3. Kiwi be Friends?

7 Feb

….And bach to our regularly scheduled program. 

So, if you remember from the last blog post, Rachel and I were heading up the Tutukaka coast, where we ended up at Matapouri bay. A little birdie (ok, it was Scott) told us that there were actual Mermaid Pools there. 


We couldn’t find the mermaids.



Life’s a (hidden) beach.



Gorgeous shore = shore-geous


The bay also had great scuba diving spots; one was named Poor Knights Island, which I thought was ironic given that scuba diving is a very expensive activity.



Peaking through the trees.


Since we weren’t prepared to scuba dive, we decided to go on a lighthouse walk because we thought it was low tide (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t). So, we trekked through the water, got soaking wet, lost our shoes (and recovered them), and tied our keys securely to my bathing suit top so as not to literally be stranded on an island.  Rachel and I did make it through to the other side but the lighthouse may or may not have been worth it… (it wasn’t).  But hey, sometimes it’s the journey.



Made it in one piece AND with keys!



I could crack a joke, but I won’t



Cozy in the coves & caves

The walk through the high-tide was pretty harrowing, so we rewarded ourselves with a treat. Ice cream. And it was an extra special treat because the ice cream in New Zealand is particularly good– it’s extra creamy.



Don’t have to ask me twice


Rejuvenated by the ice cream, we went on another (shorter, less wet) hike later that evening, and ended up seeing a pretty gorgeous sunset.



Friends who hike/travel/sleep in baches together stay together



Just another stunning New Zealand moment


The next morning, we did some more hiking in Whangaruru. Rachel and I started at the campground where the nice DoC lady working there let us use their showers. THANKS, DOC. After the hike, we found an outdoor shower and then got all dressed up (literally put dresses on) because we were FINALLY CLEAN. It had been the first shower we’d found since leaving Auckland. We also filled up our faithful plastic water bottles–you remember, the New Zealand collector’s items – red, blue, and green. And then last but not least, we emptied our trash from the car, because a clean bach is a happy bach. #householdchores


Tale of two ru’s #whangaruru


Since our cold, wonderful, and free shower left us feeling fresh and with a new zeal (ha, get it?) for exploring, we decided to stop at a K-Mart (surprise! They still have K-mart in New Zealand) to buy a selfie stick before heading up the coast to visit a winery in Russel. 



Lookin’ like a couple of girls who’d just showered.



Wearing a dress calls for some wining and dining


While we were at the winery, we filled up our water bottles (a theme) and contacted a CouchSurfer named Duncan who responded to our super last-minute Couch request and told us we could sleep in his driveway along with another Surfer who’d already staked claim. We were so grateful for his generosity.

But when we left the winery, “Naani,” (the name we gave to our GPS) took us down the path that led to the ferry, which was dumb because it was closed at that hour. Classic Naani. So we ended up getting to Duncan’s pretty late– sorry Duncan!

In the morning, we drove out quickly and got ready in a fast food restaurant before heading on a hike to Rainbow Falls (see stunning video) where I got a wet kiss from Mother Nature in the form of moss. The hike was gorgeous and we saw three black swans.



Just mossin’ around



Hiking to the caverns behind the falls like a moss (two video links, thanks to Rachel!)



A moss(t) see view!


Once we were done admiring the falls (and the gorgeous moss), we headed all the way up north to the tip of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. On the way there, we passed a hitchhiker, and a minute later, turned around to pick him up. We’d thought we recognized him as a French acquaintance we had made at one of our hostels. We were wrong. And right. Because he was French, but he wasn’t from our hostel.  His name was Louie and he quickly became our very good friend. 


French ambassador working on American relations.


When the three of us got to Cape Reinga, it was pouring rain, but luckily we had some provisions to wait out the storm. The storm also gave us more time to get to know each other, and the more we talked, the more we got along.  Louis, with his french accent, called Rachel ‘Rachelle’ (so in this blog she will henceforth be called Rachelle).

When we finally got out of the car to walk to Cape Reinga, we watched the Tasman Sea (a man) and the Pacific (a woman) meet and crash into each other. In other words, we watched the opposite waves cross over into each other.  It was hypnotic.



The lighthouse at the northernmost tip of New Zealand.



Journey to the edge of the earth


After our quick sojourn, we headed back to the car and found a campsite for the night. We unanimously decided that Louis would stay with us for the next few days, so he pitched his tent, we parked our car, and we all got ready for an epic hangout.



Well that escalated quickly…






Team SandyFeet



Hey MTV, welcome to my crib



Seagulls by the bay shore


The next morning, we were in need of some culture, so we went to a museum where we saw various videos of Opo, the world’s friendliest dolphin who “captured the hearts of people.” Unfortunately, Opo is no longer with us. After the museum, we went for a leisurely stroll and stopped for a cup of coffee and bought ourselves the best roadside purchase for only $1.50– a 2006 Nelly Furtado CD with no less than 5 hit songs including Promiscuous and Maneater. We also ran into Jean from the museum, who was actually my patron for getting the Nelly Furtado CD (she lent me the money; she knew how much I needed Nelly).


‘shrooms on coffee.


So, of course, Nelly Furtado became the soundtrack to our drive. We blasted it and played every song… I may or may not have gotten a bit carried away by sticking my head so far out the window that my sunglasses went flying. We turned around to get them, but by the grace of Nelly, they hadn’t been smashed by any cars #InFurtado’sNameAmen.

We stopped to see some Kauri trees, which is the largest (by volume) species of tree in New Zealand. 



Tane Mahuta tree 51.5 meters high; 13.8 meters girth units; 17.7 meters truck height


After checking out some trees, we bought some red cellophane for our Kiwi search. Now, this may sound strange, but Scott had told us that since Kiwis are endangered and hard to find, they only come out at dark. So since they hate light, the best way to find them is to put red cellophane over our phones because the light will go undetected.



Pre-cellophane pic


Rachelle found the cellophane at a box store in the gift wrap section. She cheered triumphantly once she grabbed it, while Louis and I listened to some guy tell us that we had to drive 20 more minutes to find it (WRONG). But it was still nice talking to him. Kiwi’s are so funny. 

Once we had our super state-of-the-art spy cellophane, we headed to Trounson Kauri Park where the Kiwis supposedly come out at night. We had some more hours of daylight, so the three of us took the time to do impromptu exploring, which consisted of going down every road that had a “brown sign” denoting some sort of natural attraction that wasn’t in our book. So we went off-booking with a very calm Louis, who was always down for our escapades.

Eventually we made it to the Trounson campground, settled in, and decided to go to a nearby restaurant (the only restaurant, actually) for some burgers. There we met a dog named Bailey and encountered a hedgehog on the road

Filled with food and excited by our new animal friends, we were inspired to go Kiwi hunting. And by hunting I mean trying to find a Kiwi and watching it with teary-eyed joy. We were so determined to find a Kiwi that I even wore Patrick’s lucky socks (spoiler alert: they didn’t help, but I STILL think they’re lucky). So we washed our shoes (a requirement to keep the trees safe) before heading out onto the trail.  We made made sure to stay on the paths since the trees roots are shallow and delicate, we did not want to trample on them.




And the journey begins!!



Just call us Rip Van Crinkle


We spent our Friday night crinkling through the forest (the crinkle sound is from the cellophane) trying to find some Kiwis. And I wouldn’t have spent it any other way.  I wish more Friday nights were spent in nature.

We could tell there were Kiwis close by, but our lights weren’t strong enough, so we got kind of frustrated. At one point, we heard the trees behind us rustling, and we turned around quickly only to find…. An opossum. Not a Kiwi. An opossum who ended up stalking us.  Not what we expected.



An itsy-bitsy spider


By the end of the night, we hadn’t seen any Kiwis. We did have loads of fun, but we went to car-bed disappointed. However, there was still a ton of time left, and we weren’t giving up that easily.

Always Kiwin’ it Classy,

One Response to “3. Kiwi be Friends?”

  1. Zachary Capp September 21, 2019 at 10:03 pm #

    Another great post 🙂


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