Sleeping under the stars

on February 11, 2013

What a weekend it's been. We packed our bags early Saturday morning to head off to Whangamumu. It's a harbour - or more like a bay - in beautiful Northland, close to Russell (you have to follow SH1 from Whangarei going north, then off right at Whakapara towards Helena Bay/Oakura then follow the signs). Anyway... after almost half a year I was finally going fishing again *woohoo*

We arrived at our starting point Rawhiti just after noon. There's a track through native forest that leads you to the magnificent spot you can see in the picture. You can park your car along the road, but if you want to be safe (especially when staying overnight like we were going to) there's a lovely elderly couple, Victor and Barbara, who offer to look after your vehicle for $3 daily or $8 overnight. You can leave it on their property so all your belongings are safe. Apparently there's been some issues with theft and break-ins into cars just parked on the road. So consider this option if you ever wanna go there.

Once everything was settled and Barbara had given us a few tipps on where to fish we started the hike. The track takes just over an hour but MAN that walk is nothing for the unfit. The first 45mins are CONSTANTLY uphill and pretty steep, too. It's hard enout just to walk that - but even more so with all the gear we had. Food and water supply, bait and berley, fishing gear... We were more than relieved when we made it to the top of the mountain range. From there it was only another half hour mostly even ground with a final drop down to the beach. Full of sweat and exhausted from the heat I went straight into the water for a little swim. It was sooo nice and warm. Simply beautiful.

After a little rest we walked the remaining 15mins to the historic Whangamumu Whaling Station. The track leads you along the beach and is only accessible 1 to 2 hours around low tide. So time your trip well. When we walked back the next morning it was of course high tide so we had to walk through knee-deep water to get back to the track that lead home.

There's some information boards around the area of the Whaling Station that tells you about its history. A few of the buildings and boilers can also still be found. Quite interesting! Around 1910 they caught between 10 and 50 whales a season (nothing compared to how the sea gets raped today). We went for a good look around and eventually set up our gear on some nearby rocks. It didn't take long for the fish to bite - but unfortunately most of them were rather tiny and had to go straight back into the sea. I caught a few snapper and some kahawai that evening but since there wasn't anything decent around I eventually lost my patience and concentrated more on enjoying the scenery. There was an abundance of fish in the water and you could see them really close, circling around the berley bag. Pretty awesome =D

We also saw a couple of stingrays that kept swimming around. Matt was fishing until way after dark and of course had to hook the big one eventually. He handed the rod to me so I could have a feeling of the power those animals have. WOW what an experience! I took the stingray "for a walk" along the beach, but in the end we let the line snap off. After all - what would we want with a stingray? Poor creature took off again - only to come back to our spot minutes after, though!

Sometime close to midnight we finally ran out of bait. It was way too late to attempt the walk back so we just stretched out on the grass. Unfortunately the temperatures over here drop to below 10 degrees at night even in the summer. So despite 3 layers of clothes it got friggin' cold! I was shivering so bad I was sure to be suffering from hypothermia sooner or later. Luckily Matt though of the hypothermia blanket in our First Aid Kit! It's amazing how well these things work! Once blanket of course wasn't big enough for the both of us. But at least we could cover our hands and faces and upper halves of our bodies. Instant heat! Unbelievable! Next time we will come prepared better (yeah right, we always say that*lol*).

Still I didn't get too much sleep. Cold wind, hundreds of mozzies and the hard as ground just didn't do. As soon as the run started rising we got our stuff together and started the hike back to the car. Made it in less than an hour this time *woohoo* and well before the heat kicked in again. It certainly was an adventure!

Now only 2 weekends to go until I'm on my way to good old Germany for a little visit. Wonder what'll happen next weekend!

Waitangi Day 2013

on February 06, 2013

This year I really wanted to spend Waitangi Day up north - in Waitangi. After all that's where New Zealand as we know it now was born. Matt wasn't too keen at first but this time I got things done my way *heehee* and MAN did we end up having a fantastic time!

Weather was beautiful today: clear sky, lovely sunshine and only a little breeze. Once we arrived at Paihia we parked the car and went down to the Marina. Instantly spotted the chopper on the beach... that was one thing I've been wanting to do for years but it's always so bloody expensive! But after going on antique Russian Antonovs, shabby looking Polish Wilgas and even a glider (last summer) the one thing still missing on my wish list was a helicopter ride.

Lucky for me Matt was in a generous mood today - thanks to the good pay from fighting that massive fire in Pouto until last week. Anyway... I finally got my Xmas present *woohoo* we checked out SaltAir - the local company offering helicopter rides - and we found the perfect one for us.

20mins all the way to Cape Brett and the Hole in the Rocks. I have to admit I was a bit scared. Over a yummy seafood lunch Matt told me about every thing that can go wrong in a chopper and about all the guys he (personally) knew who'd crashed and died over the years.

But... it was too late to chicken out. 12.30pm we took off. And WOOHOO that was a great feeling! Our pilot Manu told us heaps about the area, pointed out islands that were good for fishing and a lit of bits and pieces. The flight was over way too soon but I've taken tons of awesome pics! Will upload some in the next few days to share this unique experience with you.

I can only recommend this to anyone! The flight was smooth as, the view magnificent!

We still walked over to Waitangi afterwards to have a look around the Treaty Grounds. But there wasn't even a hangi available so once Matt got his hair cut for just $10 we headed back home. What a memorable day :-)