Saturday, 16 November 2013

Tally Ho !

In hindsight (and probably foresight to come to think of it), working til the friday before the monday  wasn't ideal but I managed.  Still, after 5 hours kip (packing boxes for shipping til 3 in the am) and an epic weekend finale I managed to make my Sydney flight in plenty of time, courteousy of J L Spanos Taxi Service.  My 9 weeks of travel were to commence. First stop Sydney.

Purpose purely to visit my aunty Josephine before I left her as the sole Daly in Australia.  She was none too impressed by my departing! Met up with Laura Sull (late of Bishopstown) and her pal Louise down in Coogee. Dinner with Jo and Richard followed and just relaxed for the eve.  Early flight to Auckland awaited me the next day.

My third trip to New Zealand having hitched around the South Island two years previously and a long weekend with Hessie to visit Trev and the Duffmeister (an incident packed weekend that was !), both of which had whetted my appetite for a third.  On arrival I had planned on heading north straight away but serious winds (up to 200km/h) put paid to that so I decided to stay put in Auckland for the night.

It mightn't look it but New Zealand is bloody big (tiny compared to Australia but 3.5 times the size of Ireland with a similar population size) so I had planned to limit my trip to Northland and the Coromandel. Had such a good time hitching previously and I was traveling alone for the most part I decided to repeat the task, partly for practicality reasons but mainly for adventure. Maybe I've become bored of actually arriving in my planned location on time by bus or something !  But continually met the coolest, interesting people who'd all hitched themselves in the past.

Got onto Izzy, my ole pal from my early Melbourne day, lived together in East Brunswick with the Wangaratta Crew (Nat, Joe and Stef). Izzy had moved back to Auckland and was living with her boyfriend and his pals in a converted shop on Symonds Street, really central location. Great to catch up with her again.

Took off early the day, bused to Silverdale, stocked up on supplies and stuck the thumb out. Not a great spot to commence but got a few short lifts and I was away.  Two young german shams who were living in some hut in the forest brought me most of the way (their car seemed to have been lived in for a fair bit of time too, fuckin mank!).

After a failed attempt at getting to Tawharanui (campsite was closed), the guy who brought me there dropped me all the way back to where he'd first collected me, I got a lift from an old English guy by the name of  Richard. Absolute gent of a man, dropped me (again, completely out of his way) to Goat Island and insisted on collecting me the next morning, which he did, to help me on my way.  He also invited me to visit himself and his wife on their estate at Hawkes Bay for a few days, legend. Unfortunately it was a fair bit out of my way so I couldn't.

That day I made my way up to Paihia the tourist town from which to access the Bay of Islands, which is the major kiwi attraction in Northland. Camped in the holiday park (which was surprisingly good, not usually a fan), lovely setting overlooking an estuary, and some sound people staying there, some good nattering was done.

Photo of dawn breaking from my tent in Paihia
Hung out with Diana the Kraut the next day, decent company if fairly dry, doing touristy things like visiting Waitangi, where the Treaty was signed (as late as 1840) basically turning the country into a colony of England.  I couldn't really see why this was this was is annually celebrated as a significant day for the country as it seemed to have sold the Maori people a pup (the crafty fckers wrote up a different Treaty in English with quite different conditions!).  But apparently it gave the Maori's a better deal than they'd have otherwise gotten. Headed over to Russell, the first capital of the country, and a heritage town. Pretty bland and dull to me.

Early the next morn I set off on a yacht with Laurent and Camille, a french couple and our skipper Glenn to the Bay of Islands.  Great day out, beautiful spot generally.  A rake of dolphins out there and a visit to the lovely Waewaetorea Island.  Later that night I talked the frenchies through the NZ v Aus match as they'd never watched rugby before !

Waewaetora Island

Next day I bailed, (not before time, gettin slightly tired of Paihia's touristy feel). Sweltering heat and a few lifts later (one from an 80+ year old woman - I love these stereotype defeating occurrences!) I got dropped off at the turn off to Taupo Bay (which came highly recommended by Diana the Kraut). Waited for quite a while, no traffic on this gravel road, finally a pick-up came screaming around the corner and jammed on the breaks. The two lads told me to jump aboard, I gladly obliged. As we tore off again, a hand sprung out the window with a bottle, the two lads were boozin (as you do!), it was a pre-mixed bottle of bourbon and coke, rancid shit but I didn't want to appear ungrateful so I grabbed it and took a few token swigs.  Good buzz all the same, traveling in the back of the pick-up with the wind battering me. Dropped me all the way to the beach, who says rednecks can't be sound ! Taupo was only gorgeous, more appealing than the Bay of Islands even.

Taupo Bay

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