India| Vietnam | Cambodia | Laos | Thailand | Malaysia | Indonesia | NZ | Fiji | Cook Islands | USA

Friday, 11 March 2011

Day 312-319: The only way is up (baby)

Well it's been a while since I let you lovely people know what we've been up to...apologies, actually we've done a fair bit. First we hit up the Coromandle – the smaller peninsular that stretches out at the north of Rotorua. Our first port of call was Tauranga, a lovely seaside town that sits in the shadow of Mount Manganui. It was getting late in the day so we opted for clambering on the rocks that afforded beautiful views of the sacred mountain and the South Pacific Ocean stretching out in front of it instead of a strenuous climb up the mount itself.

Next on our whistle-stop tour was Katikati, which was particularly exciting for Rob whose taken to calling me Kati / Katikati / Katikatikatkat /Kaaaaaatikatikatkat etc. and to see his chantings in writing was, as you can imagine, almost to much to bear. For me the tiny town was wonderful because it is covered in murals (below)...what a brilliant idea to cover any empty walls or shop-sides with portraits and old-fashioned vistas. Even if it did come with a soundtrack of my own name ringing in my ears.

The rest of our trip up the Coromandel was sort of rained off, we made it Forest Park but weren't really in the mood for walking around in the drizzle, so we departed shortly after. And this was a pattern that then repeated itself for the next few days in various locations.

[insert days spent in coffee shops / the back of Emilio / rinsing free wifi in McDonalds' in the Hamilton and Raglan area here]

After a brief stop in Auckland (which I will write about properly in it's own right) Rob and I took a few days out to continue of journey north. At Goat Island (not, I note, a goat in sight here) we did some snorkelling before camping up for the night just above Tutukaka on a gorgeous sandy beach that came with the added bonus of a beautiful sunset and a family skinny dipping. Good times.

Back in Highway 1 we were soon at Paihia – gateway to the Bay of Island, which is, as the name would suggest, a bay with many islands. We decided to indulge in some more snorkelling on Roberton Island since a company was running day trips there for $50 with all the gear included. And it is a beautiful island, sitting pretty in blue oceans it holds two lagoons and one retired man who apparently survives by having cruise boats bring in supplies for him every day or so.

We were dropped off by boat at 10AM when the sun was shining and dived right into the freezing waters, though there wasn't too much sea life about Rob did an amazing job in spotting a lazy Manta Ray lurking on the sea bed. This was brilliant! After all our diving we sill hadn't seen a ray and, for me, this really completes the under-water check list of must-see animals. Then a smaller, lighter one swam around below us for a few minutes. Two manta rays - magic.
We'd been told that we'd be picked up at around 2:30-3ish but by 4PM there was still no sign of our lift. We were, literally, stranded on an island. Which might not sound like such a raw deal but the clouds had rolled in and we had a long drive ahead of us...eventually after a phone call (“we haven't forgotten about you, we'll be over at some point” damn those relaxed kiwis) we made it back to shore at 5ish. The extra 2 hours did kind of take away from the enjoyment of the day, the lesson here? Do go to Roberton Island, but don't do it with DiveOps.

At this point we'd considered continuing up to the northern most peak of NZ, Cape Reinga, but it is a long drive on partially unsealed roads which we weren't sure were too healthy for little Emilio so we left it at that and returned “home” to Auckland.


  1. Haha that relaxed Kiwi mindset can get a bit frustrating sometimes, I know...!

  2. sometimes it is the BEST thing and then sometimes you get left on an island...'tis all good :)

  3. could have been very romantic - stranded on a desert island. could have added greatly to the story telling too. Never mind. Glad you did not have to camp out overnight (with nothing) and glad you're alright and still finding lots of new experiences...will this never end?? Good thing I read about all this after the events - I would have been a nervous wreck otherwise..... look after each other - stay safe. Love you

  4. I was wondering if I had over-dramatised this tale a bit and your comment definitely makes me think i have...there wasn't really any danger, just an annoying wait...and will it end? yes, and ever-sooner at that too :)