02. Whangarei

Oakura Bay Rest Day!

Oakura Bay

Big Cock hits the spot..

Big Cock Drink

Helena Bay – Skullduggery & Cannibals

Helena Bay

NickyA snap decision to follow a road to the sea for a lunch break brought us to this beautiful little cove, with turquoise waters lapping the sand and picnic bench – ripe for cheese and cracker action, and a snooze in the warm sun. Sweet!

A silver haired local beach bach owner came over to check out these strangers ;) And we got to nattering. Turns out his great grand father lived there and had come over from Scotland in the 1870’s. There were all sorts of fascinating tales told, but one was of him as a child, merrily digging up human skulls in the eroding sand near the edge of the beach – each with spike holes in the top. Blimey! Creepy stuff. But not as bone chilling as the next story… His great grand father had told of ‘the last great feast’ on the headland in front of us, that lasted for 3 weeks. He’d “heard the celebrations, and then the screams every night as the tribe took their victims from the cages, cooked and ate them! “… Well … I nearly bloody choked on my cheese and crackers I tell you!! Blimmin ‘ek what do you say when someone says that with sincerity? My mind was boggling as we walked on up the hill… Pretty gobsmacked. “Hello. Nice day isn’t it. Oh by the way, see that spot there? People used to eat each other there… Hmm.. I think it might rain later eh.”

I took these revelations with an extremely large pinch of salt of course, (!).  

Some things the people you meet allude to can take us by surprise, to say the least! But in general the more of New Zealand we explore, the more we begin to glimpse some deep rooted feelings and very complex relationships between all the peoples of this beautiful country. It’s going to be a hard one to fully understand.

Steven In-Flight

Seagull Flying

CookieThe zoom on my camera only goes up to 35mm, so is generally pretty useless at wildlife photography. Luckily Steven Seagall was putting on a good show today and flew straight past our picnic bench :)

Epic Tree

Monster Tree

Postman Pat Fields

Telly Tubby Hils

NickyThe hills by the sea in the Northland seem to be so humped and bumped in an almost cartoon way. Very similar to the way Cookie’s drawn them above funnily enough. Really gorgeous vibrant green to look at, and all textured with rippling grooves and ledges reminiscent of rice fields. I assume the cattle and sheep carve the steep slopes into stepped highways after years of grazing. You don’t often see too many sheep near the roads though… as we’ve heard stories from farmers about sheep rustling !! ;) Really!

Free Beer

Free Beer

NickyAfter a day of discovering some awesome beaches we ended up in the DOC ( Department of Conservation ) campground in the Mimiwhangata Coastal Reserve. After an epic, hot and sweaty 13 mile day we were so thankful when fellow campers Aiden and Helen popped over to introduce themselves bringing with them cold beers! Wuhoo! What awesome lovely people :D We salute you!

Sunset at Waikahoa Bay

Sunset at Waikahoa Bay

Mimiwhangata Coastal Park

Mimiwhangata Bay

CookieWe’re off trail at the moment, on an alternate route that I thought looked interesting on the maps (yellow line). Didn’t realise that there was a DOC coastal park down here, or how stunningly beautiful it would be. This has been by far our favourite section to date :) Word of warning though: After Te Ruatahi Island the park ends and the final stretch to the road, Pareparea Bay is a private beach. We found this out from the Maori living at the end of the beach, who to be honest didn’t look too happy about seeing us initially.. But were quite amused by our walk across NZ and gave us permission and directions to get out onto Rockells Road. Phew, was worried for a moment we’d have to do a hell of a long walk back if they didn’t!