I feel more alive than I ever have. What else are you supposed to feel when you see rolling hills, a shit ton of sheep, and nothing but clear, blue skies? In Whangarei, we sit riverside next to endless sails and eat at a small café named Serenity. Eggs Benedict with salmon? Don't mind if I do. Oh, and ketchup? Not a thing here. They call it "tomato paste", can't pronounce it correctly, and it comes to use in a plastic tomato.
We hit Paihia, it's late afternoon, and the town seems quaint enough to wonder around. We rolled along the beach, found a cool looking pizza place, and hey, would you look at that - grabbed another drink. I bought a shout, drank a Tuatara, and told the bartender we would be back for dinner the following evening. Called it an early night, had to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn, and set out for a never ending day. We drove on a beach named 90-mile beach (that's not actually 90 miles) that's also a state high way. We got out to explore and spontaneously decided to jump into the Tasman Sea. It was cold. I got wound up in this whole stupid deep idea that this entire trip would be like that moment by never hesitating, and by always jumping into the sea when given the opportunity. I screamed my head off boarding down steep sand dunes, and had sand on every square inch of my body.
Cape Reinga. The northern-most tip of New Zealand. A beautiful light house, and the point at which the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet. A crisp blend of a turquoise and a deep sea blue. I didn't want to leave - I basked in the sun with my shorts and sweatshirt, laying beyond the stone wall.
We got back, took the bartender's advice from the evening before to explore and stroll down School Road, and ended up on a bit of an adventure. We grabbed some beer and wine, and decided we'd be happy relaxing the late afternoon away before we got hungry for dinner. We were told to go down the road and down the trail for a beautiful view of the island. "Down the trail". Nope. We ended up making a 40 minute, 1.4k hike at sunset into a 15 minute paced run up a mountain. We ended up at the scenic outlook just as the sun was setting to catch a glimpse of the purple hazed sky. It was worth it. We carved our names into the wooden fence, tore off all our layers and sang the night away at the top of this hidden gem. We ended up starving, and at the same bar as the night before, as promised, and ordered two "footys".
The Sandpit, a bar next door, and the Pipi Patch were bars for the books.