Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Busy last day

We departed from Kaitaia at the northern end of Northland New Zealand with Lainey my daughter and Tim her fiancé. The kids were still un-nerved by the experience of driving in a vehicle on the opposite side of the road. It just didn't feel right to have Jordan driving on what, by Canadian standards, would be considered the passenger side of the car and on the left side of the road with large semi-trucks coming toward you! But Tim felt that it was a good initiation for when he would be doing the driving in a couple of days in Australia.

Eeeek!

We headed south along the west coast and made it safely to Bayly's Beach, with the ocean surf crashing on one side and dramatic orange coloured cliffs rising on the other side. We once again walked the shoreline but this time collected a few nice shells on this sunny and gorgeous day.

Lainey and me in the surf (courtesy of Tim)

The beach seemed to be pretty hard packed so down came the car. But it was not as hard packed as we thought, and after doing a few fancy manoeuvers, we got stuck! But no fear, a bit of hand digging, and we were free. This is actually New Zealand's longest drivable beach but is not as well known as Ninety Mile Beach.

Almost there... (courtesy of Tim)

From Bayly's, we bypassed nearby Dargaville for lunch, a cute little town on the west coast with not much to see since its decline after decimation of its timber. So we headed to the larger artsy city of Whangarei on the east coast where a heart-pumping accident was avoided as a very spiky tractor suddenly pulled out to make a right-hand turn through the passing lane but Jordan's great driving skills saved us as he hit the brakes and swerved to miss it.

There are more craftspeople proportionally living in Whangarei than anywhere else in New Zealand and more shopping was required by our guests!

Next on the to-do-list was visiting a winery, a first for Lainey and Tim. Just outside of Whangarei, we pulled into Longview Estates where we sampled several very delicious red and white wines and purchased our favourite choices. We were regrettably unable to tour the facilities as it was near closing time.

Our host with Tim, Lainey, and Jordan

After a busy day, it was getting a bit late (18:00), when we arrived in Auckland and again every place was displaying a No Vacancy sign. After 1.5 hours of driving around searching, we finally found 1 motel but it only had 1 bed. Lainey and Tim decided that they must take the room as others were waiting in line to book it if we walked away, so Jordan and I would have to say our goodbyes and drive late into the night to return to Opua instead of early the next morning.

But wait! Is that a hide-a-bed? As the Kiwis say, yeah, yeah, yeah! This made all of us very happy and we spent 1 last night together.

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