Aka, noisy in a campervan. Dawn was worth getting up for - but, of course, it ALWAYS is. The new day reminds that God's mercies are new every morning.
This trip is SUCH a privilege. I am very mindful of so many who can only dream of undertaking such travel - moving freely about from one place to another, stopping at whim whenever the fancy takes us, choosing wonderful 'camping' places in the spur of the moment...
I feel rather like Toad of Toad Hall: "`There you are!' cried the Toad, straddling and expanding himself...`There's real life for you, embodied in that little cart. The open road, the dusty highway, the heath, the common, the hedgerows, the rolling downs! Camps, villages, towns, cities! Here to-day, up and off to somewhere else to-morrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that's always changing!"
Spoilt, so appreciating every minute, every turn of the road, every new glimpse of amazing natural scenery...
So, off to Hot Water Beach. Within two hours of low tide, it is possible to dig a large hole in the beach just above the water line. Hot springs bubble up through the sand, almost scalding until they mix with the cooler sea water.
We set to work. First exercise of the day, digging our hole. A metal colander and bowl proved to be the perfect implements for the job.
It was amazing, sitting in warm water in the middle of NZ winter. The equivalent of the end of January in Europe. There were quite a few people on the beach... can't imagine it in summer!
Then we explored a former mining settlement in Broken Hills before ending up for the night freedom camping in Pauanui: a purpose built holiday resort, full of opulent homes. Here in winter, it had an eerie, deserted air. Pauanui, according to Lonely Planet, is "an upmarket refugee camp for over-wealthy Aucklanders – the kind who jet in and park their private planes by their grandiose beach houses before knocking out a round of golf... "
|Dolphins in the harbour|
|Campsite at Pauanui|
Yet, within minutes of arriving, we saw a stunning rainbow and a pod of dolphins playing near the harbour. This is a haven for the lovely New Zealand dotterell...and countless oyster catchers.