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Don’t forget to check out the last post from Auckland here!
The next stint of my trip marked the start of the Kiwi Experience and we ventured north of Auckland. So after an early start and a bit of recipe ration on the bus I arrived at the beautiful Paihia. Its name is a mix of Maori and English – ‘Pai’ being Maori for good and ‘hia’ being a misspelling of the English word ‘here’; apparently settlers saw sir and thought, “wow, it’s good here” and I have to agree with them! An absolutely stunning beach that opens up to the Bay of Islands. However, before I’d even stepped foot on the sand I’d signed up for a 16,000ft (65 second free fall) skydive – because how else would you start a trip in New Zealand?! I had an hour or so to kill so the first thing I wandered around the beach and town, exploring the stunning views over some tasty nachos. Luckily the weather held out and so off I went to the drop zone. It was quite a priced start to the trip but what better way to live in the now and make the most of every opportunity. Plus my digital nomad income meant that although it was a big cost, I could definitely make it work. The sky dive was utterly incredible and will forever be one of my best memories. There was a flight about to go up as I arrived that needed an extra person so before I knew it I was being kitted up, watching a safety video and jumping into the plane. In a way it was a good way to do it because I didn’t have a chance to overthink or second guess anything, before I knew it I was on the edge of the plane about to jump. Until you’ve done it you can’t quite comprehend the feeling – so something I would 100% recommend whenever you get the chance. For me, I found the whole experience quite calming, there was an initial adrenaline rush as I left the plane but then it was just like you’re floating or flying through the air. You feel the sheer enjoyment of actually skydiving before the parachute opens and you slowly descend in a dreamlike state as you try to process and consolidate the experience so that you never forget it. At the same time it’s so much better than what I just described! The rest of the day was more relaxed in comparison with a BBQ and some drinks as I got to know a bit more of the people at the hostel.
My final full day north of Auckland was to be spent on a day trip to Cape Reinga – the most northerly point on north island. It was going to take a bit of time to get there so we broke up the trip with a few scenic stops, most notably the funnily named Manginangina forest. We were told that the Kauri tree was renowned for bringing health, wealth and fertility if you gave them a hug… I gave that one a miss – no need to be super fertile just yet, I’m only 19 after all! Eventually we got to Cape Reinga. It was stunning and the weather was perfect. The white lighthouse was idyllic and looked out over the colliding Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea, absolutely gorgeous. We drove back via 90 mile beach (only actually 57 miles!) when the tide was coming in so part of our path was blocked by rocks and the sea. Our crazy bus driver was trying to time his acceleration so that he could make it past whilst the tide was out, but it took several attempts so we ended up driving in circles for about 10 minutes! We also did some sandboarding, which involved jumping off the top of a sand dune with a body board and hurtling down at 70kmph. After all this we were feeling pretty peckish so stopped off via fish and chips. At this point it was Easter Sunday so we opted for a chilled night to help us recover from the busy day’s activities.
See you at Hot Water Beach!
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Until Next Time!
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