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Driving through the countryside in the North was really amazing. In the sunshine, everything looks almost photoshopped! The greens and blues are more vivid, there doesn't seem to be a tree, or cow, or house that looks out of place. It really is picture perfect.
On the second night we managed to stay for free at a roadside rest area, and met this other couple who were also heading north, so we decided to go to Taupo Bay together. This was a really small fishing/surfing village (and when I say really small, I mean about 10 houses) with this amazing beach. Tony saw the opportunity to do a spot of fishing finally, so he got to it straight away. It was actually pretty windy and a bit chilly that day, even though the sun was quite warm. So we were sat in our little chairs on the beach all wrapped up! Typical... Afterwards we were recommended this 'world famous' fish and chip shop in Mangonui, so we stopped off there for a bite. It was pretty good, although Tony said that the one on the Isle of Wight was just as good if not better...and it wasn't as big as the portions you get in England either. Still, it was right on the waterside and the fish itself was really tasty.
|Taupo Bay (with Tony fishing in the distance)|
The next day we wanted to get on and see Cape Reinga before the possibility of more rain, so we packed up and went on our way.
|Tapotupotu Bay - The Northernmost campsite in New Zealand|
|The Meeting Point between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean|
|Lighthouse at Cape Reinga|
Next we went to Mangawhai Heads, another small beach town on the East coast of Northland, not far from Auckland. Tony was determined to try and actually catch some fish that we could eat (having only caught a bonito which they use for bait over here), so we stopped off at a local fisherman's shop where he was persuaded by a lovely shopkeeper to buy a new rod. He did get it for a really good price, and the shopkeeper (Darryl!) told us where we could park up and camp for free as well, and right on the beach.
After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, including catching one bonito, battling with seagulls who were trying to eat his bait, and then actually catching a seagull (he had to put his jacket over it to stop it flapping and remove the hook from its beak!! - I was pissing myself it was too funny), he finally managed to catch a Kahawai. This is a local New Zealand/Oz fish and it was much bigger than the little bonitos he'd caught before.
|Tony with his first proper catch!|
|Me cooking up the fish (I am not drunk, although I do look it...)|
|Token arty photo of rocks and the sea in Black and White|