Place 69 – Day 3: Kaitaia – Te Paki Sand Dunes, The Top of NZ & Spirits Bay

Post breakfast, we were in the car and driving further up north! By 09:00, we were on our way and it was already getting warm!

We drove 1.5 hours up north to get to Te Paki stream. Here, in the middle of nowhere, there are giant sand dunes! Kim had read online that you can rent a ‘sandboard’ and go sandboarding on the dunes.

Once we arrived, we got ourselves a couple of sandboards and headed up the dunes. We were advised to go right to the highest dune to get a great view and then slide back down, which is what we did. What we didn’t realise was how incredible steep all of the dunes are and the effort it takes to get to the top, including getting sand blown in your face all the time!

Kim struggling with the dune!

We did get some amazing views at the top of the highest dune, which we soaked in whilst we relaxed after the tiresome climb!

The first sandboard down looked very high but wasn’t very fast at all.

We then went down the next hill, which was smaller but had way more speed and was great fun!

Luckily, as we were leaving, the sun got much warmer, so it was the perfect timing!

We had a drink and then drove from here to Cape Reinga, which is the top most point of New Zealand. Once we got here, we parked and walked down to the lighthouse, seeing the amazing views on the way. Apparently, two different oceans combine at this point also, which is what we assume the waves in the middle of the sea are!

We walked back to the car after seeing the lighthouse and drove to a beach over a gravel road, which took a while! The beach was called spirits bay and it was beautiful! We sat and ate our homemade ham, beef, cheese & salad sandwiches and then got back to the car to drive back to the apartment.

We chilled out for a while whilst we recovered from our tiredness and then we got back in the car and drove to the town to find food. We got a kebab each, which was an odd thing to choose but was delicious!

We watched a cabin restoration TV show and some other TV and then got packed up to leave tomorrow morning.

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

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Place 49 – Day 379: Auckland – Biometrics & Back in The Hostel Life

Waking at 05:45, we all hopped in the car with Kim’s family’s bags and drove to the airport. There was no traffic, but we did need to stop for some fuel on the way.

We got to the airport and it was pretty busy! We walked all the way to the correct check in location and left Tom & Maggie there. It was pretty emotional for Kim!

We deove back and we were very tired. We had a late checkout from the hotel, so we didn’t have to leave until 12:00.

We slept when we got back until around 09:45. Curtis then had a coffee and we got packed and did a bit of admin.

We eventually checked out at 12:00 and moved all of our baggage to the car. We walked to a coffee shop in the centre of town, got a ham and cheese croissant each and a coffee for breakfast.

We left the coffee shop and Kim did a bit of shopping around the city centre. Once Kim had finished, we walked up to the Visa Application Centre for Curtis to get his biometrics for his visa completed. We turned up 15 minutes early but were seen anyway and had it completed just after the original planned time, which was a result.

Once we finished there, we went to get Curtis’ hair cut. We went to his usual place and were told it would be 20 minutes. We waited for 45 and were then told it’s another 30 minutes and the were 2 people ahead. We didn’t want to wait any longer so we left and went back to the hotel.

We picked up the car and drove to our next accommodation.

We are officially back in hostel life! At least for the moment. We got to the place and no-one was there to check us in. We called and they said we cannot check in until 16:00. We spoke with them and asked which room we are in and we were allowed in. We went to the room and it was disgusting with bugs everywhere and also a lot of mould, so we asked to move to another room we had seen which looks nicer.

Once we were in the new room, we waited to get our key at 16:00 and then had fun with them regarding payment…we went to the shop to get some drinks as we were very thirsty!

Once we got back, we moved all of our bags in and Curtis started to feel a bit unwell so we relaxed for a bit until he felt better.

We went out for a late dinner at a cheap Italian place which was OK but nothing special.

What was special was the sky after our dinner during our walk around!

We got back and did more admin as well as catch up on some TV.

It’s weird, and certainly not as nice, to be in a hostel again, even if it is a private room (shared bathroom)!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 49 – Day 377: Auckland – Complimentary Upgrade

We woke up at 07:00 to get the car packed up and head off on the road to Auckland.

We were in the car for a couple of hours and then stopped just past Hamilton where we met the family we met up with in Rotorua.

We checked out their place and had a drink and snack whilst chatting away. Lovely piece of land they have!

After a couple of hours, we got a move on and drove to Auckland, but not before a brief stop at a recommended ice cream shop where there were huge ice cream scoops!

We got back on the road for the remaining 45 minutes and headed to our hotel. Kim booked a nice hotel for us to lounge in for a couple of days before her parents leave the country. We got to the hotel and brought in everything from the car and we then checked in. When checking in, we were given a complimentary upgrade on each room, which was perfect!

We checked out the rooms and put our bags in and then jumped back in the car and went to Takapuna for some lunch. We stopped at Nam Nam first for a Banh Mi and then went to Tok Tok for a Vietnamese coffee.

Post lunch, we drove to our former apartment and got all of our bags and put them in our car.

We drove to the hotel again to drop our car off and then Kim and Tom took the rental car back as required.

We got back to the hotel and got some items packed and then all sat together and watched the film Unbreakable.

We left after watching the film to find some dinner.

We wanted a Japanese noodle box but our usual place was closed, so we kept walking. Kim noticed a hidden place that has delicous sounding Japanese food.

Once we found the entrance, it was beauitful and looked like Japan!

We ordered a smorgasbord of food, each of us getting chicken katsu curry but we got tempura prawns and chicken karage for the table. It was excellent Japanese food and very authentic.

We left here and walked back to our hotel, with a beautiful view of the city.

We got back to the hotel and headed right to bed.

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 60 & 67 – Day 6 & 1: Rotorua & Taupo 🇳🇿 – 15000ft Skydive!

We were up early to get a bit of breakfast in us before driving to Taupo. The drive from here in Rotorua to Taupo is around 1 hour, so we left with plenty of time.

We needed to be at the location for 12:00, but we got there around 11:30.

We were doing a skydive at Skydive Taupo! We decided on the 15000ft skydive and Kim booked the handheld camera for herself.

We arrived and were greeted with a very happy set of employees which made everyone calm. That being said, neither of us were really nervous.

It was us two and Tom doing the skydive today!

We all sat and went through the information and safety videos and then went and got all suited up. We had a jumpsuit and harness on, an old school pilot hat and some thin plastic goggles.

We waited for around 5/10 minutes and then it was our turn! We met our tandem masters who introduced themselves. Kim had a kiwi guy and Tom & Curtis had Germans.

We all crammed into the plane and off we went.

The climb took about 20 minutes and during that time, we had to use oxygen masks as we got too high to breath!

Eventually, it was time.

Kim was the first of the three of us to go, followed by Tom and then Curtis as he was stuck at the back of the plane.

What an amazing experience! The first fall is a shock and takes your breath away, but it was an incredible view and a surreal feeling.

We had 75 seconds of freefall followed by 4 to 5 minutes of crusing with the parachute, and we got to control the parachute too!

Once we landed, we were all super happy and super glad we did it.

We went out for a spot of lunch after. We went to a place called Dixies at which Curtis had a Cuban Sandwich and Kim had potato wedges with multiple toppings including sour cream and chilli sauce.

We then drove the 1 hour trip backto the house and just completely chilled out. Tom went for a bike ride so we waited for him to come back and then we had a similar dinner as yesterday.

Tomorrow is a chilled day, we think!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 60 – Day 5: Rotorua – Mountain Lunch, Impromptu Luge-Ing & Blue Lake

We had to be up at a pretty good time so we could get to the gondola for 12:30.

We met some friends of Kim’s parents there as they had booked a lunch in the restaurant at the top of the mountain.

Once we all arrived, we went on the cable car to the top and entered the restaurant. The food was a big buffet, with multiple areas including salads, curries, roast meat and vegetables and dessert.

We sat and chatted for a long while whilst ensuring we ate as much as we could!

Once we left the restaurant we eventually decided we wanted to do a quick luge run, so we did so. It was great fun and us two had a great battle in which Curtis came out on top .

We left there and drove to blue lake. Unsurprisingly by the name, this is a lake of which is blue. We walked in the water a little and then sat and chatted for a while in the very warm heat!

We said goodbye and drove back home. We were so warm, but we went to the supermarket just to get suncream as we were running out.

We chilled for the evening and had bacon, eggs, beans and toast for dinner.

Pretty early start tomorrow, with a very fun and scary day!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 60 – Day 4: Rotorua – Free Banh Mi!

We had a very lazy start to the day and we didn’t go out until around 13:00.

We just went for a walk in the centre of Rotorua whilst Tom cycled. The centre is quite smelly, due to the sulphur around the area, but we walked up and down the streets anyway, just looking around and taking in the sites.

We stopped at a Vietnamese cafe where us two and Maggie got a Vietnamese coffee and we both got a Banh Mi each too. When it was brought out, we had an extra Banh Mi, so Maggie got one free!

We left here, went to the shop and walked back to the car and chilled out when we got back home.

Tom got back from his mountain biking and we had some dinner. We just had salad, as we did yesterday.

We did absolutely nothing for the rest of the evening and itwas brilliant. We have plans, at least for the next couple of days, one of which is crazy!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 60 – Day 3: Rotorua – Hot Tub Chillin’

Our hosts provided us with breakfast, which was very kind of them! Tom was even treated to some fish caught the day before.

We finished our breakfast and coffee, got ready, said goodbye and thank you and then got on the road.

We were driving to Rotorua, but stopped at Taupo on the way for a coffee. The McDonald’s in Taupo had a airplane as a kids play area which is awesome!

We left Taupo with our coffee and drove to Rotorua.

After arriving, we explored our large house, which can fit at least 10 people! We then went out to the shop to get food for dinner.

We relaxed for a while when we got back and then Kim made a steak salad which was delicious and beautiful!

After dinner, we jumped in the hot tub briefly, with a glass of bubbly!

We didn’t last long in the hot tub as it wasn’t that fun, so we got out and chilled.

Kim and Tom went to the supermarket to get some ice cream for dessert and then we hunkered down for the rest of the evening to relax.

We’re in Rotorua for a few days, so have some fun things planned!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale