Note A note to clarify what this is and where it’s going, because background is always important. I sent a letter to the editor in chief, calling his writing whimsical. He was surprised but took it, at least in part, as a compliment. Therefore, I backtracked and challenged myself to write something of whimsy. I thus hope that this article is airy enough, through the winds of change and time, to meet this flimsy goal. SF
I had spent some months tramping about with a tent and enough clothes to have one full outfit clean, one outfit dirty. I had spent this time freewheeling, with occasional money troubles, and I was now accustom to a way of living that could be best described as a dirty edge; I could have been more refined but to get to the brash, brutal side, that I really wanted to see, you needed to get your hands dirty, and with that came a whole load of soul.
Souls which finish their journey back at the top, at Cape Reinga; the jumping off point for all dead spirits. This was also my departing point as I made my journey back home after a year on the road. It was not however, my Underworld as the Maori word Reinga dictates. But to draw a better comparison, with old local customs and myself, this was where the Maori first landed, and fittingly depart off from again to the next expedition.
Still after spending an enjoyable, if at time shaky, two months in wine country, I was ready to move on. After such a slow pace of traveling through the south island I shot up the North Island, happy not to rely on the kindness of strangers to decide exactly where I was headed. So I went with the luxury option and booked a coach to ferry me to my next road trip.
The journey up to the most northerly point, as in most cases, always takes longer than you think. I was traveling this time, with a childhood friend Ant who had been all around there before, but was happy to do ‘all the touristy stuff again’. A small strip of one leg was burnt from my short shorts, carefree and idiotic once more, I was less comfortable than I should have been. More importantly though is the lesson that short shorts always burn you at least in one way...
We had stayed in small towns going past the Bay of Islands, on our meandering journey up there, taking our time as we wiggled round the windy roads. Past Sheep, more Sheep, Sheep World, pink sheep, a couple of cows, then more sheep. I was particualy interested in Sheep World as it had become a running joke, and I was very interested in getting “a unique insight into how we farm our sheep in New Zealand”(TM SheepWorld). I am always interested in finding what is unique about a place. However, I have now found Sheep Worlds now in Devon and Germany, and I was bitterly disappointed when researching) to hear that the capitalist system had cloned (like Dolly) such a beautiful and unique way to celebrate sheep.
The repetition of sheep and farm-scape was reinforced along the windy roads, reminding me of the rolling hills of Sussex coming up the coast, until we hit some bold, brash wind scapes of Ninety Mile Beach. This gave me a sense of the differences between the North and the South. The North, perhaps not as majestic and bold as the south, but smaller and more understated beauty. However, from my experience, the cape and Fifty five miles of beach (that make up the Ninety miles of beach) was the exception that proved the rule. After arriving at Ahipara, another tiny town nestled at the start of the fifty five miles of beach, we caught our first glimpse of the golden yellow sand stretching far out into the distance, with strong ripping waves tumbling to the shore in timely fashion. A half hour of being sucked in and then spat out, rinsing and repeating, on a well-used body board and I had had my fill. At least for the day.
As with many well-known tourist spots, the actual attraction was much less than my sky high expectations for the end of a road and the sea. Perhaps the fault of the new-fangled metal road, tourists were everywhere, lining the safety conscious red asphalt. The scenery was beautiful, with the main attraction, especially for myself, being the meeting of the Tasman sea and the Pacific ocean. Crashing together ferociously, sending gnarly white foam amongst waves that could drown the most hardened seaman, not 100m from the shoreline. This was juxtaposed with the chubby tourists, of which I do not count myself, waddling and meandering down the pristine path waiting in line to take photo’s next to the brine battered lighthouse (this I do include myself in...).
I have come to realize that it is certainly much more about the journey than the destination. My journey was relatively short, and I have missed out much more than I could ever mention. However, it was a journey nonetheless and it was a perfect destination to end my time in New Zealand, at least for the moment...
In his own words:
Sam is a Economics graduate, who is 23 and resides in Sussex. He still wants to be a spaceman when he grows up.