Northland

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Leap of pride!

Hey Guys, what’s up?!

Well, I don’t know .. I really don’t know what to think about the Kiwis… on the one hand, they are super caring, lovely people. I got offered a lift, for instance, when I was standing on the side of the road with all my luggage, waiting for the girls I bought the car from or I just got an upgrade for a large instead of a small hot chocolate, just by telling them about my day… Just little things like that 💕 But then on the other hand… I got pulled over by a police officer for going to slow!!! Yes, you have read correctly. I was going like 10ks too slow, causing the van behind me to get a ticket for crawling up my a**!! What the hell?! And you know why?? Cause the roads here are super narrow and windy, going along cliffs and over mountains… and they make you go 100!! Plus, it says every 5ks “Slow down, high crash zone!!” Sorry, police officer, I’m gonna make sure I go 100 next time while falling off the cliff.. super ridiculous!! I didn’t get a ticket or anything when I explained that I’m not that confident driving on roads like that yet. In Australia, you have people going slow all the time and they don’t even have an excuse!! Anyway, the officer liked to make me feel a little more uncomfortable by constantly pointing out that the van behind me got a ticket just because of me… Thanks, officer! You’ve encouraged me to speed, sir!!

It was not my day anyway. I got everything in my car set up. Not the prettiest or best car, but it does the job. Here a few pics:

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I did what I had to do and started my travels up to “Northland”. First stop: “Black sand beach” in Muriwai. Yeah, I’m not a massive fan of beaches, hence, I didn’t stay long, but it was still cool to see a “black beach” and the black sand was beautifully sparkly ***

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But the Kiwi’s are weird man, I tell ya…  I was just on my way to the ” Waipu Caves”, when I saw a guy cleaning someone’s windscreen. Not such a weird scenario, you might think, but what if I told you that all this happened at a red traffic light and the guy cleaning the windscreen was a stranger to the guy driving the car!! Sort of like a pitstop!! This made my day!! Absolutely hilarious! I was next in line, but unfortunately, it had turned green already 😀

So I continued to the caves. The road got crazy again.  The last 5ks were offroad, along a narrow edge. Oh, and basically it was a one-way road… at least at some parts. It was a bit like Russian Roulette..you’ve got a 50/50 chance of dying by a car hitting you while driving around that corner! BUT I gotta make sure I’m going full 100 guys!! Better sorry than safe, hey?! 😛

Anyway, the caves were really wet. Everything was muddy and my torch wasn’t really bright enough for an excursion deeper into the cave. I didn’t see any glowworms either. What I did see, was a big spider right above my head. They follow you everywhere!! The caves were still really great to see though! And you can access them without a guide at your own risk, which is kinda a really rare thing over here. So, I played around with my camera a little bit and look at the picture I took! Now I finally know how that works. Next time, I’ll take a picture like that on purpose! 😀

Next stop was the “Hundertwasser public toilets” in Kawakawa. No joke, they are a tourist attraction!! An Austrian guy named Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who immigrated to New Zealand, made this his final project using his special and unique style of architecture. They were definitely special and I really enjoyed going into these public toilets, which I usually don’t!  This guy definitely knows about standing out of the crowd. My respect! A beautiful piece of architecture!!

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Do you know what it feels like to get circled by chooks?? I do! I just wanted to get out of my van to go and explore the “Haruru Falls”, but unfortunately I couldn’t get out cause I was surrounded by a dozen roosters and chickens!! Was not as hilarious as it sounds, but I just jumped out at some point and managed to get down to the falls! Due to the fact that it constantly rains over here, the falls were 10x stronger than usual! Definitely worth a visit!

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Anyway, I drove on! Up to the northernmost point New Zealand’s. It took me ages to get there and the road was super windy!! Perfect for people with motion sickness!! You know, it was only like 200ks. It would have taken me an hour and a half maybe to drive that distance on Australian roads, but here it took me like 3 hours because roads are just super dangerous!! I eventually made it to the top and still missed that little adventure… no water crossings, no corrugations, no dirt, no mud… but you can’t have everything 😛 Instead I passed massive sheep stations, which was also worth it! Anyone wanna offer me a job?! I’m almost out of money 😀

Whatever Cape Reinga was beautiful though!! I don’t like beaches and coasts, but this one was impressive. This is where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet! It was also suuuuper windy though! Taking pictures of yourself when you’re by yourself is already hard… but the wind brought the thing to a whole new level!! 😀

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If you ever wondered about the weather at night, I can tell you it’s freezing! -3 degrees and I’m sleeping in my car!! And we all should know that frost is even colder than snow! Yeah, I’ve got a pretty awesome sleep! 😛 Oh, and guess what: my heating is not working … you can start shaming me now! I take it… 😛

It was finally sunny during the day though! So we decided to go to Raglan, a surfer hotspot. Well, we don’t surf and it was freezing anyway, but the beach was still nice! It was another “Black sand beach”, but I noticed something… The sea is a bit too calm for surfing! There were no waves at all 😛

So we walked along the beach for a while and then 265 steps up and down to get to the “Bridal Veil Falls”. Yep, we ’re pretty active that day in contrast to the day before 😀 It was a pretty waterfall! About 50 metres high and quite strong due to heaps of rain! Unfortunately, we passed another horrible accident on the way out. This is the second I’ve seen since I’ve been living on the road… It definitely stresses you out mentally…

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Because where else would I be able to get back into my 4 wheel driving, if not in the extreme sports capital?!

I’m back in my element!  So, we joined this Bush safari – 4×4 track in Rotorua that definitely gives you an adrenaline rush! It takes about an hour taking you to multiple obstacles like deeper water crossings, the “bridge under construction”, which was basically a log on one side only, an obstacle that brings your 4wd into a 45-degree angle without rolling over or “the luge”, which is the craziest one! You drive downhill at an 80-degree angle in “neutral”!! This was soo much fun!! Can highly recommend! Proves once more that 4 wheel driving is definitely my thing!!
But it also proves that it’s justified to have trust issues! The guide that helped us throughout the track, made it really hard for me to trust him after giving us a leave of the so-called “bubblegum tree”. It’s edible and supposed to taste like bubblegum… in the beginning… then the taste turns into pepper. Of course, he didn’t tell us until we were all chewing on the leave already…  ewwh 😛

The trust issues continued when he started shaking the car while we were hanging in a 45-degree angle, telling us that you shouldn’t put your car in a bigger angle than 40 degrees if you don’t want to roll over 😀 Well and then it still didn’t stop. On the so-called “Luge” the obstacle that forces you to drive straight down a hill in an 80 degree angle, he made us drive right to the edge, put the car in neutral and then asked us to do multiple “brake tests”, bringing us closer and closer to the point, where brakes don’t work anymore! He kept going, though, because he didn’t want to give us a chance to decide ourselves when we want to start rolling down that hill, so during the last “brake test” he gave us a little push! That was a pure adrenaline rush!! Throughout the track the kept putting signs up like “parachutes for hire” or ” underwear for sale” just to make it a little more fun! 4 wheel driving is definitely my thing! Makes me happy! One day I’m gonna own my own high clearance 4wd.

But, Rotorua’s geothermal activity, on the other hand, is an awesome way to warm up in one of their 40-degree hot pools!! Definitely what I needed after a freezing night! I couldn’t handle it too well though since I almost fainted when I got out of the hot into the cold 😀 Don’t worry, I’m fine now!

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I’m fine now, but I wasn’t for long since it was the day of our bungy jump!! Ahhh!!! I had to go into sort of a “birdcage” hanging from a crane, 43 m in height! It was just me and the instructor up there. While standing on the edge, I was 150% convinced, I wouldn’t do it! I was scared to death and I’ve got no idea what sort of higher powers made me actually jump when he counted “3..2..1..BUNGY!”!! Felt like a leap into death because you can’t feel that you’re attached to anything! Well actually you can, because the velcro around my calves was so tight, I could not even feel my legs anymore 😛 The first leap was not even the worst! As soon as you start bouncing back up and down, even faster… that’s when you should start screaming!! On the way back down, they just let you hang on that rope and let the cage down slowly. They grab your hands and pull you on your back and at that exact moment..  you know you survived!!

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Watch my “leap of pride” here:

Always remember: If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space! 😉

Just do it!

Cheers,
Dani

http://www.bookme.co.nz/bookings/rotorua-taupo/home#bb2b2

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