Back in Auckland and we wanted to get back out of Auckland.
We knew that Chris and Charlotte from Wellington would be in Piha during the week and that it was the most gorgeous place that we simply needed to visit.
So that was our plan. And it would fall on my birthday so I was super happy – to be on the beach on my birthday would be such a novelty!
As Tori and I were such pros at hiring cars it was down to us to get the perfect one. But harder than we thought, as the iSite apparently didn’t know anything, even that the free pay phone had been moved. Cheers. We did finally get one and so it was time to prepare for the quiz.
We had already recruited Laura and Jaq, who has just got back from the Bay of Islands, but really wanted Arthur and Libby, who struck us as being diamonds in a quiz team. This doesn’t always work but I want sometimes does get. Laura and Jaq happened to be staying in the same hostel and grabbed the two, which brought our team wonderfully up to seven. We have this in the bag.
Laura and I then shared a lovely moment where we both discovered that our regular quiz names was Quizzie Rascals. Name sorted.
We were so good at the quiz. Tori had all the lyric questions in the bag, Laura the celebrity faces, Arthur and myself weird knowledge and who sang which James Bond theme tune. Sam and Jaq provided good entertainment during the interval games!
We spectacularly ended up winning the quiz, seven points ahead!! We won a lovely $75 bar tab, which we, with pleasure, spent!
Then it was a sad farewell to the new mates and preparing for the next days trip.
Next day. Back into the Nissan to travel the hour drive to Piha.
Piha is a coastal town just outside Auckland. It is renowned amongst surfers as having some of the best surf out there. As the sun shone for us once more we would be heading straight out to the beach, although not to surf, still not warm enough for that!
First we managed to find our hostel. This was a beautiful wooden building set in a valley of wonderful Jurassic like forestry. There were tonnes of vans outside on the road and it turned out that they were, indeed, filming an advert in the gardens. We stuck around to see this unfold, although not fully understanding what the advert was for but the process was fascinating, from positioning a phone to laying the table just so!
Then to the beach so see how beautiful it was. It sure was lovely. Even though it was the school holidays and a lovely day it was still empty, something unheard of in England, where every stretch of sand would be filled with wind breaks and buckets and spades!
We had a paddle in the sea, which turned into more of a swim as Tori was hit by a massive wave (payback for Cathedral Cove!). I sprinted from the waves triumphantly dry…the same cannot be said for the car keys which fell out of my pocket. Oops. Sam also had to come to our rescue and carry us (me) over a small stream as I refused to take my shoes off. But when I finally did the sand was the loveliest thing ever, black iron sand warmed by the sun and sparkling in the sun.
We then made our way of to Chris and Charlotte’s for a BBQ. Gin and tonics on the beach to watch the sunset, does life get better?
It was lovely to see them and the children again and to meet Theo, Charlie and the boys. We had a fantastic evening and the food was so gorgeous. So many vegetables! Something we have definitely missed. We chatted, sang and drank wine. And it was time to head home.
As it was only half an hour till midnight and my birthday we did stay up to see it in! Wonderful new mate Tim secretly prepared a rice cake with Nutella and on the stroke of midnight presented it to me with a lighter to blow out! A backpacker birthday and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
It was so lovely to spend the evening in Piha with good friends. I look forward to tomorrow!