January 16-20, 2018
The original trek I signed up for was 7 days and included hiking along the coast with authentic, Kiwi-style camping. Unfortunately, that trek was canceled due to lack of interest and I was offered to move to a different 5 day tour in which there was coastal hiking and above average accommodations/meals provided. I graciously accepted the complimentary upgrade; gaining 5 pounds from over eating and sleeping like a princess in my private room. Here’s what we did!
Pick up in Auckland and meet the crew! A lovely couple from Australia, another lovely couple from the US, and a fellow Edmontonian!
Glow worm cave at Waipou! The worms are up on the walls and ceiling of the cave glowing a lovely neon green color. No pictures, they all turned out completely black.
Continue on driving to a lovely little town in the Bay of Islands, Russell.
The Bay of Islands and Russell was one of the first places Europeans settled in NZ, this is the first church in NZ.
I slept in a king size bed this night. Notable.
Hike part way up to Cape Brett at Oke Bay overlooking the Bay of Islands.
Hike to Whangamumu (again, “WH” is pronounced like an airy “F”). A Lovely bay.
Check out the old whaling station. This is not where they had a “look out” for whales, as I had thought. This is where boats used to haul the whales they caught to be slaughtered… Interesting, but very unsettling.
Then onto Elliots Beach and home!
(Didn’t get any more pictures this day because the memory card in my GoPro shit the bed, unfortunately)
It rained all morning and I was super grumpy as we drove West to Whangaroa Harbour. Then we arrived at Matai Bay the clouds parted and the sun came out! So, we pulled out the body boards and caught some waves! My first ever time body boarding in the ocean and it was SO fun! Again, no pictures 😦
Continue on driving to our accommodations for the night, Hukatere. We stayed in a beautiful lodge with cabins and room for camping, mere meters away from Ninety Mile Beach. I did some yoga on the beach, drank wine, ate too much food, and watched the sunset over the Tasman Sea.
Hiked from Cape Reinga (aaalmost the northern most point of NZ) to Taupotupotu. The Maori (pronounced mow-ree) people believed this to be the Northern most point of the island and where the spirits of their deceased people went to enter the afterlife. Lovely views and so rewarding.
Then sandboarding at Te Paki sand dunes. Such a fun, foreign experiencing. There aren’t any sand dunes in Alberta!
We went to the Waipoa Forest, the big tree Tane Mahuta. Tane Mahuta means something like “King of the Forest” and it is said to be the oldest tree in NZ, approximately 2000 years old!
The picture doesn’t do Tane Mahuta any justice, this tree was giiiiant. You are not allowed to stand next to the Kauri trees because their roots are very shallow and people trampling them was killing the ancient trees.
We also went to another forest that had ginormous Kauri trees, it was magical. Really puts into perspective the importance of preserving nature and the wonders that can be produced when people are careful and protective of nature.
Then basically drove all day to arrive back in Auckland!
Over-all had a wonderful time; 10/10, would recommend a guided tour from time to time. I learnt a lot about colonization and the Maori people. As well as how to pronounce things correctly. Tres important.
XO – Kristiane