We stayed with Mark, a couch surfer host, kind of a old surfer (who doesn't surf). His house was BRIGHT purple and aqua on the outside, beautiful, spacious, and airy on the inside, and had a fantastic view of Doubtless bay.
Sunset view from Mark's house
In addition to being a cullenary genius (we had the best chillie and quiche ever.) he was a great tour guide! On our first day he took us up the Karikari Peninsula to some beautiful beaches. We had a couple of really good swims, and ate the most GIANT serving of chips (with a side of fish) for lunch at this little stand. The chips we ate became how we measured how strenuous an activity was, from that point forward. Mark would say "well that was worth one chip".
One of the many Amazing Views
Caryn and Mark on beach
Beach when it got cloudy
Alison's feet in Coca-Cola lake. Apparently the water is this colour because of peat moss!
On our second day, Mark took us up to 90 mile beach- this increadably long beach that you can drive on (side note: the 90 mile beach was named because when it was first discovered, it took a horse 3 days to walk up it, and a horse could go about 30 miles a day. However they did not factor in it would be more difficult for a horse to walk on a beach. The 90 mile beach is actually around 90 killometers long.) There was a fishing tournament going on and there were SO many fishermen.
After 90 mile beach we went to the sand dunes, which seriously made me feel like i was in a dessert. Ali climbed to the top, while Mark and i watched her from below.
Alison playing in Sand Dunes
After sand dunes, Mark took us to a few more awesome places- the light house, a look out onto white sand dunes, and then to a shop that makes beautiful furniture out of huge Kauri trees that are 50 000 years old.
View of Lighthouse
Signpost near lighthouse.
View of white sand dunes (don't they look like snow!?!)
In the Kauri store there was this GIANT tree in the middle and it had a spiral stair case carved in it. They had beautiful furniture in this store- but was quite pricey (the table i liked was a mere $30 000 dollars!)
After our day tour we went to the beach to get our supper! Thats right, we went hunting for Tua-Tuas, which are a type of shell fish. This was so much fun. We waded into the water, and buried our feet until we found some, then dove down and got them. Alison was a natural.
When we got back to Marks we learned how to make Tua-Tua fitters. I have never cooked shellfish so it was a learning experience. Mark was a great teacher. And our Tua-Tua fritters turned out great!
Here i am, steaming the Tua-Tuas
Ali chopping up the Tua Tuas for our fritters
After a couple days adventures with Mark we were off to the Coromandel. Staying with Mark was one of the highlights of our trip! He was awesome, friendly, and so welcoming. A great way to start our New Zealand trip!