Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Day Four: Sheep World to Hamilton

When we woke, it was still raining. I could hear it quite loudly from my bunk-bed; it was hitting the roof approximately one foot above my head. We cosidered checking out Sheep World, but didn't make it past the gift shop. Entry was somewhere in the $20+ range, which seemed a bit steep for an attraction which appeared to consist mainly of watching people sheer sheep.

Back on the road, our plan was to make it as far as Auckland by the end of the day to pick up Loren. We picked a nice beach park to visit along the way, involving a short detour along scenic ridge of land, one of many little peninsulas making up the convoluted coastline along the Maharangi Harbour. We ended up at a lovely little beach near the mouth of the harbour. Retracing our steps, my best guess puts us at Otarawao Bay. We had picked it more or less at random, but it was a beautiful spot, with little islands dotting the harbour. The rain and clounds cleared out for a little while, and we had ourselves a nice walk on the beach.

A Beach, Northland

Mom and I spent some time exploring the interesting cliffs along one end of the beach

cliff formations and Mom

The surrounding area was mostly farmland, so we felt pretty lucky to find a cafe along our path, and even luckier when the food turned out to be good. I had a memorable twice-baked kumera - the guy was reluctant to divulge the secret recipe but would admit it involved sour cream and curry. We were the only patrons in the place and the owner (who turned out to be the guy behind the counter) came out and chatted with us. Dad soon discovered that the motorbike out front was his, which gave them something to talk about. He described the dangers of not only the winding roads, but also the pukeko - a colourful native bird that doesn't always have the good sense to get out of the way of a speeding motorbike. We had spotted a few in the pastures on our drive; we would encounter them in greater abundance when we got to Rotorua.

Our next stop was Orewa so I could pick up a pair of pants I had so cleverly left in the laundry room during our stay. We were in an internet cafe plotting our route through Auckland to pick up Loren at the convention centre when he text-ed to say he'd had some bad luck and dropped out of the running early, and couldn't wait to get out of Auckland. So we made one more daunting trip through Auckland's motorways in our campervan, picked up Loren, and promptly got back on the road again, putting Auckland behind us without a second thought. We had thought to stop at the nearest holiday park, but the appeal of a real bed for the night was too great, and we pushed on to Hamilton. It was a long trip for us drivers (me and Dad) but we did appreciate cozy Eagle's Nest Backpackers where we landed at the end of our day's journey.

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