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Our final month here. (warning it's long read)

NEW ZEALAND | Thursday, 28 February 2008 | Views [1005] | Comments [1]

All good things come to an end, as we have been told whilst here “Do not cry because it’s now over, but rejoice that you have committed effort to something you’ll truly miss”  That’s how we feel, we are making every effort to come back over here; we have arranged for the van to looked after including the Surfboard and Buggy so December we are heading back over.  How long depends on how much we can earn in the next few months, were open to legal offers of high paid employment J  Were heading to Endless Summer Lodge for a week, we spent Christmas here and think it’s a place to stay at again; and again and again.

We arrived at the Hostel to a glorious sunny day, no wind for Andy and very little Surf for me; so we borrowed a couple of body boards and along with a couple of others headed to the Sea for some fun.  The other couple, Stacy the Canadian Snowboarder and Thomas the Swiss school teacher; this much fun should be canned and sold in the supermarket.  All of us getting pounded by the waves and laughing and taking the p**s of each other for a full on 3 hours, one of the funniest memories we’ll go home with.  The wind has picked up, so no prizes guessing where Andy is going; he has not telling me that he even managed to get ‘some air’ today.  It’s like the Turtle’s on the EAC scene from the film ‘Finding Nemo’  Please try to picture this, Andy returns; Red faced shouting ‘Did you see me, did you see me? That was so cool’  To which I think ‘Yes I’ve seen you, now bu**er off and let me read my book you boring old git’ but to which I actually reply “Ye looked really cool, babe”  For a man in 38 year old body, he has a teenager’s brain (shame he doesn’t have the body to match) mid life crises coming early I’m beginning to think? To all those that know us this will be a surprise, we’ve taken to reading books over here and a lot of them; for us at least that’s un-heard of before this trip.  I’m reading about 1 – 11/2 a week and Andy’s about 1 a week, we used to think why read books!  But to be honest we now find it relaxing, either on the beach, under a shaded area out of the late afternoon Sun or of an evening back at the Hostel; we are rarely without our book in hand or in the van waiting to be picked up.  For the next couple of days it was the same old fun routine, grab a body board and head to the surf with the others; relax in the afternoon whilst Andy’s doing his Kite thing.  Well we all have to move on, so after saying our goodbyes to our Body board buddies, Stacy from Canada and Thomas from Switzerland; we all went our separate ways.  We were heading to Kahoe Farms again, Andy had some Kite surfing booked and I had some Surf time to catch up on.

It was only a very short 1 ½ hour drive to the next stop, so we dropped our stuff off and headed straight to Taupo Bay; the ‘secret’ Surf bay that the locals use.  I was a little eager to get out on the Surf again here, last time it was ‘Sweet as’ as they would say here.  Andy drove through the lanes to this the ‘Best & Safest Surf beach’ in NZ as the sign said on the turn off, today it was the safest as there was NO Surf again; I looked at Andy for moral support ‘Everything will be alright tomorrow’ he said looking at my sad expression.

Tomorrow arrived and everything was not alright, we arrived at Taupo Bay to find the tide going out and very little Surfable waves; it does pick up at mid to low tide so we decided to sit in the Sun and wait around.  This day, 12th February 2008 was going to be hard for us to forget; not that we ever want too we think.  Andy sat up to just take a break from his book, something caught his eye 100 mtr’s to the right; looked like something feeding on the beach by the presence of the small amount of blood in the water.  Andy grabbed the Camera and headed over, only to start shouting for me to take the Camera quickly; there in front of us was a ‘Dolphin’ beached and the blood was from its underside where it had been fighting against the sand to get back out.  Andy was quickly joined by others that had seen what was happening, the group was quickly 9 men pushing and pulling this large ‘Dolphin’ out to sea; with tide going out the only thing to do was put towels under the poor thing and when a wave came in to ‘lift’ and pull out towards the sea.  Andy has continually stated how amazing it was that as soon as he and another gent reached the beached ‘Dolphin’ it stopped trashing around, as if it knew they were there to help; during all the lifting and pulling of the group it at no time trashed out it just let them get on with it without a struggle.  It knew that they were going to help, somehow it just knew.  With the ‘Dolphin’ out into deeper water, it kept heading back in; everyone formed a chain and tried to guide the poor thing out.  Then it stared to reach people that this was not the only one, one had beached and died a little further up the same bay; another had broken its snout on the rocks and was dying in the bay as they were keeping this one from the shore.  Then another was spotted heading in, while a group worked on the first ‘Dolphin’ Andy joined a small group to work on this other problem.  Here in NZ they have the D.O.C (Department of Conservation) who arrived 1 ½ hr’ after the call was placed with them, all the while the two groups were doing what they could in the growing surf conditions.  For 3 hours the mixture of locals and holiday makers worked in the water to get them to turn around and head back out, as the smaller ‘Dolphin’ left the Bay the now small group of people just dispersed without even talking about what they had done; Andy said “Looking into the eye of a ‘Dolphin’ in that way, is something he wants to forget about” After a very sleepless night we headed to the main hostel to hear that and read an newspaper article, they were in fact NOT Dolphins but ‘Greys Beaked Whales’  Not only was it the first time they had beached on Taupo Bay, but they were a rare animal indeed; this caused our hostel host to make some strong comments against the D.O.C  Both Andy and I had commented on how big they were, 4 – 5 mtr’s and very large bodies; and we were told by the D.O.C that they were ‘Dolphins’  The hostel host was really annoyed at the ‘expertise’ of the D.O.C, if they didn’t know the difference; how could anyone else.  It appears that, while the D.O.C is doing the best they can with the limited resources they have; they are making some very simple errors that are causing some local concern.  It was a local who informed us of the best way to handle the Whales, it was a local who advised us how to use the ‘beating bars’ that were handed out a full 1 HOUR after the D.O.C arrived; and it was a local who got in his Kayak to ‘chase’ the last Whale out of the Bay.  Andy was in the water with the others for at least 3 hours, the D.O.C arrived after 1 ½ hr then they handed out beating bars after another 1 hr and the final Whale left within a short  ½ hr of that.  2 died (newspaper stated 3 died, a young one further out of the Bay; but we didn’t see it so we like to believe it was only 2!) and 3 survived, ‘WHAT IF’ they had arrived within ½ hr? ‘WHAT IF’ they handed out the beating bars straight away with correct instructions? All ‘WHAT IF’ but maybe, just maybe they would’ve only been in the water for 1 hr’ and gone home with a better result?  Sorry to ‘moan and bi*ch on’ but it’s something we feel so angry about how it was handled.  It was the few in the water, and the few who stayed on the beach to spot the Whales and bring drinks for those in the water that made a difference; these ‘few’ did their best and still went home feeling awful that 2 had died right in front of everyone and maybe they feel the same as Andy?

“Looking into the eye of a ‘Dolphin’ in that way, is something he wants to forget about”

The next day we headed out to find the Surf, and headed back again disappointed.  No Surf on the Northland coast and so we thought we would call into Taupo Bay just to check the Surf.  And after a full 24 hr’s the 2 dead Whales were still on the beach, anchored with rope and stone to stop them from floating out; but still bleeding and turning the Sea that washed over them a shade of Pink for the other holiday makers to take their pictures of and wonder how it all happened.

Okay, that said and done with now; sadly for me the surf stayed low for the rest of our time at Kahoe Farms so no surfing to be had.  We decided to take in one of the many walks that are on the Farms land, access given only to the quest of the hostel so a little less walked than elsewhere.  We walked to the ‘Rock pools’ 1 ½ hr walk each way we were informed by the host, ye’ right if it wasn’t so over grown; less walked was right.  Follow the ‘Markers’ he said, you can’t miss them he said!  The markers consisted of strips of plastic bag hanging from some trees leading the way through a very narrow path towards the small river, plastic bag strips that the birds like to pull and rip to put in their nest.  Anyway, we did find our way to the Rock pools after a very adventurous 2 hour walk through overgrown NZ bush; great fun.  The hostel host offered us a deal if we went swimming in the Rock pools, a prize for swimming or a better one for as he put it “entering the pools without checking water first”  This Andy did and won a full Pizza, he jumped in from the top rock into, what he hoped was a deep pool as we couldn’t see any sign of the bottom; even with throwing stones in to check (later found out they are over 5 mtr’s deep)  Andy’s expression said it all when he surfaced, there was no way I was jumping in those pools; now we know why they offer you a prize for going in without checking the water.  I shouted down to Andy asking how warm it was, the look he gave me!  Stood at the bottom shivering like a ‘wet Dog stood in Snow’ covering his now ‘rather suddenly’ shrunken manhood, oh did I forget to say; he jumped in naked.  He enjoyed his Pizza, and we all enjoyed the small video clip that I took; I showed everyone there was NO WAY he was going to ‘cover up’ this ‘little’ walk.  Andy had 2 days of Kite surfing booked for the remainder of this stay, so beach bound we were again; he enjoys playing with big kites ‘dear thing’  Andy tells me, Doubtless Bay is a fantastic place for Kite Surfing and we need to return here for another session on our next trip; more sitting in the van for the whole day because it’s too windy outside?  We’ll think about that one my dear?

On the road again, this time to see our Kiwi friends at Kamo Post and Book shop; a small BBQ to say ‘see ya later’  We headed to Kamo just outside of Whangarei for a few beers and burgers (their BBQ burgers they sell here are truly awful) We had a good send off for our last night in the Northland of NZ, and we are now heading back to Port Waikato to see our best mate Dixie the dog before we head out of NZ.

As soon as we pulled into the yard at the Surf Lodge at Port Waikato Dixie went mad, I think she remembered us from our last visit about 3 – 4 weeks ago; tail wagging and barking as we greeted each other she knew we would take her for more walks.  More walks she had, so many of them she was spoilt; there was a Italian gent Maron who had based himself here for the Surf so he was taking her out whenever he went to check the Surf.  Well the Surf was certainly up, way too much for me; at least 5 – 6 feet lovely and clean but too big for me.  We love this place but on this visit the weather was not on our side, misty rain driven hard by the off shore wind; Surf too big for me and wind totally the wrong direction for Andy.  Shame but it didn’t ruin our time here, we had a great time Flounder netting in the estuary and later line fishing from the beach.  We also took this time to have some lovely walks on the beach, but the highlight of this visit was without doubt ‘Spookers’.  Spookers is an old institute that has been converted into a horror spectacle that is a must to visit here in NZ, we only went on 2 of the 3 attractions; but it was well worth the $30 per person.  You first enter The Haunted House, a multi roomed section of the main house which contains areas based on famous films such as Nightmare on

Elm Street
; all characters are played by local actors and they play them to great effect.  The make up is truly realistic and you are given warnings about Heart conditions etc before you go in, and they don’t hold back in the pursuit of scaring the sh*t out of you; there is a rumour that they didn’t deny that if they can make someone pee themselves they get a bonus.  Just the ‘Bellboy’ who greets you is so scary, he’s dressed in full Dinner suit complete with bowtie; but all the exposed skin is made up in such a way that it looks like all his skin has been removed to expose all the muscles, veins etc.  You have to find your way around the house with the characters guiding you towards the next room, then you think you are going to get a rest from it all by going out onto a veranda that has lovely green bushes and plants; a couple of ‘solders’ wearing full camouflage jump out from the bushes firing blanks at you scaring us all so much you just scream as loud as the gun fire.  When you finally do get out, head to Café and take a rest and head into the ‘Vortex 3D’ maze.  Not really a maze, but a set course through a collection of rooms that are created with 3D paint that come alive when you wear the supplied 3D glasses; if that’s not enough there is another set of well made up actors in here.  If you can get to Port Waikato, stay at the Surf Lodge and make sure you go to Spookers.

Almost time to leave NZ, one final stop at Karangahake Gorge readying the van and some gear for storage; and we have to pack everything up for our next flight out to Honolulu.  We have 4 nights here so we might as well take a couple more days on the beach.

Tags: On the Road




Hi There
Just googling Port Waikato for interest and came across your report of NZ.
We have a weekend place (a bach)at Port Waikato on the same road as the surf lodge No.15 Centreway.We did see Dixie being taken for walks maybe it was the Italian guy or you guys can't remember off hand but my wife and I spoke to the person. We have three dogs a white maltese which my wife would have been carrying (well he is 14 years, half deaf and half blind)a chihuahua and a chihuahua x jack russell.
PW is an awesome place and changes month by month. It's a great community and we have a few get togethers organised by the local fishing club, fire station and surf club etc.
Glad to hear that you enjoyed NZ and the next time you're across this side call in on us and have a beer.

All the best


  Mike Joy May 20, 2008 11:08 AM

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