Remember, Remember, the 29th of September..
Yes, I in fact realize that is not the actual saying.. However, after the day I had, I feel like I should be able to borrow it for my own purposes!
This blog post was originally going to be about the Northland, and our favorite things we did while there. However… that will have to wait..
Let the shit storm begin..
We started our morning in the beautiful Cape Reinga campsite….. But it was kinda dreary… And raining… Basically not a great start to the day. Note: the photo below is the campsite the day we arrived! Obviously, a much nicer day. Just imagine darkness and a lot of rain and you’ll be in scene.
The goal for the day was to go sand boarding on a giant sand dune, then drive across the 90 mile beach…
Minor detour from the story.. The 90 mile beach is rather humorous as first off, New Zealand uses kilometers, not miles, and secondly, the 90 mile beach is not, in fact, 90 miles… Sooo just sort of odd..
Anyway, back to the matter at hand.. Audrey had found a sand boarding place where we could rent boards for $15 for an hour. Well, we knew the general direction of place, but not the exact location. Therefore, we make our way down highway 1 (a.k.a. basically the only one the goes this far north), and finally get some cell service… for like 2 seconds, which wasn’t quite enough.
I google mapped the place, but unbeknownst to me, and am taking us in the wrong direction… A solid 30 minutes on gravel road in the wrong direction. We get to the end of the road where I have taken us, and there are literally horses and cows on the road.
One horse is galloping at us.. Like what the hell do I do when a horse is galloping straight at our car.. I mean, obviously, I’m going to be winning this game of chicken, but it just hardly seemed fair to the horse.
To the dunes..
Anyway, we finally figure out where we were supposed to be going, and made it to the giant dunes. Annnd it’s raining.. Not buckets mind you, but enough that I’m considering flying down mountains of sand doesn’t sound appealing.. But we made it, right? Like we have to do it now..
We get a solid 4 rides in, and it start raining a lot harder.. So we decide to call it a day. As we are walking down, we see the entrance to the 90 mile beach. Which is flooded…
Obviously, we weren’t going to be able to drive on it, which was rather disappointing, but whatever.
We then decide to drive to the other entrance to 90 mile beach. Once there, it was just so raining and miserable, that after a couple of minutes, we left.
A note about campsites…
Our final destination of the day was to the free campsite I had found further south. For your knowledge, New Zealand Department of Conservation campsites have 3 levels. Basic, being the free one (donations always appreciated), which are basically a toilet and some sort of water access. This access could be a stream or a legit tap, but boiling the water is a must.
Next, you have the standard campsite, which is typically $8. These provide toilets and showers, most likely cold. And let me tell you.. Those bitches are cold.
The last is a scenic. This has the same accommodation as the standard, but are usually in gorgeous places. These are typically $13 a person, a night. We’ve done a few of these, and been on the beach!
Anyway, back to today. We arrived at the free campsite, and saw a boulder in the way of the main camping area. Therefore, we assumed it was closed. Turns out, it wasn’t, however, we ended up leaving. Once we had service again, we found a new place called “The Traveller’s Hut”. It was only $10 a person, and had hot showers!! A fricken hot commodity in the campervan world.
Is this day finally looking up?
After driving another 30 minutes back the way we came, we finally arrived. Thinking this was the end to our misfortune, are spirits were lifted!
Until accidentally… we may have locked ourselves out of our car…. Well, this was a pickle, my friends. In the states, I would call AAA. However, pretty sure New Zealand doesn’t have that. After casually inquiring of the fellow campers if they knew how to break into a locked van, no one really had an idea. This, I suppose should actually be reassuring, however, in this case, it was unhelpful. Regardless, we found some wire and a flathead screw driver, and attempted to break into our car. This didn’t work. At last, Neville, our fearless host, came to the rescue with a better wire and wrench.
A few minutes later, we were back in the van!
Obviously, it had been a hell of a day. But we are safe and sound, had a hot shower, and received 4 free duck eggs. Basically, all’s well that ends well!
P.S. Because this was a more depressing kind of post, I will leave you with some cool photos of some of the rest of our last couple days. This to be discussed in the next post!