After the the trippy cow pasture forests, we were driving even further north to the cape when I noticed a sign for sand board rentals. We had passed up some other adventure type sports because of the cost. But I was not going to pass this up. I pulled into a front yard of the house with the sign on the side on the hi way. It seems every one in NZ is trying to cash in on the tourists' dollar. I opened a sliding glass door and looked into someone messy kitchen. "hello. Are you open" Some 70 year lady came out and tried to charge me $20 for a two hour rental. I talked her down to ten dollars for what I knew as a body board made for riding ocean waves. We drove another twenty minutes though hills and forest until over next hill through some trees we saw massive mountains of sand much bigger than any of us expected. It must have taken 10000 years for the sand to pile up this high. We parked at the bottom with a few other tourist campers, took off our shoes and ran to the top of the first level. Out of breath we decided to walk up the rest of the way. We took turns riding the slick board down the steeps. I did some front and back flips off of a cornus at the top. We got sand in every part of our clothing and bodys. There was a small creek that cut through the inland side that prevented the dunes from progressing any furthur into the forest. Any sand that blew into the shallow water was just carried back to the Tasmanian Sea. I grabbed my board shorts and ran through the warm water like a kid playing in sprinklers on a summer day. This was the half way point in our trip and the high point of our road trip for me.
We drove a an hour further even though we were low on gas through dirt roads and hills to get to Cape Regina. An impressive site for any part of the world. 300 meters up on a Cliff with a lighthouse and a $10 million view. You could see The Pacific Ocean and Tasmanian Sea crashing together with green and blue waters meeting up and white water beating relentlessly into the jagged rocks below. You got a very safe feeling being that high up, you could see the violent waters but couldn't hear it.
On the way back back I was driving conservative so we didn't run out of gas. It would have been kind of fun to have to hitch hike to get some petrol but we thought we should at least try to get to the "last Gas" station we saw a ways back. We finally came down the last hill and then pulled into the station, after sitting a moment a girl came out and said they were out of gas and didn't know when they would get more. We thought we were screwed but they went in back and thankfully found two gallons. We bought it. We camped on the beach again that night. We saw some other campers parked there so we assumed that it would be cool. There something very satisfying about waking up next to water. Maybe its the life giving properties, but people tend to agree that water and sunlight almost anywhere is a beautiful sight.
Friday we hiked up a trail that had been built up with wood stairs and bridges to help less athletic people navigate through the forests over the rivers and fern gully's. It was an impressive area that lie on private property we all the way to the top to a look out point. On our way out we walked passed the "Honesty Box" where we were supposed to pay $10 each for the walk. The owner showed up right then and called us out on it. We were not by any means rich but, We felt very stupid for trying to save money. We sat in silence for the next portion of the drive. I suppose you learn from things like that and try not to make mistakes like that in the future.
We then went down to the Largest trees in NZ. They were in a very dense jungle that had miadering, elevated wooden tracks built through it to keep visitors from disrupting the ecosystem. These trees were enormous. They were 20 meters around, looked kind of like LOTR talking trees but fatter.
Saturday was pretty chill. we drove down a peninsula and back, another beautiful beach ect.On the way to camp we saw a sign that said Mt Auckland hiking, so I drove up the hill and parked. Started hiking down a grassy road with at forest of pine on a steep hill about 40 meters to the right. I walked to the fence and looked down into a dark scary forest and immediately thought we must go in there. So we jumped the fence and went down the steep into the dark unknown. We needed walking sticks just to get down. The ground was so covered in dead plant matter it was soft and spongy. We came out the bottom and looked up another hill but grassy, it was a cow pasture. We had wanted to get closer to some "wildlife" so I started up the grassy hill toward two large cows. As approached, they stood ground and stared me down like I had never seen a cow do. Then I saw a calf behind one of them. I decided I was close enough. Snapped a few pics and then left. We went around the hill side further away from them and toward some sheep that did just the opposite of the cows. They made a bunch of noise and moved away from us. So I gave chase but trying to move through a swampy area of pasture I made some wrong steps and fell in deep mud up to my knees. Panicking, I tried to run out and left my shoes buried in the mud, then had to go dig them out. Funny shit, but I was covered. I decided to was my cloths off in a creek near by so I wouldn't get the camper and my other cloths all messy.
We went to camp down about 30 minutes from Auckland since the van was due back at 2pm the next morning. We found a beach but it had no camping signs every where. There was a holiday park that wanted $13 per person to park the van there. The only thing we wanted was a shower, so I parked the van down the street and in the dark of night walked in and used the hot shower. $.50 for 5 minutes, more than I needed. It felt so god to be clean. That was the first real shower other than streams and creeks for about 5 days. We end up looking for a spot to park the van for an hour before i drove into a field and parked. We drank a six pack of Grolsh and had eggs and toast in the moon light using the gas cooker like a camp fire to sit around and stay warm. When we woke up I realized we were on a carrot farm, there were Chinese men working the fields and a tractor spraying some stuff. They were all looking at us like they had never seen hippies camping in a carrot field before. Weird, so we left.
We cleaned and returned the van with the hopes we would only be a the city for one more day until we could find jobs out in the country side. The city just wasn't anything like the NZ we had just experienced. Too many people and cars and no scenery.