Day 400...Ahipara Here I Come!

Tuesday 29 November 2016

A lovely early morning start at Kai Iwi lakes. I think we were the first to rise today at the campsite; both drinking cups of tea before 7am. It wasn’t as sunny or warm as we had hoped but, nevertheless, there was no rain and we were a little sheltered from the wind.

Before we hit the road, both of us had things to get done. Personal emails, some map-planning of the east coast and general girl RM (the pink box was needing to be dragged out from under the seat and given a dust-off). For those of you who perhaps haven’t heard about the pink box and its contents, it was packed at the start of the journey as a promise to myself not to become totally feral while away from home and living in a camper-van, so the RM began. Also needing done was stuff on my damn whiteboard list that I keep putting off, like cleaning the neat little BBQ we’ve used this entire trip and which was certainly in need of some TLC as well.

Bianca got out a new addition to Cuzzie, a guitar (thanks to a great friend of mine Vaughn for the loan). It’s a really nice feeling listening to her playing and quietly singing for a little while. As for me, well I had to keep my redhead image up so for all of you who don’t already know, I was putting dye on my hair in my camper-van. But, really and truly, I should know by now that nothing is private when you are camper-van living. I had the side door open, Bianca had gone for a quick stroll and, while walking past our neighbours, she got talking about Redz NZ Journey. I overheard a little of the conversation and had to laugh to myself as she explained I was busy dying my hair! But, soon, she was back to grab a card and share the story with others, while I ended up outside in all my glory, standing chatting to David. Honestly Red, hair dye on your head in the middle of the campsite, is there nothing now that can embarrass you?!

One hour later, we are swapping tips about sunscreen, lip balm lotions and talking about the best toothpastes to use. David was a NuSkin convert and is also very keen to convert us both to these products as well. The samples he shared are fantastic. My sunburnt lips feel way better and the initial shame of standing talking to a total stranger with dye all over my head has now nearly been forgotten by me, if not by him! Eventually, his daughter and her mates (the young group he was with) dragged him off to steer his boat in order to take them all wake-boarding and have fun on the water biscuit. Bianca and I decided to jump into the lake for a quick, refreshing swim. White sands covered by clear fresh waters made a very pleasant change. Midday arrived and we had an early lunch, watching with entertainment their water activities from the comfort of Cuzzie. Then we got ready to hit the road. We could happily have stayed another day but the recce of the coastline further north was calling us, so we declined an offer to try out our wake-boarding skills and got on the road.

Our afternoon comprised looking at wild west coast beaches with a very unpleasant swell of some 3.6m smashing onto each beach we looked at (yuk!). Hokianga Harbour entrance looked okay, but that was looking out from way up high on a viewing platform. We both agreed that it looked gorgeous today and wished we could have stopped for longer than just to refuel, grab some fresh, succulent, smoked fish and then push on.

We saw the huge Kauri trees on the side of the wonderful, lush New Zealand native bush, small little towns that just had a couple of ramshackle houses, then there was sea spray mist in the air as we got closer to our final destination; the last checkpoint before I would hit the 90-mile beach stretch (when I eventually make it this far to Ahipara). Oh my goodness, the colour of the beaches is so beautiful!! How often I had to say it out loud as we drove along! How often I had to remind myself of how damn close I am to the top of the North Island! This is where we stop in the meantime. This is as far as we will go on our reconnaissance. Silently, I thank my camper-van Cuzzie for the continuing loyal and reliable ride. We look out at the waves, then we head towards the campsite we have found for tonight, perhaps just a tad disappointed that, yet again, we can’t sleep next to the beach parked in Cuzzie. Yet again, it seems that camper-vans are not welcome to overnight park in the beachfront car parks of this little resort; probably like most beach-side towns these days, with numerous signs saying the same thing "No Camping".

Never mind, we had a nice picnic dinner of all the snack food from the fridge, then I wrote a very late blog to complete the day. As I sit here, I can hear the waves and the ocean. The wind is calming down and now, I have to watch and wait for the swells to drop as well so I can safely get past the next two harbour mouths. If I’m to be honest, yes, my patience is beginning to wear just a little bit thin.

My smiles today:
RM gear located from within the pink box.
Is there nothing that causes me to blush anymore?
Hokianga Harbour. A true gem.
Ahipara has a very cute camping ground.
Freshly-smoked local fish.
The huge Kauri trees.
Blog 400, that really is a record!

My thoughts today:
Don't ever let anyone dull your sparkle.

Until tomorrow, goodnight from Red and Bianca. 

Ma Te Wa.


Bianca on Waimamaku Beach.

Bianca on Waimamaku Beach.

Our views today.

Our views today.