Any readers that have possibly maybe even just considered looking at my blog more than once, could have seen a post from just last year, when I celebrated my 21st+11th birthday. As this was last year, obviously i’m no longer in my youthful twenties and i’m well into adulthood. Let me take you on a lil journey to show you how I celebrated, for those that don’t really care, there are some of my usual photographic gems in here, so just take a look at them instead. If you wanna like, no pressure or owt.
This being my fourth time in New Zealand, it could be a little shocking to some that i’m still not completely well travelled around my new home turf. So what better way to spend my turning of age, than a wee trip around somewhere new – The East Cape. Booking myself a return coach seat, some accommodation and a spot for my backside on the East Bro bus, I grabbed my hankie, tied it around a stick, and off I went, to age.
The celebrations began on the Wednesday, as I skipped out of work at 4:30pm, knowing I wouldn’t be seeing the ol’ eye candy for six days, I got ready to head home, pack my satchel and set my alarm for a daft hour on a non-work day. Flash forward to the next morning, 7:30am (!) and i’m en route to Rotorua, to spend the day, so it would seem, sitting in the park, in the sunshine, just me and my book. Brilliant. Day one of my holiday was going quite well, and with a comfortable room in the YHA to slip in to after my visit to the Maori concert and feast, I was looking forward to what was in store for the remainder of my balloon free birthday!
Friday woke me with the aid of beautiful sunshine burning through my eyelids, so I waited for the annoying room mate to head out (I couldn’t get stuck in another two hour long conversation about how mayzen her home turf in Wales was. Lies) before I showered, changed, packed up and treated myself to my final breakfast as a young 32 year old. Letting a few hours pass with my book in the sunshine, with a conversation with a local hobo thrown in, lunch time soon arrived, and I was off to meet my travelling family! Germans. The majority of them, were Germans. Standard!
I picked the worst seat of the bus on day 1, and learned pretty quickly to not sit on the back seat of a packed mini bus in the Summer months! However, whilst seated there I managed some great, comical, conversational time, with two fellow poms. As predicted, both very much, as was 99% of the bus, younger than me.
Here’s a quick summary of day 1:
From Rotorua, we headed East (obvs) to Gisborne. Driving past lakes, beaches, views – stunning views. First ‘tourist’ stop, Te ara ki te tairawhiti. The pathway to the sunrise to those that don’t speak kiwi yocal. Here we saw two awesome carvings looking out across the ocean. These carvings represent the arrival of the Maori people to Opotiki, highlighting the togetherness of the races – Europeans and Maori.
Next stop, Waioeka Gorge. After recently watching the latest Reese Witherspoon movie, Wild, I couldn’t help but think of this. The images before me just screamed that movie. Hectares upon hectares of native forest.
Throw in a wee supermarket stop, and checking out some of the statues of Captain James Cook and Nicholas Young, and we’d arrived at our abode for the eve. A lovely homely home with our own beach just across the road.
The evening was my fave, watching the sunset from a small yet private beach, a cuttle of beers and the continuation of great convos with some new pals. I clicked pretty quickly with a very young lad (22) from the Scottish Isles. Upon our final day of the trip, it was brought to my attention that everyone thought I was after him. A cougar and a man eater apparently, that’s me, hmm. He is a top lad, but I wasn’t on this trip to find a rape victim, so I was happy with the 4 days of just laughter in which we did partake, in the masses.
The numbers dwindled as the night went on, and before you knew it, my watched showed me it was past midnight. To which I was treated to a lil rendition of Happy Birthday. Bless um. I obvs had to help them out when it came to my name mind you. Then, showing my age, but stating it was the fact we had an early start ahead of us for the sunrise, I went off with the aforementioned wee lad to check out the magnificent stars that seemed so close to our heads…then I hit the bunks.
Day 2: MY ACTUAL BIRTHDAY!! I’m 33, honkidy honk honkers! Alarm, and fellow lodge mates, waking me at 5:45am, I threw on my spectacles and a hoodie and headed down to the beach…for what can only be described as a stunning flippin sunrise. The first in the world of that day to be precise. A birthday to remember was being created.
At 7:30am, I headed back for a shower, to repack and at 10am, as you do, a bunch of us went off to enjoy some wine tasting! Cheers ta *chink chink*.
Next stop, for those that were brave enough, a leap, a dunk and a tough swim, off the longest pier in New Zealand – Tolaga Bay Wharf. The ocean, I swear, just went on and on… I didn’t get in it, being a non swimmer, that would have just been uber daft. Instead I was filmmaker Sambo catching all the others dare-devilling away.
Getting back on board our minibus, one final touristy stop at Tiki Tiki Memorial Church. I’m not a religious person, and find myself quite hypocritical stepping in to a church and admiring it’s individual beauty, so I wasn’t in there long, instead, stepping outside to admire more of the views that this country just don’t give up on offering.
A group BBQ, with us all chipping in, got us together for a good feed, some great conversation and a fab group spirit! An evening on the beach with a bonfire was the only way to spend such a fantastic birthday. Thank you birthday fairies, another one I will cherish until I get too old to even remember my own name.
Day 3: It started with us all up being set to go, but our driver slept in, shoddy workmanship really. Nah, all good, another fun day was in store!
Saying that, first of all it was trekking the some 700+ steps up to the East Cape Lighthouse. Here I discovered, man i’m unfit! As much as I can walk for miles and kilometres each day (my Fitbit confirms this), steps and up a hill, yeah, my lungs did not appreciate this. Not to mention my perspiring pours. Swines. However, once up t’top, it were a pleasant view I tell ‘ee. Again, another look out to never ending water supplies.
Another walk followed, this time down hill. Easier you’d think, hmm, in jandals and down a cliff edge, not that easy. Oh, and the rain had started, so that meant the leaves were deadly slippy and well, our life was in our own hands. Getting down to the beach, I think we all hopped on the minibus pretty quickly, we needed to park our backsides down sharpish. The late night shenanigans and early morning rises were taking their toll. I may have been up there in the ranks of the oldest on the bus, but I was the only one that didn’t nap during the travel times. Winner!
Time for some refreshing gluten free ice cream at the Nut House at a macadamia nut farm. One of my fellow trip takers and I got conned out of a small fortune by purchasing some very overly priced nuts and clusters from the shelves. Only to be given a free supply of the darn nuts in question when seated with our ice cream. Mugs. We are both yet to finish our purchases, saving them for special occasions.
The accommodation this night, bloomin marvellous. Te Kaha Lodge. Two words, hot tub. Along with another beach bonfire and a cuttle of beers. Giggles were had, memories made. For sure.
Day 4: the final day of our trip, sad times.
Bidding the kittens we befriended a farewell, we set off to the township of Opotiki. A quick coffee and a farewell to one of pals, that was it, back to Rotovegas we did head.
We got back to Rotorua around lunch time, and had a bit of a mooch around. Including getting caught in a mahoosive downpour. Nothing a few beers in the evening wouldn’t sort out! Such a fab evening, with just three of us staying out til the early hours of the morning…including our driver. Fun times indeed.
The trip had come to an end, I spent my next day at Hobbiton (seperate post dropping shortly) and managed to give my East Capers a wave off as I arrived back, just in time for them to continue with their Stray tour, heading south. A chilled afternoon (with a cold developing), I hung out in the hostel with my book, free wifi and before I knew it, it was time to hop back on the Naked Bus and head home, to Auckland.
Is this what adulthood is really like? If so, I kinda like it, I like it a lot! Until next year my lil poppets xxx