Rain Before The Falls

Drip, drop, drip, drop….not the most promising of starts to the day but it was how our last day in Kerikeri, and indeed the Bay of Islands, began. Oh dear.

2.1425059451.me-ari-at-rainbow-fallsAt 9:30am this morning, I opened my eyes, saw the rain pelting down outside and then rolled over. Oh no. It was really disappointing to see the grey clouds swirling around outside as we had been hoping to have more of a look around Kerikeri before we left. It didn’t seem like it would be much fun in weather like that,  especially as what we wanted to do involved standing outside for ages but  not wanting to waste the last day, I forced myself out of bed and hopped into the shower. Well, if I was going to be cold and wet later on then at least I could be warm and wet first! Whilst I was getting ready, Codie wrote in Ben and Kelly’s visitors book and then we both packed away some of our things. I was quite sad that we were having to leave but at the same time, excited to see some new places. Kerikeri was a lovely place but it was a bit too quiet to spend too long there and I was looking forward to more of an adventure.

IMG_3898Somehow in the time we were getting sorted, the rain stopped and so we seized the chance and made a dash to the car. The first stop on our mental itinerary (mental as in we hadn’t written it down, not that it was crazy!) was Rainbow Falls and since it was only down the road, it wasn’t long until we arrived in the car park. Rainbow falls is unusual in that unlike most waterfalls which are formed due soft rock eroding, they were formed when mudstone on hard rock eroded away. Look at me with my interesting facts!  With the sunlight now bouncing of the water droplets which had collected on the leaves, the whole area was looking lovely. It really is a pretty area. Keen to see the waterfall and making the most of not being soaked, we grabbed the camera bag and wandered down the leafy green path towards the sound of falling water. It was quite slippy and I had to stop myself sliding off into the bushes a couple of times but when we reached the platform, it was all worth it. Rainbow Falls was stunning. It wasn’t the fast flowing waterfall I’d ever seen nor the tallest at 27 metres but the bright white frothy water, thundering into the clear plunge pool below was very impressive and almost hypnotic.

Avoiding midges
Avoiding midges

After admiring it for a little while, we decided to get out our cameras and have a go at a few long exposure photographs. I’d experimented with the technique a couple of times before but this seemed like the perfect opportunity to practice some more. We also decided to film a time-lapse of it but whilst we were doing this, Codie suddenly began leaping around as though he was performing some sort of weird dance. It was hilarious! It turned out that the midges swarming around the trees were nibbling his arms and legs and he was really trying hard to get away. It was probably a bit silly of us not to put any insect spray on before heading to a warm, watery environment but still, seeing him hopping about was really, really funny. In the end, we decided to carry on walking about in an attempt to shift them and made our way down to the pool to see if things improved. Luckily, they did and down below we were able to just sit and appreciate the quiet. It was so calm and peaceful with only the sound of the water splashing into the pool. I loved just being able to sit there and watch a cormorant drying it’s wings and wished we could have stayed there for longer however a family soon turned up for a swim and we decided it was time for us to leave. It must be so nice to have something so naturally beautiful down the road from you and I liked that they were making the most of it all. It’s so easy to forget all the things you have near to you and it made me think about what I’ve been missing out on at home. I’m definitely going to try and explore more places in the UK from now on.

IMG_3982Back in the car and it was time for a morning banana snack. I was a bit cross after being convinced that my camera was going to be damaged due to sun light shining onto the shutter but this little snack made things a lot better. There’s nothing a snack can’t help when you’re travelling! It had been a really nice morning so far even with the naughty insects and so, with the rain still holding off, we decided to pay a visit to the Stone Store. Being New Zealand’s oldest surviving stone building and having been built by an Australian convict between 1832 and 1836, it seemed like a must see whilst in the area and so with banana peels on my lap, we set off. After getting a bit lost on the way, we did find the stormy clouds again but luckily for us, they’d drifted off again by the time we’d reached our destination. Hooray! So far, so good weather wise! As I stepped out of the car, the first thing I noticed was a rather large cockerel wandering about by itself. It seemed to think it was in control of the carpark and kept pacing up and down which was quite funny at first but I think if it had headed towards me, I would have just left. It really did look quite intimidating!

2.1425059451.me-ari-at-stone-storeWe spent a little bit of time wandering around the area but after seeing the building there wasn’t too much else to do other than stand on the bridge and watch the ducks paddling around; there was even one being stalked by a fish. Of course that’s not to say that there’s nothing there at all, there’s a little cafe and a little shop, but we preferred just standing and making the most of the nice scenery instead. After a while we decided that we were both absolutely starving and so following a quick look at a group of chickens huddling up together under a tree, we got back in the car and drove back to the centre of town. It would have been nice to have sat and had a bite to eat in the cafe but I think it would have been quite expensive and since we’re trying to be careful with our money, it was best for us to find somewhere cheaper.

IMG_6102That somewhere cheaper turned out to be McDonalds as we discovered that it was so, so much cheaper than both the UK and Australia. We ended up up paying $12 (£6 ish) for a quarter pounder burger, a chicken and veg pie, fries a drink and a sundae. It so was yummy! The Georgie Pie is only a Kiwi thing so I’d never had one before though I decided then and there that I had to have another before we leave the country. It was far too tasty not too! It seems as though fast food and things like that are so much cheaper over here but normal supermarket food is a lot more expensive. It’s really quite annoying as obviously you don’t want to be eating junk food all the time but if you don’t have much money, you don’t really have a choice. I hoped that food prices would drop the further down we travel as I think a pie a day would get a bit too much in the end but for the time being, I enjoyed every last bite.

Now full of food, we made our way back to the house to get ready to leave and pack up the rest of our things. It turned out that Ben and Kelly’s friends had recognised the car so had told them that we’d been to McDonald’s which I found a bit weird and it made me realise some of the reasons why I did like bigger cities. As nice as it is to live in small villages and know lots of people, it’s also nice to be able to go out and do what you want without anybody knowing. Not that this time was bad or anything but I just found it strange that we were in an unfamiliar place and people still found out what we did. Ah well. At 4:15pm we made our way to the bus stop so we could ensure we could get seats together on the long trip back to Auckland. The bus was already there when we arrived but the driver was nowhere to be seen and so we spent the next half an hour people watching to pass the time. I say people watching, I spent most of the time watching a little sparrow hopping about. Much more interesting!

By the time we got on the bus, I was ready to leave and get back to Auckland. I’d really enjoyed my time in the Bay of Islands but, as I can imagine it will be like for a lot of the trip, I was itching to see somewhere new. The trip back was long but passed quite quickly as we watched a film, Cuban Fury, on Codie’s laptop and listened to music. I’m quite lucky in that I enjoy travelling about and looking out of the window, quite helpful really, so in between things to do I liked watching the scenery flying past. It was so pretty. I’m sure it’d be even nicer if it was daylight but the light was really fading at this point and everything became a bit shadowy and distant. I still enjoyed looking though and when I spotted the bright lights of Auckland approaching, I felt my heart beat quicken. It was time for the next stage of our adventure.

IMG_6103At 8:45pm, the bus pulled into the stop and we jumped off quickly, grabbed our bags and headed for our hostel. We weren’t going to be staying in the same place as last time but instead the Nomads next door as I’d read some good reviews about the amazing top floor kitchen. For some reason, I hadn’t taken into consideration the fact that it would be dark by the time we got there so that was a bit pointless but it seemed like a nice place and certainly somewhere we could get a decent night’s sleep. I hoped anyway! So off we went, up the stairs and into the lobby, ready to check in. According to the website they had free wifi but when we asked, they said it was only available for 30 minutes next door in the travel shop. Hmmmm. Not quite sure you can class that as being the hostel’s free wifi can you? Still, there wasn’t much we could do about that and so we made our way to the room, grabbed the only available bottom bunk and then headed off for some food. We spent quite a while just wandering about until we ended up back at the New Worlds shop and the corner shop where we got our tasty steak pies last time. Sadly it seemed as though food prices were still high there too but I’m going to remain optimistic that it’ll improve the more we move about. It has to otherwise we’ll be living off McDonalds! Since the hostel had a lovely balcony, we decided to take our food back there and ate by the light of the skyscrapers looming above us. I know that might sound a bit grim but it really wasn’t, it was pretty in a city kind of way. I could have stayed out there for hours had it not been the cold biting at my fingers and my face and even though I really tried, in the end it got to us both and we toddled off inside ready for showers and bed. We hadn’t done too much but I was absolutely shattered and desperate for a goodnight’s sleep.

A very grainy Auckland
A very grainy Auckland

SNWIRU, SNOEOW, NSOOEOW. What was that you ask? That was the sound of a man who’s snoring sounded as though he was choking and it felt as though it was shaking the walls. SNKHFKHI, SJDJDJB, SNJSNJSN. It was so ridiculously loud, nobody could sleep through it and the room was filled with the sound of sighing. It seemed like our good night’s sleep was not to be though I really, really tried and stuffed my head under the pillow. SNKHFIHI, SNKNIHSIB, SNJOJOO. It just seemed never-ending! I could tell Codie was just as annoyed as he was just as tired as me. Grrrrr. SNSKJODJSOJ, SNOSJOJOJ. SNSKSSO, Oh dear. When will this madness end?! Closing my eyes, desperately trying to grasp onto to the sleep creeping away from me, I led down and snuggled up. I concentrated on the ringing in my ears, the first time ever I wanted to actually do that, and tried as hard as I could. I needed to sleep and I could not have been any more determined….

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