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Taking the Road North (again)

Sunday 27th September 2015

sunny 18 °C

It was time to move on again and so we put our packing routine into action. This has now become a well rehearsed activity. Any clothes still out back in packing cubes (these have turned out to be invaluable); cubes and wash bag back in rucksack, photography equipment and electricals into their packs and into my day pack. You get the score, having the routine certainly makes something that could be a bit of a chore into a quick and pretty painless job. This is made even easier by the fact that we are just about to pick up a car that we will have for the next three weeks, so some things like my walking boots can stay in the car boot!

Having checked out of our room and left our bags in reception we made the ten to fifteen minute walk to pick up our hire car. We had to walk pass the Sky Tower and noticed that people were still happily jumping off.

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The car pick up went smoothly, and this time we were given an almost brand new Toyota so were pretty happy. Once the car was sorted out and we had been back to the hotel to pick up our bags we were on our way. We were driving north to the Bay of Islands for a few days, but en-route we had arranged to meet Sarah an ex work colleague at Browns Bay. This was a short hop over the bridge and just under half an hour up the coast road. When we arrived although I saw Sarah just going into the cafe where we had arranged to meet, we couldn't find any parking. In the end I nipped out and spoke to Sarah and she was able to direct us to another car park. We had some lunch and Sarah and I a glass of wine. It was so lovely to have a catch up and she also gave us some advice about things to see and do in North Island. The time went really quickly and after about an hour and half or so we thought we ought to get on our way and so sadly we said goodbye to Sarah.

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The rest of the journey, travelling up near the east coast, should have taken us about three hours. There were indications on the sat-nav of delays or possible road blockages. The motorway turned out to be closed and rather than take the west coast road which would have added an hour onto our journey I was pretty sure we could find a way through which we did. Unfortunately what we didn't realise is that the problem was actually on the road that the motorway fed into, which was blocked due to a milk tanker having rolled over in the early hours of the morning injuring the driver quite seriously and depositing milk (which soon solidified) onto the road. At this point the only diversion was up to the nearest village and then about 20 kilometres along a dirt track. Previously we had kept way from such roads but this time we had little choice. There were hundreds of other cars having to take the same route, all sending up clouds of dust.

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In the end it was quite good fun and no damage was done to the car but I think it was tough driving for Nigel and I don't think either of us are keen to repeat the experience.

In the end the journey which should have got us to our destination in Paihia by about 5pm resulted in us arriving at about an hour and a half later. Fortunately the clocks had gone forward by an hour the previous night and so it was still just light, so we were able to meet our host Helen and check in before it got dark. We could just see the view over the bay which boded well for the next day.

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We hadn't got any food with us and we were both feeling a bit too tired to fancy going out to eat so we ordered a Thai take away which we had delivered to out lodge. The room was very well equipped and in a lovely setting so I went to bed looking forward to the days ahead.

Posted by Gill's Travels 15:18 Archived in New Zealand Tagged beaches new_zealand bay_of_islands

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