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Sunday 13th June - Whangarei to Kahoe
By Claire
Tuesday, 15th June 2004 21:22

We went for a walk through the horse fields after breakfast, over a little railway track and up to a stream. It was very pretty and it was trying to rain but it was so fine it didn't actually seem to land on anything. There were no houses as far as we could see and only hills and trees and horses everywhere. We went into Whangarei town again, following signs for the 'heads' which we thought were giant heads, moai-style, but might very well have been some mountains overlooking a beach. We found those, at least. The car radio can only pick up the local religious pop music station, so it's only listenable-to for a few moments at a time.

We spent the whole day driving north and stopping every now and then at beaches and cliffs and pretty things. We saw a sign to some glow-worm caves, so we turned off the road, and the lad who was running the place took us on a half-hour trip through some limestone caves full of glow-worms. He turned the lantern out and it was like looking at stars. If I wasn't scared of New Zealand customs, I'd try sending some home, they're so pretty.

We were going to do some quad biking today as a compromise between me wanting Mikey to go horse-riding with me and him not wanting to. But it was getting dark and there should be quad-biking places everywhere, so we decided to head up to the Bay of Islands instead. As expected, there was more beautiful scenery, so we stopped for a bit and then carried on. There are a lot of excursions around here, mostly in boats that we have decided to avoid for a while, and we have four weeks of sight-seeing in New Zealand so we were content just to gaze and move on.

We passed through a town called Kawakawa, whose only notable feature is the public loos, designed by some famous architect.

The Hundertwasser public toilets, at Kawakawa.

They were actually quite pretty, but the town itself was just a normal seaside town in low season.

We finally stopped at a hostel. This one, a 19th Century farm, has 2000 acres of land, and, as the owner pointed out, everything, as far as you can see, is part of the farm. The hostel bit is nicely separate from the family house, and has polished wooden floorboards everywhere, a big woodburner in the kitchen and a lot of cats. It's also about 5 miles from the nearest neighbour, so it's beautifully secluded and very beautiful. If we didn't have to take the car back on Tuesday I'd be tempted to spend a few more days here. They have pet pigs, too.

The hostel guy made us a home-made pizza for supper, which was great, and I beat Mikey at cards for once.

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