We slept soundly after our long trip to Cape Reinga, even Alex woke up after 7:00am. After the recent early starts we took our time getting ready as the sun shone across the verandah and through the windows our hostel.
Magnified by the glass the sun cooked the wooden table that we sat at for breakfast. It brought forth the wood's natural scent as spoons clinked in bowls and we chatted with some other travellers from Australia and Luxembourg.
After breakfast we set off to hike to the Haruru Falls, passing by the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the treaty between the Maori chiefs and the British Crown was signed in 1840, but the interpretation of which led to war at the time and on-going legal debate.
The dark gravel trail to the falls, quickly began to twist and undulate alongside the Waitangi river. The temperature changed from a dry warmth to a damp cool as the trail varied direction to take us closer to the river or further into the adjacent woodland. The gravel turned to clay whilst roots and rocks stuck out, inviting you to fall. In places fallen trees barred the way, causing us to step over and round them. All of this slowed us but we continued on to reach a wooden walkway that took us through a field of Mangroves. Only the dull rhythm of our footsteps against the walkway could be heard as the Mangroves twisted silently in the mud.
We heard the falls before we saw them, an increasing hiss of water as we turned a final corner. Seagulls fluttered about as the water tipped over the edge into the foaming white beneath. We ate lunch under a cool spray before turning back the way we had come. Once back to the trailhead, we rested in the warmth of the sun on a wide lawn that stretched down to the river.
In the evening we met up with our fellow Kiwi Experience travellers for Happy Hour burgers and beers in a nearby bar. We set to work on a game of Jenga and and were so industrious that the barmaid offered a mystery shot to whoever eventually knocked it down. Tension was high and as it came to Alex to pull out another block it appeared it would be he drinking the shot. Yet somehow, as the tower tilted and turned, he managed to get his block out without toppling it over. It swayed as if held together by air itself and came crashing down after Pierrick barely touched it. The barmaid came over with a shot of what looked like vomit and Pierrick duly downed it in one. Afterwards the barmaid informed us that the shot included baileys and lime (which curdled the baileys) as well as Tabasco sauce and rum. Pierrick was ok but didn't help himself by having to run back to bar after he realised he'd left his wallet.Read more