6.30 alarm followed by frantic packing of bags to start our first day on Stray. Flo’s discovery that her Ray Bans were missing meant our poor dorm mate did not have a peaceful morning after her wild night at Habana Joes. Thankfully someone had handed them in to reception, slightly redeeming Base’s reputation in our eyes.
We hopped on the bus at 7.30 with our driver Lantern promising us that the best 36 hours of our life lay ahead. After the inevitable ice break questions we soon knew more about our fellow travellers than we ever needed, or wanted, to know.
After a quick stop at a waterfall and an awkward attempt at a mass selfie we arrived at Karioi Lodge in Raglan. A decision to be made: surfing in the freezing cold, grey, rough sea or a short bush walk around the lodge. Along with our new BFFs Kate and Nina we chose the bush walk… This was like nothing I have ever experienced. The gentle uphill stroll we had expected was instead a tiny muddy path through Jurassic forest suitable only for skilled mountaineers.
An hour and a half, a few falls, a lot of laughs, and an uninspiring ‘Inspiration Point’ later we finally made it back, a lot sweatier and muddier than when we had left but definitely deserving our fish and chips that Lantern had brought for dinner.
The monsoon style rain means it’s time for one thing, our introduction to the Tim Tam slammer. Take a Tim Tam (basically a penguin), bite opposite corners, dunk into tea and suck. Sweet as bro! An epic game of battleships, card games, jäger shots and pool meant that our first 15 hours of the best 36 hours did not disappoint.