After a week of housesitting, and sitting it was, mostly, we are very keen to be on the road again. Our goal now is to discover the Bay of Islands and go up to Cape Reinga, the most northern point of New Zealand and the unique view of two oceans meeting.
We left Whangarei (which we know by now as if we had been living there forever) and headed east first, to get a glimpse of some of those beautiful beaches that seem to spread all over the coast.
As we left, we were surrounded by mists and clouds, but we were lucky and the sky opened up for us just as we reached the seaside at the town with the wonderful name of "Ngunguru". I am considering to take a photo of every town name we drive by and create a collection of the most ridiculous ones. :)
It is a beautiful coast, rocky, but with golden sandy beaches and lively green hills around. We stopped and had a walk at Matapouri beach and, around a corner, a small stony beach. It looked amazing in the light, with turquoise waters, black stones and sand and overgrown green hills. I had to fight the urge to jump in and go swimming at this view, but it was just too cold. I'm so looking forward to summer :)
It was a great drive north after that, because no matter where you look out of the window, the landscape is breathtaking. And still people keep telling us that the south island is so much more beautiful...
We saw some interesting farms on the way, where people obviously like to keep their old boats on their paddocks - we saw at least two of those rusted things surrounded by grazing cows. Really funny those Kiwis :) And we had a short stop at the longest footbridge in the southern hemisphere - not as impressive as we hoped for, but still a funny sight: A rusted, slightly shaky looking construction barely wide enough for one big adult to walk on, but stretching for a whole 395 meters of length.
Now we are at Kerikeri, in the Bay of Islands, at a very nice couchsurfing host originally from India. He already took us for a small walk and a coffee this evening to show us around a bit. We will return to the Rainbow Falls tomorrow, they are really beautiful. He also gave us the advice to discover the Bay by boat and offered to ask around if anyone is going for a trip. We are really hoping to get the chance to see everything from the waterside!