Thursday 31 March 2016 – Northland, New Zealand.
After a really nice evening, we slept well and were up early. We had quite a big day ahead, with five or six hours driving to get up to the top of the country and back down again, but to Paihia on the east coast. El was up to watch a great sunrise, but slack bugger that I am I missed it entirely. I am not much of a photographer! I did catch the glow just before the sun fully popped up over the horizon.
After an unspectacular breakfast (I still ate like a pig) we checked out and were on the road early. I had planned on catching the car ferry from Rawene, but foolishly did not check a timetable before we left and arrived with a 45 minute wait for the ferry. I took a photo of the great old church at Rawene.
With another half an hour to go we checked out the local coffee shop and sat out on the deck in the sun, gazing over the harbour and enjoyed a very nice flat white.
The car ferry is small, it is only a 15 minute journey, and there were only eight cars on it, still more than I expected for a mid-week morning.
I took a photo of the route planner that was outside the car window on the ferry. We drove up from the bottom of the map to the top, up the right hand side and down the left. Luckily there are not too many road choices !
The small town of Rawene.
Another church, stupidly I forgot to note the name of the church, and even more stupidly I cut the top of the spire off. Doh!
The drive up to the cape is very pretty, wild and remote, and fairly deserted on the road as well. We decided to not take the beach route (and the rental car terms forbid it anyway) and with so much driving already planned we did not take any detours either. We could have gone to 90 mile beach for a look. Next time.
The road to the cape is excellent, it was unsealed not that long ago, pleased to see some of the petrol tax dollars I paid in NZ put to some good use.
We arrived at Cape Rienga early in the afternoon, the car park was about half full, which was a relief, I was half expecting a load of tour buses, but it was pretty quiet. The walk to the tip and the lighthouse takes about 20 minutes. I was a little bit excited as I had very much been looking forward to coming here, and showing El some of my adopted homeland.
Soon we were there, at the cape.
where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean at the very end of New Zealand.
Only 18029km back to London!
We were a little snackish as we set off back southward. I had been big-upping the fish and chip shop at Mangonui on Doubtless Bay on the way, so we stopped there for a very late lunch. We were not impressed, service was a bit confusing and not particularly friendly and the small fish and chips were nice, but massively overpriced. I was disappointed to be honest. It is not on my recommended list any more, sadly. We had such a good eating and drinking experience in New Zealand, shame to have a couple of places bring it down a bit.
After the break we carried on driving down to Haruru Falls, just outside Paihia where I had booked a room in a B and B for two nights. I was glad to get there, after six hours in the car, albeit with lots of breaks, it was nice to not have to get back in and drive again.
Though we had to in the end, there are no restaurants in Haruru Falls, so I had to drive into town for dinner. We did have an amazing Thai at Amazing Thai.
It was another good day.