to get up early for the bus the next day – my single room in the YMCA unfortunately reminded me of a prison cell 😉