My wife and I watched the film The Beach a couple of years ago and desperately wanted to go see Thailand after that. The same happened after watching Lord of the Rings; we were dying to see New Zealand. Has that happened to any of you?
My cousin Anil who has just recently moved to Auckland, NZ, went on a trip to a couple of the neighbouring towns and had quite a lot to report on.
Anil is an architect and amateur rugby player with a life mission to bungee jump off the Empire State building. I think that’s the most succinct description I can manage.
What I found interesting about Anil’s expeditions are his ‘Day in the Life’ touches of random drives, walks, etc. For instance, Anil’s first stop was a rural town called KatiKati, in the Bay of Plenty area, which is about a 30 minute drive from the town of Tauranga.
Katikati is also commonly called mural Town for its handpainted streets!
‘Katikati has a two kilometre Haiku Pathway,’ he writes, ‘which is a one of its kind in the world.’ The entire walkway is filled with boulders inscribed with haiku poetry written by local and Australian poets.
Anil stayed at the Cotswold Lodge Countrystay which boasts large kiwi fruit and avocado orchards. Cost of stay is approx $NZ 150 – 165, which is pretty reasonable he says. However, there is also a backpacker lodge in the area which is around $NZ 20 – 30.
The town is filled with murals, sculptures and paintings that depict the history of the place.
And here’s what got Anil [and me!] really kicked about the place – Matakana Island, which is one of NZ’s most popular surfing haunts. Anil hitched a ride on a boat to get to the island, which was his only option. He also visited the inner harbour side of Matakana island on a guided tour of historic sites and bbq lunch.
His next stop was Waihi, half an hour from Katikati. It’s interesting to note that Waihi has got the richest gold mine in the world producing about a million dollars worth of gold and silver every week. Apparently there’s a tour of the open pits conducted on weekdays by the mining company, which sounds quite exciting. His next stop was at Paeroa [5km] where he spent just a couple of hours at the Bullswool Farm Park which is a pretty popular picnic spot with unusual rare-breed farm animals for company!
Anil’s NZ travels to be continued.