Our First Proper NZ Day

It’s been another really busy day in terms of travelling as we had to get our first Naked Bus from Auckland all the way up to Kerikeri where we would be spending the next few days. Codie’s mum knows somebody who lives there and we were going to stay with them for a few days which was not only going to save us money on hostels but it also meant that we’d get to see a new place. I don’t think we’d have been able to go to the Bay of Islands otherwise and so it was a really good opportunity.

Pre-bus pie
Pre-bus pie

Waking up at 9:00am in what seemed like perhaps the sweatiest smelling room in the entire world, we quickly stuffed our pyjamas and things in our bags and then went for showers. I really couldn’t believe how badly it smelt as the windows were wide open.  I suppose it made it really very easy for us to get up and ready to leave though; nobody wants to stay breathing that in for longer than they need to! Having said that though, the showers weren’t much better as the one I went into had a cleaner banging on the door and hair all over the wall. I can safely say that I was more than happy to leave this hostel which was a shame as it had looked so promising on their website and even in reviews. Grrrrrr. Anyway, both showered and checked out we had quite a bit of time to sit in the common area and get ready for the fairly long bus journey ahead of us. Of course we’ve done quite a few in Australia with the Greyhound bus but this one was a bit more worrying due to some of the terrible reviews we’d read where people were left behind or the buses were in terrible conditions. It would have been a really awful start to our New Zealand trip if something like that happened but of course there was nothing we could do other than hope for the best. You never know, I thought, some people might just leave bad reviews from quite rare incidences so we couldn’t just base all our opinions on other people. We had to form our own.

Luckily, the bus was actually pretty decent and after demolishing a delicious steak and cheese pie we’d acquired on the short walk to the bus stop, we checked in with the driver and shoved our bags on board. So far so good! The bus itself seemed alright, the seats reclined (many people had said their bus seats don’t) and the driver seemed nice enough. I couldn’t see what all the fuss was all about! We even set off bang on time and so as soon as the clock struck 11:50am we were off on our way to the Bay of Islands. I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t have long to enjoy Auckland as it looked like a nice place, a lot like Cardiff, and getting to explore it all would have made the perfect day but never mind, we’d be back again in a few days and there’d be plenty of time to have a wander around then.

Waiting to go
Waiting to go

The 4 hour journey passed fairly quickly and with us grabbing the front seats, we were able to watch where we were going and get some amazing views as we travelled along. It was very hobbit-y/ Middle Earth-y which was quite exciting and it made me really look forward to our trip to Hobbiton next week. The rolling green hills around us were flecked with dozens of little white woolly blobs and I really enjoyed just sitting back and watching everything fly past the window. That was until I noticed a rather bashed up and broken looking car lying at the bottom of the gorge next to the road. It had obviously just been left there for quite a while as it was fairly rusty but it wasn’t the nicest thing to see when you’re on unfamiliar roads. Things went a bit downhill from there with possums littering the road and a sparrow hitting the windscreen and rolling along the roof. Apparently, New Zealanders hate possums and will actively swerve across the road to hit them, a bit like they do in Australia with the cane toads. Perhaps that’s how the car ended up at the bottom of that hill. I bet the possum would have been cackling over the edge if it was! I understand that they’re considered to be vermin but I really hated seeing them squashed everywhere and so I ended up sacrificing my watching out of the window and tried to focus on my kindle instead. Poor little fuzzy things.

Crossing the Auckland Bridge
Crossing the Auckland Bridge

As we eventually pulled into Kerikeri, I was more than happy to get off the bus. The trip hadn’t been half as bad as I’d been expecting but I was tired, a bit cold and ready for a good night’s sleep. As you can imagine, sleeping in the stinky room had meant I hadn’t had the nicest rest in the world and the thought of getting to sleep somewhere nice and quiet was a lovely thought. I could not wait. We’d actually arrived a little bit early so it was about 5 minutes before Ben came to meet us but it wasn’t too bad as it gave us the chance to get used to our surroundings a little bit. I don’t know what I’d been expecting but it definitely wasn’t what we were faced with; although it looked like a nice place, it felt quite British and not to far removed from home at all. It was a  bit of a shock but not in a bad way. i just hadn’t expected it at all. Once Ben turned up we walked over to his house and put our bags in his son Jacob’s room before going out to talk to everybody for a little bit. I was absolutely shattered from all the travelling as, unlike Codie, I hadn’t been able to fall asleep on the bus and so I don’t think I was quite as “talky” as I could have been though I did try my best! We had a proper BBQ for tea sat in the garden and the sweetcorn was absolutely amazing. That combined with the cheese would have done me but I thought it was probably for the best that I had some meat too. It’s been quite a while since we’d had some decent burgers and things so we really and desperately needed to make that most of that!

View from the bus
View from the bus

A couple of hours later and it was finally time for bed and not a moment too soon. We’d spent a while talking to Ben and Kelly and it had got to the point when I could actually feel my eyelids starting to droop. It’s a bit difficult to say you want to go to bed when you’re staying with people though and we ended up waiting for them to go rather than going first. I know that it probably seems a bit childish but I blame the lack of sleep; I just wasn’t functioning properly at all. When we got back to the room, we flopped into the comfy bed and after watching something on Codie’s laptop (I have no idea what it actually was!) we fell asleep almost immediately. We needed to get as much as we could as Codie’s been insured on one of their cars and we were hoping to go to Cape Reigna the next day. It’s a 3 and a half hour drive each way and so we certainly needed to be able to cope with that or it wouldn’t be much fun at all! Staying in somebody else’s house had been quite good so far and was nice to be able to learn about the best places to visit from people who know the area so well. The next couple of days should be really fun and it’ll be nice to learn more about somewhere I never really considered visiting before.

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