August 23rd 2016 – New Zealand Day 3

Today I woke up at about 7:00am. I had a pretty lazy day today but I had some house keeping stuff I had to do. I needed to dump my waste water, and pickup fresh water. I drove to Kaikohe and used a dump station there. It was fairly easy, considering I had never done this before.

I then started to drive towards Omapere where there was a beautiful lookout overlooking the sand dunes that I had read about. I got distracted along the way and saw a sign to Wairere Boulders, which I followed. I’m glad I did! It led me down a gravel road for about 12km until I reached a private property with signs on it. A Swiss gentleman named Felix drove down from his house on his quad and reached the visitor hut that I had parked at. He greeted me and asked me where I was from, and then he told me a bit about the property, the history around the property, and a bit about himself. There was a $15 entry fee, which I didn’t mind paying. This place was rated one of the best 50 locations in New Zealand to visit, and the photo’s he had on display made it seem worth it.

The boulders are reminiscent of volcanic activities from thousands of years ago, and they are very unique because they are very hard basalt rock, but they are eroded. The erosion is due to debris from Kauri leaves, cones and branches, which created a very acidic environment. Felix is a geologist and a civil engineer and he said this is extremely rare.

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The amount of effort he put into building bridges and steps on his property is incredible. He said that it took him nearly 5 years with the help of his wife. You can tell that he over engineered everything because there was absolutely no flex in anything, and the wood was fairly beefy. He even had some drawings left up to show the detail of his work. Very Swiss indeed!

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I then continued on my way to Omapere, where I was absolutely awe struck by the beautiful views that were to be had!

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After Omapere I continued on my way to the Waipoua Forest, where I stopped to see the worlds oldest and tallest Kauri tree, which stands nearly 60 metres tall, and is around 2000 years old!

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My friend Anne, who I met in Australia on my tour contacted me via Facebook and told me that she was in Auckland tomorrow and that we should meet up. I was headed back that way anyways so I said I would drive as close as I could and we could meet up tomorrow. It was time to find a camping spot as it was starting to get a bit dark. I headed to a beautiful campsite overlooking Port Albert around 70km away from Auckland. There was only one other camper in the parking lot besides me; another Britz rental.

I had a shower, made some dinner, and did some photo editing, and wrote my blog, before heading to bed.

Tomorrow I’ll be off to Auckland to meet up with Anne for breakfast!

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August 22nd 2016 – New Zealand Day 2

Today I woke up at 6:00am. I decided to set an alarm clock because today was a fair amount of driving. I made myself a skillet of vegetables and eggs, and then hit the road. The first stop, only a few kilometres away, was Whangarei Falls. The view was absolutely spectacular! There was a 1.5km circular loop to view the falls from beneath, which I took. I tried to get some good photo’s from below, but the sun wasn’t angled properly and it was fairly misty.

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The next stop roughly an hour away was Pahia, where I parked my campervan and walked around for about an hour. There was a really pretty church called St. Paul’s Anglican Church.

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The next stop, which I came across by accident, was Haruru Falls. These falls were fairly short, but quite wide.

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After visiting Haruru Falls i put Cape Reinga in my GPS, and started heading towards there. It was going to take roughly about 2.5 hours, but I knew I would come across other things along the way. The first place I stopped at was Coopers Beach, where I made myself some coffee and Thai curry soup, which was absolutely delicious. I have quite the love for Thai food, so this hit the spot!

The next unscheduled stop was 90 mile beach. My sister had told me about this, and lets just say words can’t even describe this beach. The beach is spectacular! Each entrance to the beach is very different. The south is miles and miles of beautiful white sandy beach, and the north is lots of massive sand dunes.

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After visiting 90 mile beach I visited Houhora, and Rarawa Beach. Houhora had a nice view, and Rarawa Beach had some of the most beautiful white sand I have ever seen.

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The next stop, which I came across was the sand dunes on Te Paki stream road. I’m exceptionally glad that I visited this because I saw a beautiful bee hive collection along the way, and the sand dunes were even bigger than the ones I have seen in Nevada. The views from the top were spectacular. I even rode a sand board down a steep one! Sand boarding is a lot of fun, but a bit scary, because you have no control over the speed!

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The last and final stop of today was Cape Reinga to watch the sunset. The sunset was quite beautiful, and the pictures don’t quite do it justice. It was raining out at sea, so it was blocking a fair amount of the sun, but some was still shining through.

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It was 6:30 now so I had to find somewhere to stay for the night. The GPS in my campervan has all the camp sites in New Zealand listed, so I looked on the GPS and found one close by that was actually right on the beach near Cape Reinga for only $6. Tapotupotu camp site is on the honour system, but I was honest and paid (well I was 10 cents short…). I made myself a salad for dinner, and had some leftover pasta.

I figured out a few things about my campervan that didn’t quite make sense earlier on. I was wondering why my waste water tank wasn’t registering anything so I went outside and looked, and it appears that Britz forgot to close the waste water valve. Don’t worry because it is only grey water; the toilet is separate! I closed the valve and now everything is functioning properly. I also figured out why my hot water heater wasn’t working, and fixed that. I had an air bubble in the system. I had a nice hot shower, and then settled into bed.

Tomorrow I’m going to head back towards Auckland, and I will need to find somewhere to fill up with water as I’m down to less than 25 percent. Britz recommends every 2-3 days that I visit an actual full service camp site. These camp sites typically cost $15-20 so I will try and stretch to 3 days whenever possible.

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