more northland

I left Ahipara on Monday, August 12th.
Riah gave me a ride to the hostel where Chris had stayed in Kaitaia. and with a big hug, we said goodbye.

I had booked the Harrisons Cape Runner tour for that day along with a night in the hostel. when I arrived there, two other girls were doing the same: checking in for one night, doing the Cape Reinga tour, staying in room number six. their names: Cally (from South Africa) and Sara (from USA).

we hopped into the bus, which was full of cute, older people. most of them part of a group of friends from Wellington.

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we started the tour stopping at Ancient Kauri Kingdom, a coffee shop with lots of souvenirs and Kauri wood stuff… FYI Kauri trees are the largest (by volume) but not tallest species of trees in New Zealand, standing up to 50m tall in the emergent layer above the forest’s main canopy. It has been estimated that before 1840, the kauri forests of northern New Zealand occupied at least 12,000 square kilometres. today, there is only 4 per cent of uncut forest left… SAD!
after this, the tour took us to Houhora Heads, a very small town mostly occupied by people living in trailer homes.

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then they took us to Rarawa Beach… a beautiful place that might be super cool for camping in summer!

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then we had the biggest ice cream ever in Te Kao before arriving to Cape Reinga.

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The name comes from the Māori word ‘Reinga’ that means ‘Underworld’, referring to the belief that the cape is the point where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld. it’s also the point where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet.

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we then had lunch at Tapotupotu Bay, where a group of dolphins was waiting for us riding the waves.

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we headed after this to Te Paki Stream & Sand Dunes, where obviously the only ones to do tobogganing where us three… we had SO much fun!

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and then to ride along the Ninety Mile Beach in the bus from north to south.

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we returned to the hostel and the three of us decided to go have something to eat and buy some wine for the night… the night went smooth with some card games and talks… they invited me to join their roadtrip, and that was good for me because they were going south to Auckland through the west coast, and I really wanted to see that. so I agreed, thinking that maybe I could get dropped off at a very nice beach.

next morning we woke up very early to leave Kaitaia.
we drove all the way to Kohukohu to take the ferry, but we missed it by two minutes, so we returned to the town to try and use the library’s wifi… but oh surprise… no wifi.
so we just sat there relaxing for a couple of minutes and then we went back to the port to hop on the ferry.
I had three options to be dropped off at: Opononi, Omapere, or Dargaville.
I thought of staying on Omapere because it seems beautiful, but since we drove past it to get to the “Labyrinth Woodworks, Maze & Puzzle Museum”, I thought it was too much driving for the girls to take me back, and I really wanted to see this huge Kauri tree called “Tane Mahuta”… so I told them that I would stay in Dargaville instead… though I had the feeling it was going to be a VERY boring town…

so, we saw the maze place first. to be horribly honest, I would’ve saved those four dollars for a good pie or something… it’s not worth going… it’s not even a maze! it’s just a zigzag thing where you cannot even get lost…

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we then drove to Tane Mahuta… it’s a very short walk, but it is pretty amazing to see a tree that size! Especially after knowing that they are sort of extinct because they used them all for construction and other things.

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after this I got dropped off in Dargaville… and as I thought, it was a town with nothing interesting (there’s not even a McDonalds!!!)…
I went to the Greenhouse Backpackers, which used to be a school where the current owner attended… I asked Daren (the owner) if there was someone else staying here, and he said that there was only this guy called Bruno… I froze… “Bruno?” I asked… “yes, he’s a Maori guy that is selling his book”… “whaaat?! I’ve met this guy in Auckland! and I’ve met his daughter in Kerikeri!” and sure thing, Tuhoe “Bruno” Isaac was in the dorm, and of course he recognised me and greeted me happily telling me that he had seen Whai, and that she told her we met!

I went out to town – first to the library to use the wifi and tell mom and dad that I’m still alive, then to grab something to eat, and then to the supermarket to buy some things for dinner.

then I just relaxed in the hostel. writing, and talking a little bit with Bruno and with this other older guy called Willy, who is originally from Croatia. the evening passed, and I finally bought Bruno’s (very expensive) book… I thought our “friendship” history gave me the right to have a long and beautiful dedication and autograph along with our picture taken… but all I got was:

To Karen ch... Tuhoe Isaac Best Wishes 13/8/2013

To Karen
ch…
Tuhoe Isaac
Best Wishes
13/8/2013

damn! after all we’ve been through…

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next morning I took the shuttle to arrive in Whangarei and went directly to the YHA… I still had to kill some time to go serve in the Meditation Centre a week from that day (on the 21st), and I still needed to figure out how the hell I was going to get there…

I wrote a text message to Paul the Dutch to see if he was still living there, and he told me that Chris had arrived that day and was staying with him. in the hostel I met this really cool girl from England called Emma, with whom I went to the supermarket and had dinner back in the hostel.

next day I met with Chris. we walked around town and then decided to go up the mountain, where the YHA is, to the lookout… but stopped in the hostel for a cup of tea. there we met a Maori guy called Chazz who offered to take us up in his car. we walked down and went to Paul’s house, where Chris was going to cook dinner for him and his flatmate. So the four of us were hanging, having some wine, talking, and eating… fun times!

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on Friday I got picked up by John, my kiwi mom’s brother… or in other words, my kiwi uncle… I was going to stay with them (John, Shireen, and Patrick) in their beautiful house in Ngunguru until the meditation course started.

my time with them was happy and relaxing. uncle John took me on a rowboat to the beach the day I got there, we went to see Patrick play football on Saturday, I cooked Mexican breakfast on Sunday and then went for a walk to the lighthouse on Kukutauwhao Island and a visit to the beach in Matapouri.

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Kukutauwhao Island

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the following days I basically stayed at home. I was getting tired of travelling and spending so much money. I thought of changing my flight to go back home when the meditation course ended, but the “penalty” for changing dates was something around NZ$300… so I decided I’d better spend those dollars in something worth visiting… and besides, I was already in this part of the world and I would definitely regret not visiting more places once I got back home.
I gave up on serving in the meditation course as well. it was just difficult to get there without a car. I needed to go to Auckland to take another bus that would drop me on a town between Auckland and where I was now… just stupid… instead I found a job opportunity on the BBH website: Rotorua’s Funky Green Voyager needed a cleaner in exchange for accommodation, wifi, and laundry… “well, I’ve never been to Rotorua… from there I might be able to go to Hobbiton! ooh! and get into one of those stinky hot pools!… and just for cleaning? bitch please! I’m THE Mexican maid! ok… I’m calling them NOW”… I got accepted immediately, they had just posted the ad when I called, so I took it as a sign… I even got a free bus ticket from a Brazilian guy that is now in Spain and is definitely not using his “nakedbus passport” with seven trips left… everything was set… I was arriving in Rotorua on Friday, and even my uncles let me stay with them until that day! Orsome!!!

so I just relaxed and enjoyed the days in beautiful Ngunguru with this beautiful family! I cooked a Mexican dinner for my uncles and their neighbours. Shireen gave me a recipe for making TORTILLAS… that’s right, an English woman teaching a MEXICAN this! outrageous!

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on Thursday I went to visit another kauri tree, his name: Tane Moana. it turned out that this small walk is part of the Te Araroa Track that the Swedish were walking… so before going there I did the math in my head and I thought that I was right on time to meet them face to face in that forest… if that happened, I don’t know what I would think or do… I was breaking with my meditation vows of not generating new cravings, but for some reason I could not stop thinking of that cute, very blonde guy…
of course, I didn’t meet anyone, and I didn’t hear anything other than the pīwakawakas that were around me… the meditation “guru” in my head said “see, I told you… now you feel miserable because your craving turned out to be just that, a craving”… and although I did have my hopes high, I didn’t feel miserable like my imaginary teacher said… I knew I would see him again, though the fact that they are WALKING made things very complicated in times and stuff…

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I said goodbye to the family that night, and next morning Shireen took me to the bus stop in Whangarei.

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