26.10.2011 - 27.10.2011 25 °C
Paid for a 3 day bus ticket to explore the top half of the island using a company called 'Magic'. They told us the bus picked up from outside the Hostel at 7:30 so we were up at 6:30, showered, packed ate breakfast and were sat in the hostel lounge watching outside the big windows for the bus to arrive. 7:30 came and went and at 7:40 we saw a bus drive past the window with 'Magic' on the side... Shit, we ran to reception and asked if the bus was going to stop and the nice chinese lady on the desk said that they had stopped just around the corner, waited for us and even come in and knocked on our room door. Presuming we were asleep or not in, they had driven off!
Ten minutes of slight panic (as we'd spent a lot of budget on the bus for 3 days) and several phone calls to the bus company by the nice chinese lady later, the bus returned to pick us up and we were on our way again. Not such a 'Magic' start we thought!
It was a nice trip up to Paihia with several coffee stops and our bus driver Kate imparting her very knowledgeable and slightly cheesy information about the areas we were passing through. This included sheep world (yes, only in New Zealand! - Rockett I'm sure you'd have loved it there!!) and an area where the treaty of Waitango was signed to turn NZ into a British Colony.
We arrived at Paihia and decided to take a scenic walk through a forest to a waterfall for the afternoon. It was about 4k to the waterfall which was a wonderful walk through mangroves and dense forest.
The waterfall was beautiful
but no diving or jumping allowed so we had a picnic at the top and relaxed in the sun for a bit.
The walk back was un-eventful apart from it ended about 3k from our hostel so we hiked down a road and returned knackered and treated ourselves to a fish & chip supper with a bottle of local red wine (Hawks Bay) which we got from a supermarket on the way back.
We watched the sun go down and planned the next few days heading back down south as the stars came out. An irish girl currently living in Paris came over to ask for a light and we realised it was Carolyn, the same girl we had shared a cab with when we arrived in Auckland (Small world!).
Jayne had an early night and I stayed chatting to Carolyn for a bit until the walk and the wine got the better of me, time to go back to the dorm and grab some kip before our trip tomorrow to Opononi.
A short bus journey took us to the end of a steep gravel road in the middle of no where and an old guy who looked like a very old and scrawny Captain Birds Eye met us in a 4wd to take us to the farm we were staying in for the night (Okopako Lodge).
He gave us the entire run down on his family history and apologised that the road outside the farm was getting very busy as he had counted atleast 6 cars passing the farm the day before!!??
We went for a run up the hills (Jayne ran down and back up again twice!) before tucking in to our pre made tuna rolls with cereal bars and beer for desert (Travelling is so glamorous!). It was a very chilled out day with the most amazing view from our private lodge on the mountain side.
We were pretty much the only people on the farm accept for the owners and a very friendly working dog called Nel.
The rest of the evening we used our quiet little lodge to plan the next few weeks and how we would get to Christchurch for the camper van in a few weeks time. The decision was to buy hours on a local coach company (Intercity) as this would be the cheapest and most flexible way to get where we wanted to.
Tomorrow we head back to Auckland for one last time to get ready for the race (10k) before heading down south never to return.
Jayne has decided she would like to blog about the race as its her speciality so I will hand over to her for a few days and take a break from my routine quest to find a power socket and an internet connection! ;-)
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