I quit my job and decided to go backpacking. Below are my updates from the trail. I hope to just post enough pictures and details to make you all jealous. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jokecamp/ - Joe

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Paihia and the Top of NZ

View From Russell To Paihia, originally uploaded by jokecamp.

Before leaving Auckland I got a chance to visit the Volcanic island of Rangitoto. It last erupted 600 years ago and scientists have no idea when it will erupt again. On the island I was able to climb the summit and do a little bit of amateur spelunking.

Since then I've travelled north from Auckland to Paihia (Bay of Islands). Paihia is a tiny town on an island infested bay that is mainly visited by tourists and backpackers. A friend and I took two kayaks across the bay to the town of Russell. The same town that was considered the "hellhole of the Pacific" 170 years ago. It is also noted that Charles Darwin once described it as the "refuse of society." On arrival it was dissapointing to see that the town had lost its character and cleaned up into a high-end tourist destination. But it was still an impressive distance to paddle, especially against the wind.

While in Paihia we took a day trip north. We visited the Ninety mile beach and our pimped out tour bus took us off-roading on the beach. Along the way we hit up some sand dunes for some sand boarding. The rides were surpisingly fast and the dune was damn hard to climb up again and again so I only made three climbs which was on par with the rest of the group. The best part was watching people wipe out in crazy and elaborate fashions eating sand all the way down.

The last part of the day trip we visited Cape Reinga. This is the Northern most tip of New Zealand where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific ocean. The Maori beleive that when they died their soul would travel to the cape and use it as a jumping off point for the soul to begin the journey back to their spiritual homeland.

I am back in Auckland for the day but then I start heading south to Mercury Bay.

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