Monday 14th March -
Me, Lisa and Andrea had a lovely drive North towards 90 Mile beach and reached it just after lunchtime. Although we weren’t actually allowed to drive our hire spaceship on the beach, we did have a little poke around the beach and then spent the next couple of hours just vegging out and relaxing in the sunshine, waiting for the sea to come in and wash away the camper van. It never did though and we left mid afternoon and headed back south towards the Bay of Islands.
We had booked a nice camp-site overlooking the Haruru falls that I had walked to with the Flying Kiwis last week. When we arrive there was a little confusion over which camp-site we were actually in, but we sorted it out and were parked up with a lovely view of the falls, well before it got dark.
We enjoyed a good dinner cooked by Lisa and then sat chatting for the rest of the evening. It was great to catch up with the two girls and have a good chat especially with Andrea.
In the morning we had egg butties for breakfast and then packed up the camper, before heading into the local town to enjoy the beach for the rest of the day. We were really lucky with the weather and so myself and Lisa took out a couple of kayaks into the bay while Andrea vegged out with her Kindle in the beach.
The sea was calm and warm and myself and Lisa enjoyed a couple of hours good kayaking around three of the little islands in the bay. Except for when she tried to splash me and capsized, thinking her camera had gone forever. But luckily it stayed in the kayak somehow. We also disturbed a couple of birds and their chick who were really unhappy to see us on their island., But we managed to avoid them and get away in our Kayaks without too much hassle.
After a final bit of sunbathing on a deserted beach on our own little island we headed back and packed the van up for the drive back to Auckland. However, we had to turn back soon after leaving as Lisa had left her camera in her life jacket at the Kayak hire shop – Luckily it was still open and she got it back. But then it was a 3 hour drive back down south to a small caravan park near to Auckland airport.
After an early night, we were up early and dropped Andrea off at the airport for her 8am flight. She is meeting with Lisa in a couple of days in Thailand, before heading off to Nepal together. Myself and Lisa went back to the caravan park and had a morning sleeping before heading out in the afternoon for a bit of a look around and some shopping. We found some of 'Lisa's dips', and bought salami and cheese plus a couple of bottles of wine, before heading back and settling in for the rest of the afternoon.
It was a lovely afternoon, just doing our own thing but relaxing and having fun too. I will really miss Lisa a lot. We have done so much together over the last 6 or 7 months, all the way from London, through Turkey to Australia and New Zealand and she is one of my best mates from Oz bus. I hope she has a great time wit the rest of her travels and will definitely see her again at home. No more calls at 6am to go shopping for rum though!!!
We headed off for an early night just after 9pm and I slept really well until my alarm went off at 2am. I leant down and tapped on the window of the van, to wake Lisa up and she responded by tapping back. The next hour was a rush of activity as I put down the top box and Lisa had a shower and packed away the rest of her stuff, before we set off for the airport at 3am. Once there she grabbed a trolley and headed into the airport for her 6am flight, leaving me all by myself for the next few weeks. I got back to the caravan park, put up the top box again and went back to bed till 10am.
It was strange waking up with nobody to talk to , after the month on the Flying Kiwi bus and then the last few days hanging around with the girls, I am now used to having people around me. But for the next few weeks it is just me and whoever I run into. I took my time to pack up my gear, making sure everything in the van was clean and that I didn’t leave anything behind. I left the park just before lunch and went exploring for a couple of hours before heading to my hostel for the night.
I ended up shopping in the posh part of Auckland – Newmarket. There are loads of trendy bars, shops and a reasonable shopping mall there, so I spent the afternoon wandering around and eventually spending the last of my New Zealand dollars on a bright green top, that I can wear on the beach.
I dropped off 'Ming', our spaceship camper van and after jumping on a train, I walked the last couple of Kilometres to the Skyway lodge, where I am booked in for the night. This place is pretty comfortable and has the fastest broadband internet I have ever found, so I set out downloading just about everything I could, whilst I sorted out my bag. I was going to throw away my England cricket top, as it is now so stained that I look like a tramp wearing it – But I decided to keep it for wearing in private and when everything else is in the wash. So it went back into my bag. In the evening I sat out on the verandah and watched some of my downloads with a beer or 2 before hitting my bed before midnight.
I got up, had a shower, packed my bags and was at the airport by 11am ready for my 2pm flight to Fiji.
Auckland Airport is fairly simple to get through and after the usual bit of looking around the shops I boarded and fell asleep for most of the flight. I did wake up to see the stunning little islands in the middle of the pacific, that greet you as you look out of the plane windows before landing.
Once we hit the ground I made my way through immigration and was actually surprised that it is true about Fiji. Everyone, really is that friendly!! Even the normal grumpy immigration bloke seemed to genuinely be happy!!
I waited for a local bus to take me to the Beachouse – my home for the next 7 days and I was actually dissapointed that instead of a ramshackle local bus full of chickens and broken windows - a modern air conditioned bus turned uo and spoiled my idea of interacting with the locals. It was a nice bus though and after a couple of hours I was glad of the comfort – apart from the fact that I spotted the beachouse sign and the bus didn’t stop, so I pressed the stop button and myself and 3 Dutch girls had a 200-300metre walk back down a dark road to the hostel.
After booking in I went to the bar, obviously and was pleasantly surprised by the good local beer. There was lightning out at sea and it made for a spectacular light show as I sat on the beautiful beach and mellowed out. I was invited to join a group to chat but politely declined as I was finishing the TV show that I started to watch last night. I said a few hellos and was really happy that most people went to bed before 11pm – This is definitely a relaxing and mellowing out type of place – exactly what I want for a week. I need a rest from travelling and being busy seeing stuff and would happily take a week watching movies and doing very little!! It sounds a bit anti social, but I just want to do whatever the fuck I want to for the week!!
I was mellowing out outside my room when a Chelsea fan by the name of Chris came out and reminded me that the champions league draw was about to take place – so after a bit of searching around we found a live link, text only I'm afraid, but we watched as the draw took place and Man United were paired against Chelsea!!
Chris, who is one of my roomies then went to bed and I was joined by Sarah, from Toronto Canada. (I seem to attract Canadians at the moment!!) We sat and exchanged travelling stories for a while as she drank some Whisky and we were soon joined by Javier, from Spain. He has been in Fiji a while and passed on some good and bad points about the place – although they were mostly good points! I had had a long day and went to bed just after midnight.
I slept really well and was actually pleasantly surprised again at how well the ceiling fans work in the rooms, as they kept it really cool. I was up and around by 8am, when I went down to the bar where there is a free breakfast every morning. As I made my toast I met Sarah again and sat with her and a few others to eat my breakfast and drink a coffee. It was a lovely sunny morning and so I had a quick walk along the beach and took a few photos to put online so that you can see just how average this place is!! It is stunning and costs £11 a night!!
I am loving it here!!