The internet has been scarce and pricey lately so I am limiting my writing to public libraries! What a gift they are, I spent $20 uploading photos and checking mail earlier, had some food, messed with my inconsistent starter and located the library. Where have I been? On some amazing beaches let me tell you. The drive up the peninsula was easy, I am getting more comfortable with this RH driving although when the speedometer started dinging I kinda wondered "what next?" Apparently the van does not like to exceed 110 km an hour. Those one lane bridges are cute with the arrows on a sign indicating who has the right of way. The Gum diggers and the Giant Kauri displays did not call me, I chose instead to investigate Rarawa Beach, incredible white sand, I had to go back for my sunglasses. And went for my first swim, water refreshing not warm and not cold either. Drive on! Stopping to take pictures of the worlds purest silica sand dunes and ever onward toward the site of my pilgrimage Cape Reinga. And what an experience arriving there! I was unprepared for how I felt, awed and humbled by the majesty of ocean and land coming together. Far out I could see surf breaking as if the land, a reef perhaps, reaches miles out toward the north. Surf, beaches, headlands and way off in the distance the Three Kings. I walked around for a while and let go an offering that Marilyn had entrusted with me. Took way too many pictures and exposed my flesh to the sun, I thought I had it covered with sunscreen... I visited Taputaputa Bay in concert with 3 bus loads of folks. That could have been me, I am so glad I have the van. Walked around the corner back towards Cape Reinga but was stopped by the sea and an impassable headland. However it is possible to walk there, a trail connects. Actually this place NZ is covered with great "tracks" and plenty of "reserves"aka park. The historical signifigance of all these places is well documented adding a wonderful perspective to my adventure. Hmm, somehow that seems grammatically challenged. Anyway I chose to spend the night at Spirits Bay, parked among the other tourists all at a respectable distance. A fellow waves to me, first friendly greeting since Albany. Phil is from the UK living in Wellington and loving the place. He and Andrea found a wee hedgehog in the surf the day before and were feeding it shells full of milk. Walked the beach, collected a shell or two and marvelled at this pristine length of delicious sand stretching off to the east with nary a soul to be seen. Big surf, I tried a little body surfing and was speedily deposited on the beach! What a rush! Later as the sun set the young surfers emerged wandering way down the beach where apparently the best waves were. A few mosquitoes accompanied me to bed after a non cooked dinner. I neglected to get myself a stove, total fire ban here due to lack of rain. Eating lots of avocadoes.
Next morning the rowdies in the next site departed and I managed to get in another swim before I too left. After getting my hotwater (lemon,cayenne and ginger) I turned west to Hukatere driving through the Aupouri forest mostly Pine and some Gum (Eucalyptus) The ground covered in what looks like deep duff from the pine needles. 90 mile beach had people coming and going, some even stuck in the sand, all part of their adventure. Normally I would be tempting fate as well but it was somewhat foggy and besides what is there to do there? Drive? Fish? and surf I guess. Those waves looked a little bit challenging to me. How about 5 avacadoes for $2? YES!
Off to the museum in Kaitaia, learned about gum digging, local surfers from the 70's and Captain Cook. Lunch was a massive burger, they put soo much stuff in their burgers! Then I drove on a road that had me thinking of Doug and Connie, folks you gotta get down here and drive the Mangamuka Gorge wow, I took some pictures whilst driving normally a no no, little traffic so I went slow. Hairpins that went beyond belief around and around, down and down. The up side was probably just as winding but I was trying to stay on the road. Then up to the Kauri sanctuary 15k's of gravel and not a soul to be seen. The 6th largest Kauri in New Zealand (how about the planet folks). I realized the guide book was speaking about ANOTHER Kauri reserve so did a backtrack and headed across the ferry at Rangiora to Rawene ( now, is that pronounced raw weenie?) wandered the town, took about 15 minutes, bought mussels and fries takeaway. Sat and ate and messed with the phone, took pictures of the Dunes across Hokianga harbour at North head. I spotted a likely camping spot at Waimaku Beach and did spend the night there. The library is closing! I gotta go ! More to follow.