I had never ridden on a ferry with a car and I have to say, it feels very strange. The water is so beautiful. We took Grant's advice and had an amazing lunch at the dock cafe. Turns out Grant is a great foodie. Paninis in rawene on the dock. Fish n chips in Manganoui. Gigantic ice cream cones in Waipapa. Thanks boss!
We made the long drive up to Cape Reinga and slept at the windiest camp site ever. I thought my tent was going to fall apart. That, plus rain, made for a super unpleasant night's sleep. I almost didn't mind because it was such a nice location, right on the ocean.
And so we drove and drove and drove some more. It's hard not to be happy driving here when the coast is so beautiful. It's not boring, for sure.
We decided to splurge and sleep at a backpacker's in Kerikeri, orange capital of New Zealand. It was on an orchard and we were told we could eat all the oranges we wanted. This really was luxury after camping in the wind storm for a couple nights.
We slept at this super cute campground in Tapu. I went for a nice evening swim and found an oyster. I feel like a real outdoors women now, eating right out of the ocean. This spot reminded me a lot of Crosby Lane in Brewster on Cape Cod.
This was the perfect day. We drove to Castle Rock and had our first group hike. First, we stopped at this little waterfall and I had to jump in because the water was just so beautiful. We had to climb up this mountain, straight up, but it wasn't too long and reaching the top felt amazing and it was quite the view. I'm a slow hiker, but I made it eventually. We ran (really) down the mountain and made our way to The Mussel Kitchen in Coramandel. Fresh mussel chowder was the perfect meal after a tough hike. Top it off with a home brewed beer and the day couldn't get any better.
It was a touristy day for us. Next, we went to Cathedral Cove and we finally found where all the Americans have been hiding. Quite the hike to the beach, it was well worth it. The water was calm and clear and we all went swimming. It was so hot, you had to at least jump in once.
And now we are back to Auckland to wait until Mike arrives. I can't believe he's finally here! And Christmas is in 3 days! Happy Birthday to my sister!
And Happy Birthday to my aunt!
And Happy Birthday to my Dad!
More to come,