This morning we once again woke up in Auckland and like last time, we stayed at Nomads. During the last few days some of the girls and I have bonded, forming a nice little squad - Myself, Ellie (UK), Joan (Northern Ireland), Amy (UK), Faith (US), Megan & Michelle - also known as the M&Ms (Wales) so we all shared a room together.
Auckland is one of the main starting points on the Kiwi Experience Tours, therefore, the busses leaving this stop are a lot busier than others. We have also been told that this is the busiest summer Kiwi Ex has ever experienced, resulting in most of the busses being fully booked, extra busses being added and people being put on ‘stand by’ (this essentially means that you don't have a guaranteed seat on the bus and are added to a waiting list in the hope that a place will free up).
As this is the start of the ‘Core’ tour of the North Island, we were once again bombarded with information and clipboards to complete for the accommodation, transportation and activities for the upcoming days. Our new bus driver (Dallas) then filled up the rest of our time on the bus with a pretty decent playlist and random facts about the places we drove passed. After a few hours of driving we finally arrived to our next stop - Hot Water Beach.
On arrival I was pleasantly surprised by our accommodation. Instead of staying at a Hostel we were staying at a beach resort, with the option of ‘Glamping’ in large tents with fold out beds. The girls and I opted for a normal room and once again shared. The resort is situated about a 10 minute walk from the popular tourist spot that is Hot Water Beach (which also gives the town it’s name) so having put our bags away and our bikinis on, we headed down to the beach.
Due to the local volcanic activity, the water under some areas of the beach is very hot. This means that if you dig up holes in the sand you can create small ‘Hot Tubs’ to sit in. By the time we arrived in the early afternoon, the beach was very busy with people working away with their shovels. Although the beach is very long the area you can dig up is quite small, therefore, it gets quite crowded. Instead of slaving away digging up holes, the girls and I took advantage of the pools which had already been dug up…to my shock horror it is called HOT water beach and not Tepid water beach for a reason! I may as well have poured water straight from the kettle on to my legs! After a few minutes of jumping up and down on my scolded feet, we ventured into the sea. We had been warned by Dallas that this isn't a beach you can swim in (someone actually drowned on this very beach yesterday) and it is easy to see why, the current was extremely powerful and the waves were huge!
The activity the girls and I had signed up to do at this stop was Kayaking, so at 3:00pm we headed back to the hostel ready to be picked up by the minibus. We were driven 15 minutes away to a nearby beach and were greeted by our two Kayaking instructors…Shaun and Chris who, with their sculpted figures, bronzed skin and blonde surfer dude hair were enough to make the trip enjoyable. Once we were given an introduction to kayaking and showed what to do, we paired up into tandem kayaks and adventured out into the sea. At first the kayaking seemed easy, fun, relaxing even….this soon changed after 30 minutes of rowing against the waves. I have the upper body strength of a T-rex, so it didn’t take long for my arms and shoulders to start aching. A few of the people in the group also started to suffer from sea sickness and were given ginger by the instructors which turns out to be a natural remedy. Thankfully the weather was stunning and the views even more so, making it easier to keep the spirits high. We continue to row, willing our arms to move whilst soaking up the scenery…only 3 more hours to go.
We took a few breaks along the way, but I must admit, it was a pretty long trip especially for those (like myself) who hadn’t used their shoulder muscles in….well ever. We eventually made it to a small secluded beach where our models errrr I mean our instructors made us hot drinks on the beach.
As I sipped on my Mocha made by the half naked Adonis who had expertedly guided me to this small piece of heaven, I was feeling pretty smug about my small physical achievement and rather satisfied with how I had spent my Monday. Once we had all finished our drinks, we kayaked around the corner where we were once again picked up by the coach and taken back to the resort.
Today marks the first week that I have been away from home and so far New Zealand has been nothing other than spectacular, luckily, I have another 4 weeks to enjoy this beautiful country!