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Owen's Travel Journal

The Road to Mercury Bay

NEW ZEALAND | Tuesday, 31 March 2009 | Views [773] | Comments [1]

I dragged myself out of bed in time for the early morning Kiwi Experience bus. After everyone was on, and we had picked up a few more passengers from another stop, we headed up to Mt. Eden, which I had already been to the first day that I arrived in New Zealand. It was nothing spectacular since i had already seen the views but it was cool to be able to look at places and go; oh I know that, I've been there!
When we were back on the bus, our driver told us a bit about how Kiwi Experience wors and how to go about getting a place on a another bus should we choose to stop over somewhere for a while. He also hadned round a sheet for everyone to pre-book accommodation when we arrived in Mercury Bay and also a sheet to offer the oppertunity of sea kayaking, which I gladly took up.
We jumped back on and began our journey toward Mercury Bay, or Whitianga if you're feeling a bit Maori. After an hour and a half of struggling horribly to hold in a pee, we arrived at our lunch stop, a small town, previously used for gold mining, called Thames. We didn't have much chance to look around, just enough time to grab some supplies and check out some cool hills opposite the car park.
Loaded with lunch, we got back on the bys and, after a much more comfortable hour and a half, arrived at Hahei. It was here that the ten of us who had signed up for sea kayakinbg, were taken in a mini bus down to the beach. We met our guide who had us split into twos, and gave us a quick lesson in how to kayak. We stuck on our 'skirts' and life vests and jumped into our two-man kayaks. I was sitting in the back of mines so, not only did i have to steer, I also had to keep in time with Kate who was up front.
Our guide shoved us all into the water, one by one, and had us paddle out to a boauy in the distance. Steering took some gettin gused to so we were a bit squint to start with but I got it nailed eventually. After learning a bit about the history of the area, we followed our guide out towards a near by island, THge sea was a little bit choppy at times and, as I'm, not a big water person, was pretty scary. We got up close to the island, basically a huge rock with caves below and loads of greenery on top, and our guide told us a bit about it all. We then paddled round the rock, using my now expert steering skills, and headed towards another closer by island. THis one had a big cove which we went right up to and had to navigate our way underneath, which was pretty awesome.
By now my arms were aching and my thumbs had huge blisters on from the paddle. Luckily it was time for a break. WE paddled towards a small beach called Cathederal Cove. Our guide went ashore first and then had to call us in one by one, trying to avoid big waves so that we didn't get wiped out by them. I managed to stay dryish but the pair that went first got soaked by a wave. Sucks to be them.
We jumped off of our kayaks and chucked off our vests and skirts while our guide set about making us a cappuccino. Cathederal Cove was absolutley stunning, probably the most impressive sight I've seen in NZ so far. There were huge cliff faces with loads of trees at the top and ravine hanging down. There were caves, cracks in the wall where crabs were hiding and even a wee waterfall. It looked like the island from Lost, was so amazing. It was made even better by the fact that we had spend ages paddling out to it.

After taking loads of photos, warming up with my capuccino and munching a cookie, we got our gear back on on, got in our kayaks and paddled back towards the beach where we started from.
We had spent about 3 hours kayaking and I absolutley loved it. It wasn't something i had originaly set out to do in New Zealand but I would definately do it again, maybe even in the UK.
We were taken from the beach to the hostel where we were to stay the night, Turtle Cove. It's completley different to ACB in Auckland; much smaller, cosier and homely. The place is really nice inside and run by such an extremley friendly old couple. We had to wait half an hour since we arrived ahead of everyone else, and our bags, on the Kiwi bus. When they arrived I had a bit of a shower to get rid of all the salt i was covered in from the days activities, and then went down to the kitchen where a second old couple who also work at the hostel, were preparing our dinner. I had a great big plate of spaghetti with a veggie chilli bolognese type stuff which was so so good and definateley needed after kayaking. I was welcomed to go back for a nother huge plateful so I did, obviously. Definately worth the seven dollars I payed for it.
Tonight everyone just sat around the tables outside after dinner, where there's also a wee bar, and got to know everyone else a bit. About to go to bed for a fairly early night since im knackered and have to be ready for the bus at 7.30 tomorrow morning.




You had a bit of a shower?? lol
Sounds great, can't wait to see the photos.
Hope your blisters aren't too sore.. plasters and cream in your wee first aid kit ;) knew they'd come in handy!

  Mum Apr 1, 2009 12:50 AM



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