"Find life experiences and swallow them whole. travel. meet many people. go down some dead ends and explore dark alleys. try everything. exhaust yourself in the glorious pursuit of life."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Tramp of Epic Proportions

This past weekend we drove south to Karekare for a coastal tramp towards Whatipu.  On route, we stopped at Piha Beach.  I am buying a house here and living the rest of my life looking out at Lion's Rock and Piha's beautiful sand.  After playing in the ocean for a while and climbing Lion's Rock, we drove to the beginning of our trail in Karekare.  The trail was a little set back from the coast, but whenever the trees allowed,  we could see a vast expanse of waves pounding against the shore.  The soothing sound of the waves in the background made the muddy tramp go smoothly.

After about three hours in the forest, we veered off towards the beach-- we aren't sure what its name is but my friend called it "black sandy beach: the place where all things go to die."(there were a lot of dead birds strewn across the sand)  It was completely barren, and besides from maybe one other person, we had the entire beach to ourselves.  The  black sand stretched as far as the eye could see.  We continued on down the beach for about two hours until we finally reached Whatipu.  After we had set up our tents, we headed back down to the beach for the sunset.  The combination of the pink sky, rolling waves and the utter disbelief that I'm actually in New Zealand left me speechless.

After a night of restless sleep due to howling winds, we packed up our gear and headed back the way we had came.  The high tide made it more difficult to maneuver our way through the beach and marshes.  The winds were roaring, sending sand against our eyes and cutting our legs like knives.  I've never walked through a desert before, but I can imagine that is what it is like.  Beaten and tired after two long days, we finally arrived back at our car in Karekare.  We made one final stop at Bethells Beach so that a couple of my crazy friends could run into the ocean even though the wind was practically blowing us down. Although we were tired, bruised, covered in mud and hungry after it all, it was a great weekend, one I will not forget.

Piha/Lion's Rock
Sunset at Whatipu


Somewhere at the end of the black sand is the Tasman Sea

Monday, August 1, 2011

Beaches, Caves, Trees, Waterfalls & A Fancy Toilet

This past weekend my friends and I rented a car and drove up to the Bay of Islands.  Not only did we manage to drive on the left side of the road successfully, but we also managed to see some amazing scenery while we were at it.  We left Auckland early Saturday morning and drove north towards Paihia.  On the way we stopped at One Tree Point (there was more than one tree so I was a little confused as to how that name came to be).  After etching our names into the side of the water-eroded cliff, we hopped back into the car.  We ate lunch in the small town of Kawakawa-- unknown to us at the time, this is the location of the "most photographed toilet in New Zealand."  (On the Way home on Sunday, we made it a point to stop and see this odd attraction: Handertwasser toilets)  After lunch, we drove to Paihia and checked into our hostel.  We next drove to Kerikeri ("dig dig") in order to see the oldest house and oldest stone building in New Zealand.  That day we stopped at several waterfalls: the Whakapuna, the Rainbow Falls, and the Hururu Falls--the only other concave falls apart from Niagara falls.  Before going to a local pub to watch the All Blacks play rugby, we took a dip in the Pacific Ocean :)

On Sunday we woke up and walked down to the beach only 100m from our hostel.  We had an entire beach to ourselves.  later, we ate lunch by the Whangarei Falls, explored the Abbey Caves, played around in a Rock Forest, and attempted to catch sheep.  On the way home we stopped at Waipu Cove in order to breath in the ocean air one last time before returning to Auckland.

Climbing in the Rock Forest

Whangarei Falls
Paihia Beach in the Morning

Just a little refresher on the way to Whakapuna Falls