I love long bus rides in foreign countries! During the seven hours from Auckland to Kaitaia in the far north of New Zealand I already got a little insight why many consider the country the most beautiful in the world: hilly, lush green landscapes, small settlements with simple houses and huts…only interrupted by beautiful bays with wide beaches, palm trees and some really strange trees as well…Kiwis like it simple and spend much time in nature, just my thing! 😉
Quite interesting: Whereas in Germany it is not allowed to speak to the bus driver while driving, my Maori driver has seriously messed around with the passengers for the whole ride. Very sympathetic!
I also used the bus ride to read into some „trail food know-how“ and write a shopping list for the Pak’n’Save (probably the largest supermarkets in New Zealand). So this is the result of what shall feed me the next four days on the trail:
In Kaitaia, I got a single room at the backpackers hostel of my choice – the Mainstreet Lodge. I’m still suffering from severe jet lag and, in addition, I am also having a cold now. One last nice sleep in a good bed and I will hopefully be in shape for the first leg of the trail. The Mainstreet Lodge is like a collecting pond for people who already got beaten by the trail. For instance, I met Jay from Canada, who just finished the first part of the trail, the 90 Mile Beach…but then literally got stuck in the mud in the Northland Forests and is going to skip that part. And I met Coline from France who (temporarily) had to give up after 40 km south of Cape Reinga. Both are returning onto the trail in Kerikeri and omit the Northland Forests. It just makes me realize how hard it is going to be and I am aware that I still have so much to learn…and I’m looking forward to that!
Honourable mention: Suzi & Carol from Mainstreet Lodge. My two hosts proved again that the kindest and nicest and most helpful people are called Kiwis. First, they made a friend of theirs drive me to the Pak’n’Save (just a 10 minute walk, but no discussion allowed), then they provided me with sauces for my dinner, gave me helpful tips for the 90 Mile Beach and last but not least Carol handed me one of the Mainstreet Lodge business cards, wrote her personal phone number on it and said: „Whatever happens on the trail, when you get into trouble, just call and we will get you of there!“ I got adopted quickly I guess. 😉
Stef’s excursion into… Breaking news
At the moment, the local headlines are dominated by the death of Jonah Lomu, regarded by many as the best rugby player of all time. Thus, an absolute hero of New Zealand. Jonah Lomu was also a very modest and humble man, which earned him the respect of the entire population – in addition to his outstanding abilities as an athlete. He just died with 40 years due to a kidney disease. In his honor I’m posting a Jonah Lomu best of video, just pure madness!
And what’s next:
On the itinerary starting tomorrow: the first long section from Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of the trail, to Ahipara. Four days for approximately 100km. Previously, I still have to cover the 110 km from Kaitaia to Cape Reinga, so I’m trying hitch-hiking for a change. More of it after my first four days on the trail, stay tuned! 😉