So Jen is just the best host ever and had laid out a ton of plans for us to choose from for the weekend, and today was a big day. We chose our route and set off in her new car. First stop – family farm! I’ve loved meeting my friends families and seeing the places they’ve spoke about so much when we all lived and worked together in London – so this was great. Sorry the real first stop was toilet town or Kawakawa – little sweet place but made famous for their stunning public toilets! They were made by an Austrian artist back in the 70s who made NZ his second home, and are made of glass and cement and all wonky floors and walks – totally unique! Anyway back to the farm…!
The weather was DELIGHTFUL (perfectly put mr weather man) and hot and sunny and blue skies – yay finally the rain had buggered off! We drove through the sections of the farm, on grass, down then up steep wet rocky tracks, spoke to the cows, opened many gates, walked through the grass to look over the whole land – beautiful view, we just stood in silence taking it in. We also drove over electric fences, got stuck in the mud and had to push the car, and after a ton of laughs we made it out the other side of the farm. Gah what fun!
Back on the road we headed to the Puketi Forest, home to the Kauri trees – NZs most famous native tree that is found on the northern part of the North Island. Jen pointed out little tiny baby ones which were about 10ft tall but as skinny as your finger, and then we spotted the great big thick as a car ones ourselves. They were impressive and really cool how they are dead straight and silvery and then with a huge green canopy at the top. Got some interesting pictures from the bottom of them. They also have good little cleaning stations at the entrances to these forests as there is a disease that is killing the Kauris, so you have to scrape and spray your boots. We saw a tomtit and the NZ robin again on our walk through the forest.
After our walk through the trees we went to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. We paid double what Jen did to get in (nope I’m not exaggerating what a bloody great discount for the locals!) and spent a good hour or so in the brand newly opened museum, learning all about the history and treaty stories. We hadn’t totally finished before we had to go up to the marae and watch an entertaining cultural performance. It was Javis first and I think he enjoyed it from the amount of photos he was taking. They were really good and the singing sounded so great. Straight after the show we joined a tour with a huge very funny guy who was full of information – really enjoyed following him around. By the time he’d finished we actually had to leave as they’d already locked the gates haha and so we headed home, all very tired and digesting all the information we’d read and been given.
Cheeky Chinese time and home to scoff our faces. Good it was too! We’d stopped at a supermarket on the way home to grab some picnic stuff for tomoro so were all ready for our Easter Sunday beach plans. We all got into bed pretty early that night (still late for us 8.30pm people!) and soon were asleep… only to be woken by the smell of burning rubber at 2.15am. I looked out the window and right at the end of the driveway was a group of young shirtless guys and a girl or two with their cars shouting at each other. For the next hour we, meaning the whole street, listened to these kids scream up and down the narrow very steep road doing donuts and skidding stops and whatever else they were drunkenly doing. We were just waiting for a huge crash!! Our Joe and Jens car were both just right where they were hanging about on the road… tense times… all of a sudden at about 3.30am they suddenly moved into the house across the street back to their party and then there was just steady music coming from there. That’s fine, a weekend party is no problem, but skidding around the streets with everyone’s cars out there in the middle of the night… and the smell of those tyres was disgusting … well, let’s see in the morning!!