Sunday, June 10, 2012

So I did something touristy

I went on a bus tour.  I think I need to do something like this every once in awhile to remember that I am not a huge fan of touristy type activities, even though I currently am a tourist.  I am in the northern part of the north island and had plans to see the very tip (hehe) by continuing to WWOOF up north.  But plans changed, and I ended up buying a plane ticket to Thailand.  I had heard that Cape Reinga was really beautiful, and since I wasn't going to get to spend any time up north, I decided to at least see it.  And the best way to do that was a bus tour.  There were some things I really liked about the tour, but also a lot of things that I really hated.  The first thing that I really hated was as soon as the tour started, which was around 7:30, the bus driver would. not. stop. talking. and not just normal talking, the cheesy tour guide kind of talking where he kept repeating himself.  Turns out my brain cannot handle that in the morning or maybe that early I just don't have the ability to tune it out.  I become more ok with it as the day continued.  What was beautiful at that time of the morning was the sunrise + the scenery, stunning.  Unfortunately I cannot really take photos out of a moving vehicle very well.  Soon we got to a part of the tour that I really enjoyed.  There is a beach up north called the Ninety Mile Beach.  I think it is actually 90 miles long and the cool part is the beach is a state highway, so you can drive on it.  I would never drive my car on it, because I am from Washington, and have heard too many stories of people loosing their cars to the ocean.  If you ever get the chance driving on a beach is awesome!!  It was even cooler that our bus was basically the only car on the beach.  The next part of the tour was sandboarding on the sand dunes.  I almost left this part out because I didn't want to betray the true wussy that I am.  But I didn't do it.  Not because I was afraid but because I didn't want to get wet.  It had been a sunny day, but weather comes out of no where in New Zealand, and a shower was just coming up and it was freezing and raining.  I also figured I am going to SE Asia soon and I will probably have a chance to do it there and I know it won't be cold there.  We continued on to Cape Reinga, which is a place on the coast up north where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea meet.  The place is considered very spiritual by the Maori population.  It is a really beautiful place.  It was pretty cool to see and hear the two large bodies of water coming together.  There is a little path and lighthouse that you can walk to.  Now another part of the tour that I hated.  We had dinner at a place that claims the best fish and chips in New Zealand, but we had to get it to go and eat it on the bus while it was driving.  I have to say the food was delicious but I hate eating in the car, especially in a moving vehicle.  I am not talking about snacking in a car, that is perfectly acceptable, if not preferable on a long car ride.  But when I pay for a hot, delicious meal I don't want to have to worry about the grease dripping through the paper onto my pants, or hitting a bump and having my ketchup fly off my lap, and not being able to take a drink of water because the bus is moving.  It ruins the experience of the meal.  After the meal the final stop of the day was to see a Kauri forest.  Kauri are a type of tree that grows very large in New Zealand.  There are different types in areas around the pacific but a certain type that are the longest living exist only here in New Zealand.  Then we returned and now I am cozy in my bed.  It was a long day and I am tired.  My introverted self got tired from being around strangers.  I am glad I saw the things up North but don't think I would do the tour again.  For the night I am at Farm #3 and I leave tomorrow.  I am headed to Farm #1 to store my car then staying in Auckland on Tuesday to catch my early flight on Wednesday to Bangkok.  Cheers!!
Ninety Mile Beach - the way it looked and the way the waves crashed reminded me of a WA beach (on a sunny day)

The bus driver had time to take pictures of people since he didn't have to watch where he was going.
Da bus
Lunch spot
Cape Reinga
Bench and lighthouse at Cape Reinga
This is what it looks like where the sea and ocean meet.
More of the lighthouse
The giant Kauri tree.  Sorry, no person to show perspective but it was big.

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