Dolphins, daredevils and cyclones

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tumblr_nllckoLgHo1u6rsg7o10_1280This post is the product of a highly jet-lagged brain, so I apologise for the lack of clever words. I know it’s only been four days of work, but I am beyond relieved that it’s the weekend. I’m getting a haircut, doing some serious and ruthless house de-cluttering, and finally getting down to some sewing.

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tumblr_nllckoLgHo1u6rsg7o2_1280I’ve been happily reliving our last week in New Zealand this week, going through our photographs from the Bay of Islands. On our first day in Paihia, the main tourist town on the Bay, we hopped on a boat for a trip around the bay. The sun shone, gannets flopped into the water, and a small pod of dolphins played in the wake of a large passing ferry. After all the action-packed volcanic excitement of the last few days a lazy day of sea and sunshine was very welcome.

And because we’re us, we also found time for an adventure. Bright and early one morning an all-terrain bus scooped us up from the centre of Paihia and whisked us off into Northland, along 90 mile beach and up to the most northerly point of New Zealand.

Now as I mentioned in my previous post, New Zealand is bristling with activities for the adrenalin junkie. While I draw the line at bungees and leaping out of aeroplanes, I’ll certainly chuck myself off the top of an 90m sand dune with a boogie board underneath me. Our bus driver pulled up alongside the dunes, gave us a quick safety briefing, shoved boards into our hands and sent us off to the top. I earned myself the serious honour of being “first jumper” (little Divergent reference for you there) and consequently starred in at least three Chinese tourists’ home movies. Apparently being the first nutter to slide down a really big pile of sand at breakneck speed is a pretty significant life goal – I don’t think I was congratulated as much when I passed my PhD. I’m totally adding Dune Master to my list of qualifications.

All the while, a storm was brewing. Quite literally – tropical cyclone Pam passed over Vanuatu causing causing enormous damage and some loss of life, and North Island New Zealand hunkered down in preparation for what could be a pretty serious soaking.

tumblr_nllcn98XOS1u6rsg7o2_1280In the end we were extremely fortunate, and what could have been a serious storm was no more than a day of heavy rain and strong winds. We ventured out to Waitangi in the morning, to see where the treaty was signed, and in the afternoon we hid indoors from the weather and (in my case) binge-watched past episodes of the Sewing Bee.

 

What do you think?

  • Just catching up with all of your travel posts – so many amazing pictures! I wish I had visited NZ when I travelled around Australia a few years ago – it would be so hard to get a trip in with my “maximum two weeks holiday at once” policy at work!

    • That’s a pretty harsh policy! I opted for taking a sabbatical rather than annual leave, which meant I didn’t get paid but I did get to take a decent length of time off. NZ was very beautiful, and entirely not what I was expecting. I suppose I expected a kind of small-scale Australia, but it’s like another world entirely.