I packed up from my hostel in Whangarei and headed further north up to a town called Paihia. Paihia is the main tourist area on the Bay of Islands – a large coastal area that is renowned for it’s fishing.
There are *numerous* tourist attractions here in Paihia, and I’ll be doing a few of them over the next few days. I’m taking a tour up to Cape Reinga (let someone else do the driving for a day!), the northernmost tip of New Zealand, via what is called the 90 mile beach. The tour buses actually are equipped to drive up the beach, and make stops for such activities as dune boarding. I’m looking forward to trying that! That will be Monday. Tuesday I’ll be on a boat going around the Bay of Islands, in search of dolphins and whales and stopping at an island or two. On top of that, if the conditions are right we get to swim with the pods of dolphins too…fingers crossed. Sunday I’ll probably wander the town and nearby Russell, which is a small town across the bay that I can reach via passenger ferry. As for today, the weather is grey and drizzly, so a quiet day planned for now.
Today I did just that – went skydiving from 12,000 feet above Whangarei.
This was Rob, my tandem jumping buddy. Or in other words, the man who had my life in his hands. He’d been jumping for 37 years, so he’d done this once or twice.
After waiting for an Australian Hercules to finish playing touch and go with the runway (it did about 8 touch/takeoffs in a row), we took to the skies.
So I got up reasonably early this morning and bid my host family adieu – it was time for me to leave Waiheke Island and head north.
My final full day here in Waiheke. After this I head back to the North Island and head further north to Whangarei for a couple days. But more on that in another post, more on what I did today. While I was weeding, I came across something interesting.
Biology was my worst subject in the sciences, but that still looks like a bone to me. A vertebrae possibly? Of a previous traveller? Just kidding about that last part – the family just moved into this house…or so they say…;)
After my work had finished for the day I decided to attempt my longest and most difficult hike yet – the Northwest corner of Waiheke. Rugged and hilly, my hip bursitis hadn’t given me any pain in the last few days, so I figured I might as well go and get myself injured again while I still have the chance. Or, give the hip a full workout and see if it can take some of the harder and longer walks I have coming. Today’s hike would be about 6km and take 2 hours.
Was a busy day yesterday. In addition to my usual weeding, I also helped to build an inside sauna:
Pretty swank little thing! After my work hours were finished, I went for a bit of a drive – this time to the far east side of Waiheke Island:
I think I’m addicted to this ‘Waiheke Island Herb Spread’. I don’t know exactly what is in it. But it’s really, really good. It’s sort of pesto-y (which I love), but quite a bit different as well. It goes on most things I eat right now. Bread. Crackers. Potatoes. Pancakes. For dinner last night, I used multi-grain toast, some shredded parmesan cheese, a good helping of the herb spread….and 1/4 of an avocado per piece of bread, and created a VERY green, but utterly delicious dinner.
Even my water bottle is green (Nova Chemicals product placement!).
I’ve been weeding some more the last 2 days and made good progress in the back yard. There is this very nice rock wall garden that was completely overgrown with weeds that I tackled yesterday (took almost all 5 hours to fully clear out). I didn’t take a picture before starting work, but I do have an entirely accurate artist’s rendition of what it looked like before:
While I have not been fiddling today nor on a roof in any recent time, I did get to see the play today. My host family invited me to tag along to Waiheke’s community theatre, which is running Fiddler on the Roof. I was more than happy to oblige, given that rain clouds were threatening.
Not much was open given that it was Sunday, but the theatre was busy – Waiheke has 1-2 plays here at the theatre per year that are put on by this group, called the Waiheke Choral Society. It’s all locals in the theatre production, and the towns on the island are great for showing support – this was the 2nd last weekend of the run, and it appeared to still be sold out (they added another weekend to handle the demand). The theatre isn’t large in size though (100-120 people maybe).
Still, the nearly 3 hours production was *great*. And I think the locals love seeing what their neighbours can do singing, acting and production wise – there are some pretty darn talented folk on this island. I naturally didn’t take any pictures during the show, but enjoyed it a lot, as did everyone in the crowd.
Afterwards, it was nearly 5pm and I’d only finished about 2 hours of work for the day, so I headed out back for some more weeding in the dwindling twilight hours. 90 minutes later I headed indoors to have dinner, help with dishes and then fix up a grain mill (working again!). A pretty nice Sunday all told, given that it rained from 1-4pm or so. Worked out quite nicely, so here’s hoping for sunshine tomorrow!