From Kaitaia to Hamilton (New Zealand)

rawene

We are driving north to Kaitaia, city apart from touristic influx. We chose not to book any hotel. A bit tricky, this time… Kaitaia have only 2 hotels. The better ranked fullbooked, we are having no choice and ending up in a kind of bandit place.

The owner, native and really funky, is called Davon. He looks like a man who has never left his town. His homestay is crappy. A thick carpet (really comfortable barefoot), an old yellow wallpaper and an Alcatraz like washbowl make our room.

He introduces us to his daughter, may be a way for him to get her out of this place. There is no way she can come with us. In the backyard, some Davon’s friends are having beers. He has given the backyard a nickname : Kiwi’s paradise. Trust me, it looks like more a huge trash can than a marvellous place for bird, fruit or new zealander.

In the end, we get used to the place. I guess being a man helps us a lot. We are not that far from them. Although shy, Davon is a welcoming host.

The morning after, we get on bus straight to Cap Reinga.

First, we are dropped off at the sand dune. Sledge in hand, it’s pretty hard to reach the top. When my turn comes to slide down, I am getting excited and running to give more speed. I am sliding fast. It’s fun. Except that, once at the bottom I have broken my camera lens. Some sand has got into it.

Collin, the stinky driver, has to take us to 90 mile beach. By the way, this beach is not 90 mile (145 kms) but 65 mile long (105kms).

Back to Davon’s around 5.00pm, both feels like driving south in order to be closer to our next stop, Rawene a fisherman village.

The estuary cruising is going well for our mitsubishi. The place looks quiet. One hotel is open. With no other solution, we are coming in. The same atsmophere is felt inside. We are the only customers.

At night 4 fishermen are at the bar. After some thuys (kiwi beers), we get along with them. I guess when they first saw us, they must have thought we were some kind of city men who had never seen some kiwi nature.

They start telling us story about the estuary. It seems that depending on seasons, it’s sharks-infested, full of manta rays and orquas. Hard to believe even pissed.

We didn’t eat well the last few days. The hotel restaurant provides excellent meals like scallop, grilled fish and pork, nothing to compare with Davon’s Kiwi paradise. This place is unique, fishermen telling us stories, good food, hosts taking care of us. After a good sleeping night, an amazing breakfast some regrets, we are off to Auckland.

We are going to Rangitoto, one of the islands close to Auckland. I amnot inspired by the place. I hate being trapped in touristic tour. May be still under Rawene’s spell.

We are back on the road. We stop in a town next to Hamilton. We have read in the guidebook, we could see kiwis there, nocturnal birds. We ‘ve apparently missed them. To get over this failure, we find a nice bar with pints of thuy for one kiwi dollar.

We won’t have just one.

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