After a long day of driving on Thursday we found a really nice campsite near Red Beach and decided to treat ourselves! We played on the trampolines, had the nicest longest hottest showers, and made a really nice pork curry. It was a pretty chilled day and just nice to relax in a heated lounge, and watch a bit of NZ t.v.
Friday was a very busy and productive day. We drove from Red Beach back to Auckland to pick up our bank cards and then do our BUNGY JUMP!
We hadn’t properly had time to process that we would be jumping off a bridge, and definitely didn’t have time to back out or get scared about it because when we turned up at Auckland Harbour Bridge to see if our vouchers could be used, they just said ‘yep, lets get you harnessed up and you will be jumping in 20 mins’. The first point of the day where I almost had a heart attack was when we had to be weighed and have the number written on our hand in permanent marker…not cool! But Matt did say that apparently when people travel they get ‘fat and interesting’ haha so I guess there’s not much we can do about that until we settle somewhere! Oh dear.
So we got all harnessed up and waited for the other people in our group to get ready and were just messing around harnessing ourselves to each other and trying to make the other one fall over haha. There were loads of photos on the wall of people just about to bungee and some were crying, which didn’t fill me with confidence! There was a wall of fame too of people that had bungeed there; Justin Bieber, Katie Perry, Gaz of Geordie Shore and even Clifford the Big Red Dog haha! To be fair though, there was a statistic of 100% success rate, so unless we were literally the unluckiest people in the whole entire world – we would probably survive this ordeal.
When everyone was ready, we set off to climb up the bridge! There were about 10 of us and everyone was buzzing and getting all excited – I was so scared, I was ready to wet myself or be sick, potentially at the same time. Matt was so calm and chilled out about it, it did make me feel better. It was the windiest day ever, so it was bloody freezing and made the bridge climb nearly impossible as we were being thrown around, thank god we were attached to the railing…especially because Matt kept pushing me towards the edge trying to be hilarious!
When we got up to the pod, Matt was called to be second. The first was a big Maori guy that launched off backwards, and then it was Matt’s turn. I was terrified just watching him. Once the ankle straps had been fitted, he wiggled over to the edge. They explained what he had to do and how to pull on a rope once he had bounced 3 times, and his legs would come loose and we would just hang from a chest harness while they pull him up. When he was stood at the edge, the guy dropped the rope off the edge and lunged forwards. He thought he was falling already and wasn’t prepared so he literally screamed and tried to get his balance which was hilarious. He said, and I quote, he felt ‘Euphoric, static, and beside myself with joy…but mostly shitting my pants’.
The man shouted ‘3, 2, 1…’ and Matt was gone!! I was terrified but tried to stay calm and get a good video (Which I will upload) without an ear piercing scream! His dive looked really cool and professional, so then I began to worry that my dive would be rubbish and I would look like an amateur and snap my back or something!
After what felt like ages, his windswept head peered up into the pod, beaming! He said it was incredible! When he had bounced three times he pulled on the rope to release his ankles, and only one came loose! He was hanging in the air with one ankle in the air and the other free…he was properly dangling from one leg and when we watched their professional video, he was full on doing some sort of splits. He said he thought something had gone wrong so he was trying to plan what he would do when he fell into the water haha!!
When he was up and out of the harness, it dawned on me that it was my turn! As I was getting strapped in, my legs were uncontrollably shaking and I literally thought I was going to sick up all of my internal organs.
I said to the man that I really didn’t think I would be able to jump myself and he might have to push me.
When I was all strapped in and ready to go, I had to shuffle over to the edge. The same thing happened when he dropped the rope down and I lunged forward and thought I was falling and got a crazy, uncontrollable shiver down my back! He told me to smile for the camera and then started the dreaded countdown. I looked down in front of me and just thought there was literally no way this was going to happen! I was too embarrassed to be a drama queen about this, even though all I wanted to do was keep delaying the jump and shout about how I couldn’t do it. I made him check all my harness again and then got ready to jump. I dove forward and instantly regretted it…I screamed louder than I ever knew I could, and plummeted down soooo fast. It felt like so long until I jolted and felt the rope stop me. It was the most incredible feeling, and I still don’t know if I liked the feeling or not, but I know I have never done anything that made me feel as scared as that! I have queued up for ‘Oblivion’ at Alton Towers about 5 times and never actually made it on the ride… that is how out of my comfort zone I was!
As I bounced up and plunged down again, I had that same out of control feeling of falling!! When they hoisted me up I was a quivering mess but just laughing my head off!!
We got back to the office and got free T-shirts and certificates and then got in Timmy for a can of coke and chocolate to try and stop shaking so much!
So yeah…we would 1000% recommend a bungee to anyone!
Straight after that, it was back on the road again! We wanted to make it down to Hot water beach, as Robbie had told us amazing things about us. The beach has volcanic activity underneath and so when you dig a hole in the sand, the water is really hot…it actually gets to 64 degrees! So we set off from Auckland and looked for a good campsite near there. Hot water beach is on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, around 12km south east of Whitianga, and 175 km from Auckland.
Timmy was being naughty on the drive down, and at one point he overheated and made weird noises, so we stopped and Matt sorted him out. The drive down was again absolutely stunning, and we just kept saying ‘ahhh look at that’ the whole time.
We were looking on the App ‘WikiCamps’ – which is such a useful app when camping all around New Zealand as it shows you every campsite, all its amenities, reviews, prices and locations – and found a place called Purangi Winery, which had brilliant reviews and all you had to do was buy a pizza or a drink and it was free to stay. After 3 hours of driving we pulled up at the winery – it was soooo cute!! It was proper rustic and quirky, and looked like a right hidden gem!
We parked up and went in and were greeted by a crazy kiwi called Danny. He was so nice and poured us a free, home brewed cider on entry…this was definitely our kind of place!
He called us in next door to his winery shop/cellar room, for a wine tasting and educational talk on New Zealand brewing. He was telling us about a fruit called Feijoa…we had never heard of the fruit, but Danny was telling us that is was more Kiwi than a kiwi. To be honest, he was telling us about this fruit for maybe 25 minutes and Matt and I literally couldn’t tell you what he was going on about. He spoke so fast and in 20 different accents, he lost us straight away, and it was even quite difficult to try and laugh on cue because we had totally missed the joke.
It didn’t matter though because he was so friendly and welcoming that he barely even noticed us both gawping at him completely lost. From what we can gather though…all of his alcohol is brewed with this fruit. Then came the testing!! We literally were given 10 shots each of gin, cider, liquor, wine, red wine, some random spirit that was 50% and then some slices of the frozen feijoa fruit. We were both pissed out our tree and decided even if we didn’t want to stay here, it was too late because neither of us could drive anyway! Haha this is definitely Danny’s plan! Anyway, we went next door into the restaurant area, sat by the fire and ordered a huge pizza and a Litre jug of cider… which turned into 4 litres (one of which he gave us free as it was ‘overpour’).
We got chatting to a really nice couple next to us called Rachel and Robert, who are from Auckland but have a massive beach house (NZ folk call it a ‘Batch’) on Cook’s Beach which is the next beach along. They asked if we wanted to come back to theirs as there’s loads of room and they could take us around the area over the weekend.
So after a few more drinks, we headed to their beach house! Rachel drove me in their car and Robert drove Matt in Timmy!
The house was soo big with 7 bedrooms! It was proper retro inside too, R + R said no one had redecorated since the 70s haha. They showed us to a room we could have, with the most comfy bed ever!
We had a few more drinks and then headed to bed. Matt and I were both hammered and just laughing at how random it all was, but we loved it!
The next morning, we woke up to the smell of bacon…went into the kitchen and saw eggs and bacon ready for us…luxury!
The weather had gone bad which was a shame, and it was really cloudy and a bit rainy, but we wanted to make the most of it regardless. We all decided we would go for a long walk to Lonely Bay and Shakespeare’s cliff which had amazing views. We got really wrapped up, with at least 5 layers of clothes on, plus a hat and scarf, and I literally looked like a snowman. Matt put on his wetsuit and a hat – which I found hilarious…hiking in a wetsuit.
However, when we got down to cooks beach, there was a river we had to cross, so I was glad Matt had his wetsuit on because he had to give me a firemans carry across the river! Robert found a cave that you could crawl through and come out the other side and climb up onto a huge rock in the sea…so he and Matt ran off to do that! Baring in mind it was like less than 10 degrees, high tide, crazy rough sea and torrential rain, they both dived off this huge rock and into the ocean!
We all continued the walk, which took about 2 hours in total. When we got back to the house, we decided to go and see hot water beach even though it was freezing and raining still, as that was the reason we had gone to that area anyway!
Hot Water beach is in the town Hahei, so we went there for lunch first. It was sooo nice, but we are starting to get in the flash packer mindset again!
You can hire spades for hot water beach for $5, and loads of German tourists kept coming into the café to get spades, so we though we would defo still go and check it out…even though the tide was in and there was a 3m swell haha yolo.
We got there to see about 20 soaked Germans, hopelessly digging holes and trying to create barriers made of sand to stop waves getting in their hot pools – but failing.
We found a patch of sand that was bubbling so we dug our feet into it and it was literally like putting your feet in a Jacuzzi! Such a weird experience because we were all still wrapped up but our legs were freezing cold because of the waves, but our feet were so hot and occasionally burnt if we sunk a bit too deep! After playing in the sand for a while, we headed off to another cliff top walk, all the way around to cathedral cove.
The walk was like 45 mins each way…and was a killer! The views were stunning (just annoying that it was still cloudy and rainy!) and it was like walking through a rainforest! Everything is so green and leafy…plus there’s no poisonous animals as oppose to Australia, which is great!
We were the only people at cathedral cove, and I just wished it was sunny!
That night we all went back to the winery, had more shots, more cider and more pizza! Matt and I loooove that place! We had a match of darts and played around the world.
We had a chilled night and stayed at R + R’s again.
Sunday 31st August
We woke up to ANOTHER fry up which was amazzzze, and then we were off on our way again and back on the road!
We decided to just have a short stint and make it to Paeroa – same place they made a special kiwi soft drink, and apparently its famous, so there was a huge monument of a bottle.
We got coffees in an internet café and sorted out car insurance after hearing stories of people in NZ smashing into brand new cars and paying off the debt for the rest of their lives and declaring bankruptcy to make it go away! So knowing our luck (well mine anyway) we thought it was prob a good idea! I find it so weird that in NZ you don’t need any kind of insurance to drive any car…crayyyy.
So we found a free campsite…which was again just a spot at the side of the road, and we set up camp. We had a really chilled night so we could save money and I wanted to watch Lord of the Rings to get more in the NZ vibe! There was a huge campervan next to us and loads of drama was going off!
We kept pausing the film to get more goss and listen to what was going on…from what we can gather, Kevin the Aussie bloke, has knocked up a kiwi woman, but she accidently hit his son with a chair – three times according to Kev – only twice according to kiwi. She then stormed out swearing at him because he was drunk and wouldn’t ‘compromise’…then we didn’t hear anything until this morning when we ate our Weetabix…she was back and they continued from where they left off haha.
There was also a shady looking tramp man hanging around the toilet block…so yeah it was an interesting camping ground last night!
Today we decided to go and have a gander at Hamilton as we are on the way to Waitomo Caves. The weather is crap again so we just went for a subway and are now on the way to find a free campsite near waitomo, so we can get up bright and early and do that tomorrow.
The weather looks loads better tomorrow too so fingers crossed!!!