Road Trip- Kiwi Style

1 10 2007

The day began at 6.30am. I got up, very bleary-eyed, and got ready. A little before 7 I still hadn’t seen Kate so I went back to bed (fully clothed) and dozed for about half an hour. Next thing I knew Kate, in her bright pink PJ’s and looking a bit bleary herself was standing over me. “I can’t get ahold of my sister but do you still want to go?” “For sure!”

So forty-five minutes later we were in the car. Kate looked at her watch and remarked on how we had made good time, it was only a quarter past. “Kate, it’s 8.15” “What? I thought it was seven! Your clock must be wrong.” “My clock is my cell phone which is hooked up to a satellite. I got up at 6.30 but you weren’t up so I went back to sleep. It’s after eight now.” Then it hit us at the same time. “Daylight savings!”

Turns out I had woken up at the proper time and she had slept in. Not that it matters, we were on the road and enjoying the sights. There were sheep, cows and roadkill aplenty. There were even doves and hawks flying.

I was in charge of music for the journey. We started the morning with some Jack Johnson, then moved on to a Delirious worship album.

It’s about a two hour drive to the peninsula so we sang and chatted, ate Scroggin and occasionally pulled over to try and contact Kate’s sister, Marissa.

Eventually we reached a little town where we talked to the sweet information lady. She smelled like grandma and was dressed to the nines. It made me miss my grandmoms. We got a map and decided on a destination- Hot Beach by way of Cathedral Cove. (Cathedral Cove because they filmed the second Narnia movie there and Hot Beach for obvious reasons.)

So back in the car, a few more handfuls of Scroggin and some very loud Phantom of the Opera. Kate and I sang along, switching part and keys with reckless abandon. The road was incredibly windy with steep drop-offs and bikers to avoid around every corner. Jen wouldn’t have made it five minutes.

We did make it to Haiki eventually, though. We pulled over and changed clothes in the toilets before realizing that we were in the wrong car park. Back in the car, a quick on-the-go wardrobe change for me and we got to the proper place. We got out of the car in the midst of a pouring rain. The asian tourists were making a bee-line for their camper. I grabbed some fruit, my water and the camera and we were off!

It’s about a forty minute hike from the car park to Cathedral Cove. We hadn’t gone more than ten before the sun broke out. As we tramped along we came to a sign saying “Gemstone Bay, 3 mins”. Well what two girls in their right minds would resist such a detour? I munched my apple an dwe clambered down the many stairs to the bay, pausing to pray blessings over our day.

Gemstone Bay turned out to be a great rocky beach. We took some pictures and headed back out. I managed to completely biff it on some stairs. I scraped my hand and dirtied my apple past eating. Very tragic.

So on we tramped. Up hill and down with every new vista a fresh delight. I have never seen anyplace that looked so much like Narnia. (Appropriatly enough).

Then down a long flight of stairs that looked like something from Jurassic Park. At the bottom I got the shock of my life. I have had dreams about this place before. You come down the stairs and you are under trees with the hillside a vertiable cliff on three sides. One felled tree makes a tempting photo-op so I made Kate take pictures of me. Once you walk out beyond the trees you feel a strong wind coming from the left. Then you see it- this monstrous cave shaped like a cathedral. The wind is strong because it’s being tunneled through the cave.

We took heaps of pictures, some of which were truly stunning.

Then the hike back out. We talked about just about everything and took a different way back through a grove of trees with lichen-covered rocks. There were several pauses to rest our legs and stare open-mouthed at the vista.

The arrival back at the car was greeted with much joy. Kate was thirsty and my butt hurt from all the stairs. (Something about the Kiwi’s makes them like to put stairs on all their steep tracks)

Our next destination was Hot Beach and lunch. Sadly, it was not to be. We made it all the way back to the information center before realizing that we’d missed the turn-off about twenty minutes back. It was too late to turn around so we decided to just head south and see what happened.

But first we needed refreshment. Kate would make an excellent Seattle-ite. She’s artsy and creative and LOVES coffee. Coffee was thence obtained along with a cheese and bacon scone (pronounced ‘skon’)

Then off towards home and adventures unknown.

As we drove through Waihi Kate looks at me and goes “Wanna go to the beach?” “Sure!”

Kate requested 80’s music so I turned on Beth’s mix and we listened to ‘girls just wanna have fun’. As we drove into Waihi beach we were listening to ‘I wanna dance with somebody’.

Gray skies had lowered and the wind was blowing hard with occasional spitting rain. Kate checked out the beach then moved us farther down. We sat in the car park looking at the windy weather and I saw Kate’s eyes light up. “I want to do something crazy,” she said without looking at me, “It must be the music”. Being me my immediate reply was “I’m up for that. Wanna run into the ocean fully clothed?” She laughed. “That might be easier but I was rather thinking of going for a swim.” Keep in mind that it is maybe sixty-eight degrees and blowing a gale, even the seagulls have given up in despair. “Togs it is!” I exclaim.

We gather our stuff, do a quick change in the toilets and we’re ready. I’m in a brown bikini with my board shorts and Kate’s wisely brought a brown one piece (also with board shorts). Everyone else in sight is in long pants, tennis shoes and parkas. We run laughing fit to bust all the way into the ocean. Now any Kiwi (or any Aussie for that matter) will tell you that it’s too early for swimming. They’re right. Though it isn’t as cold as the ocean at home, and it’s definitly warmer than Jack’s pool in winter, it is COLD. After a moment’s hesitation on my part the waves decide for me and I’m soaked up to my neck. I do an artsy back bend so my hair but not my ears get wet. I’ve not got stringy ocean-hair and my legs have gone numb. Being who we are, though, we go with it and bodysurf, frolic and paddle about. I managed to scrape my knee and get sand in both ears.

Fearing pneumonia we call off the swimming and clamber out of the ocean. We are both enjoying the mildly horrified expressions of our fellow beach-goers. I do some very soggy ballet on the sand, pick up a shell and it’s back to the toilets to change. We took a few pictures, “Look Kate! I’m queen of the ocean” and got dressed.

Back in the car once more and finally headed for home. I twirl my salt-encrusted hair around my salt-encrusted finger and wonder at the beauty of this place that I am in.

The house was empty when we got home. Everyone had gone to Jordan’s 21st birthday party. (Happy birthday Jordan!) We enjoyed the quiet, uploaded pictures, ate dinner and went to bed.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day. 

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4 responses

1 10 2007
Jennifer James

Hey I could have made it! That’s what car sickness patches are for! Or dramamine. You would have had to carry me because I’d be completely out of it! But I would have been there!

UM. What’s Scroggins? (it kind of sounds like a euphemism for boy bits?) (sorry boys…)
Sounds like you are having so much fun. I like when you write long posts, because it let’s me be there in my head. Salt encrusted hair around salt encrusted finger = brilliant. Watch out for sharks!

1 10 2007
walkingintherain

Not Scroggins. Scroggin. It’s like trail mix but better. It has yogurt and chocolate covered raisins, peanuts, dried apricot, regular raisins etc. It’s pretty much the greatest thing ever.

I’m glad you liked the post. It took me FOREVER to type up last night. Not that that was bad, I took a nap from 4.30 to 5.20 yesterday evening so I wasn’t tired.

I love you seester!

1 10 2007
Mother Smith

Can you say ” boy parts” on a blog from the THOP?
You two crack me up!!
Sounds like you’re having a real adventure and I love it!!
Mum

1 10 2007
Jennifer James

I couched it as politely as possible!

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