After leaving Raetihi Lodge on May 5th, we set off on our last New Zealand adventure before heading to Canada.
Our first stop was Mapua – the place where we au paired for a family of 5 + a doggy named Diesel. This was a special place for us – it allowed us to escape our shitty situation in Queenstown early, and relax before the start of a long season at the lodge eight months ago. By relax, I mean we literally did nothing for three weeks straight. I’ve never felt that relaxed in my entire life. Mapua gave us such peace that we thought it only fitting to go there again and spend some time with our favourite young family.
After two nights in that little village, we were off to windy Wellington via the Interislander ferry. I was so hungover from getting wasted the night before, that I was almost chundering on the car ride to the ferry and when we were on the ferry. Needless to say, we didn’t do much in Wellington when we got there.
The next day we went to Te Papa museum. It was pretty dope.
They had a really long squid. In fact, it’s called a colossal squid. It’s the longest one ever found I think.
We also hiked up Mount Victoria which was a pretty wicked view.
The next place we went to was Masterton. On the way there I wanted to drive through Martinborough since I heard it was gorgeous. It was nice, but if you don’t feel like checking out vineyards and drinkin’ wine, you’re shit out of luck; that’s all there is to do here. I’m glad we went through here though, because I wanted to checkout Stonehendge Aotearoa. I don’t really know what the whole deal is with it, but I wanted to see it because it looked cool. Well, it was closed, but I’m glad because I didn’t realize we had to pay to go in and see some shitty rock thing. Here’s a pic I stole online:
We couldn’t get close to it unless we jumped a bunch of barb wire fences, and we just didn’t care that much. However, we did notice a pretty spooky looking house just opposite the road from Stonehendge.
Masterton is pretty alright, but it’s the people there who are awesome. We stayed with the Mossman’s who we met while working at the lodge the first season.
Mark (Mossy) & Jo Mossman came to Raetihi Lodge for lunch a couple of times and I was their waiter. After getting to know each other a little bit, they invited Jess and I to come stay at their place in Masterton whenever we wanted to. How nice is that right?! I mean, I’ve only known them for a couple of hours and they insist on having us for dinner and a place to crash. Wow. I hope I’m that welcoming when I have my own place. This was our second time staying at their house, and they sure treated us like family.
They have a massive farm (I can’t remember how many acres but it was a lot). They took us up to the top of a hill in their little off-road vehicle.
They also took us to Castle Point! Castle Point is a place on the Eastern Coast known for it’s sights. It’s also known for being a very dangerous place to fish and surf. People often fish off the large cliffs and get taken by waves and scraped down the rocks. It would suck balls.
What an epic place this was. It had a little bit of everything scenic-wise. After some great meals, unlimited wine and beer, and tons of laughs, we left the Mossman’s but we shall return some day!
We headed up to Napier to visit Jessica’s grandparents. They were really nice and I liked them. Unfortunately, they all had visitors over so we had to sleep in our car again the first night. We don’t mind doing it once in a while – Jess always gets a good sleep and I stay up all night freezing. Classic.
Our second night in Napier we found a place to sleep. Our little Chilean daughter Ligia was living in Hastings at the time (yes, it’s as shitty as East Hastings in Vancouver), and she got the owner to let us stay at his house… for $20.
He pulled an old mattress out of his garage and threw it down on the living room floor. It was better than sleeping in the car, but since Ligia and six other people all work at the local apple packing plant working around-the-clock shifts, we had people waking us up all night long. 12pm, 3am, 4am, 5am, dishes were clanging in the kitchen, and I open my eyes and people are looking at us speaking Español. It was a weird situation, so I just went back to bed each time. I was also pretty stoned so I felt like they were conspiring against us, but that’s normal for me.
A sight we saw just before we left Napier was the sleeping giant mountain. Can you spot the sleeping giant? Hint: he’s laying on his back facing the sky.
Our next stop was Tolaga Bay. I saw pictures of this place online and it looked magical, AND IT WAS!
From there we ventured to East Cape. We heard there was a beautiful lighthouse here and it was worth the off-roading.
Our car got a little beat up, and the lighthouse wound up being a bit… anticlimactic.
It was a cool adventure though. Not many kiwis make it to East Cape since it’s so far out of the way. It was nice to do the hike up to the top 🙂
From there, we passed through Opotiki and headed to Rotorua to our favourite reminiscent holiday park – Waiteti Trout Stream Holiday Park.
This is a place Jess and I traveled to when I first arrived in New Zealand. We really enjoyed our time there with all the ducks and swans.
Next we went to Tauranga to visit Jess’ sister Lesley. She just moved there and has a baby on the way with her boyfriend Daniel! How exciting!
We climbed this thing called “The Mount”. The Mount’s real name is Mount Maunganui. It’s basically right in the middle of the city so it’s pretty popular and the views are stunning.
From Tauranga, we headed up to the Coromandel Peninsula. I wanted to visit a place called Hot Water Beach, where you dig through the sand and the water is so hot it’s like a spa pool in the sand.
We knew this place was a popular tourist spot, but since it was Winter we figured no one would be around.
We were wrong, there were tons of people around! Jess and I passed on renting a shovel and thought we’d wing it. We dipped our toes into someone else’s spa pool so we could say we went in.
The hot water is only in one spot on the beach so that’s why everyone is so crammed together.
The Coromandel also boasts other cool sights, such as Cathedral Cove.
This is an insanely popular place too. We got these photos by sheer chance. Right after we arrived, a flood of tourist buses showed up and ruined the scene.
From there, we headed up to Pukekohe in Auckland to relax for a few days. This is where Jess’ mama lives – Mama Jo.
From there, we drove up to Waitangi for the night. I wanted to see Kerikeri, Russell, and Paihia. The small vehicle ferry from Paihia to Russell holds about eight cars and runs every ten minutes.
While we were at the campground for the night, I went for a poop. While I was pooping, I texted Jess and said, “can you please get a bowl ready?” What I was referring to, was a bowl of marijuana. What she handed me was this:
Today we wanted to reach Cape Reinga – the furthest point North in the country. By doing this, we will have gone tip to tip – top to bottom. First we had to stop and check out Ninety Mile Beach.
It sure goes for miles, but not ninety. The folks who named it used to calculate it based on how long it took the horses to get them from one end to the other, that’s how they measured it. They didn’t factor in that horses walk slower in sand, so it’s more like 55 miles.
Then we had to stop by the Te Paki sand dunes. If you ever go to New Zealand, you have to go do this. It was so much frickin’ fun. But make sure to wear some goggles, or you’ll have sand stuck in your eyeballs for three days like Jess.
We went down ones way higher, but we didn’t take our camera up because they get lost in the dunes. Everything gets lost in the dunes.
Then finally, after 1.5 years, we scaled the country South to North!
It’s always such an amazing feeling staring deep out to sea. You realize how tiny you are in this great, big world.
On December 1, 2015 I wrote a note in my phone below. I achieved all of these goals except volunteering, bungee jumping, and jet boating. Along the way, other goals popped up, like going from Bluff to Cape Reinga.
It was actually very special coming here. It made me feel like I had accomplished all my goals for New Zealand, and that the trip was now complete. This was a very significant moment, for both of us. We were sad to see this journey end, but thrilled to go on to something new.
The only part we find odd, is that the distances on the signs don’t match each other. Bluff says it’s 1,401km to Cape Reinga, Cape Reinga says it’s 1,452km to Bluff. So weird!
From there, we ended our New Zealand adventures with a trippy kitty at a holiday park,
and we got to see Tāne Mahuta on the drive home. Tāne Mahuta is the largest standing Kauri tree in the world. It’s older than shit too.
Oh ya, there was also a shit ton of waterfalls on this trip. I have no idea which is which.
Now, I have imported fine New Zealand goods into Canada. Our time here in Calgary the past six days has been a bit overwhelming – so many people to see, so many things to do, and we have a roadtrip to the states tomorrow.
We go and then we come and then we go, but we’ll always be around; you just gotta find us 🙂
Kuszy and Moorey,