Up up early to see some more of the Bay of Islands.
The group standing outside looked like Brits. I’m not sure what it is but we have a look. Whether it’s the awkward glance around for more Brits or even the judgmental, hip pushed out stare, we stand out like a sore thumb in a group. And we stick together. Upon boarding the bus, without even noticing we grouped together at the front of the bus, feeling, thus, secure in our own British way. We can complain. Together.
Our new driver for the day was Aerial. Turns out he was in actual fact an old Stray driver and, so, technically we have had ten Stray drivers in total!
Off we go to the most Northern point of the country, enjoying a good old sing song. Joking. For a bus of thirty is was spookily quiet.
Our first stop was the 90 mile beach, a motorway on the beach! Crazy! Well it was less of a stop than a crazy drive along a beach in a bus.
Aerial delighted in trying to get the bus onto two wheels. Then came ‘oh I think that’s a whale’. Eye and face snap left desperately looking out to sea but nothing. ‘Yeah that’s one on the beach’. What? Oh. A bit of whale. Perhaps a stomach. Does that count? Whilst still pondering this the next victim of beaching came into sight, a perfectly presented dolphin.
Time to get out. Time to Freeze!
The next actual stop were the Te Paki sand dunes. Here you can grab a boogie board and ride down the dunes in a thrilling experience. So we did. Well I grabbed a boogie board, someone stole Tori’s! Grrr.
Oh the wind. Previous ‘riders’ had said how much fun this moment was but with the wind whipping into our faces I couldn’t quite see how, yet.
The climb up was just like the Tongariro but worse. Sand was blown horizontally into everywhere. I’m still finding it. At the top we could barely stand but had no choice but to dive onto the board down the dune. SO MUCH FUN! You can go as fast or slow as you want but it’s great. And the sand in your teeth? A good exfoliation…
Tori was thankful that she had no choice but to sit this one out, having watched the struggle of getting there and the fear of many as they started down the dune and then lost their board, which flew away.
Back on the bus for the trip to Cape Reinga. This is the northwesternmost tip of the Aupouri Peninsula, at the northern end of the North Island of New Zealand. It is famous for it’s iconic lighthouse and that you can see where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean, there is a line.
Unfortunately, the weather dramatically turned and large rain drops hit us as we made the descent to the lighthouse.
Also, no line for us. Still, it eerily mirrored our day to Bluff, the southern most point, weeks before where people didn’t get off the bus due to the rain!
Our final stop on this tour was the Kauri shop, where an artist had fashioned a staircase from a Kauri tree trunk.
Then the ‘worlds best’ fish and chips (nothing on our local) and homeward bound.
It was a long day but totally worth being able to see that area and learn about it’s importance in Maori history.
We finished the day off with a great game of the strange werewolf game, where Arthur recruited some strangers to boost the numbers, then to bed for our last Stray bus back to Auckland.
A very sandy Flo x