Our Adventure to Kerikeri

Well where do I start.. I guess with the bike crash 5 min after we left. So, here's the deal, we decided we wanted a tent. We had gone back and forth on whether or not we wanted to bring a tent and ultimately decided we'd get one here if we really wanted one. Now that we are in Paihia there is nowhere nearby to buy a tent, the closest one we could find is in Kerikeri which is about 24.14km (15mi) one way. The reason we went with bikes was it's cheap, and it would allow us to see things along the way.
Our journey started with the purchase of the bikes for an "all-day" use for NZ$70. Each. Not too far out of town I went to get up on the curb and I went down. The entire impact was on my knee, tore right through my only pair of pants. David was right there cleaning me up. We also had a couple of Kiwi's stop over and make sure I was ok. David got me bandaged up and we decided to see the trip through.
We made our way up winding hills that turned into dirt roads and quickly we realized this was going to be tough. As we made it further along it began to rain on and off, but not too bad. Riding on the roads was a bit challenging, most of the time we had little to no space next to whizzing cars and trucks. But again, we managed.
We made it to Kerikeri extremely tired and worried about time. We grabbed some food at a Countdown (like a Grocery) and figured out our game plan. We went to the local fishing and hunting store and purchased really the only 2 person tent option they had for NZ$339.99. Much more than we had expected, but after that journey we WERE NOT leaving empty handed.
At this point we were thinking of every possible option to get back: We could head back the way we came, biking/walking; we could go as far as possible and tent, then head back in the morning; or we could try out hitchhiking. The trouble with hitching was, we had two bikes. David borrowed a Sharpie from the hunting and fishing store and some cardboard from the dump and wrote us a sign, "2 BOYS 2 BIKE PAIHIA". We gave that a go a few times in between biking and it did nothing. We decided it was best to just bike and walk as fast as we could before the sun went down.
After a long journey we made it back with an hour to spare before sun down. At lease we got our tent.
It was a crazy journey, and we learned so much.


Ethan M.

Volcanos and Cows

We had been walking since sunrise and the sunset approached. Our feet were sore from 16 miles of tread. But as we came closer to home we couldn't resist the pull of the mountain, it called to us. As we scaled the entrance it became clear it wasn't the peak, but the center that was the attraction. We had stumbled upon an errrupted volcano. It's time of excitement was many years past, it was now filled with grazing cattle.

No amount of miles cound've drained our energy to the point of avoiding the beauty of that place. 


Ethan M.

A Little Walk to Auckland

We indeed landed in Auckland, but we are a bit of a ways from the inner city. Our Airbnb is about 10 miles from where all the hub-bub is. In our effort to save money and sight-see we decided to walk. Yes, walk 10 miles. Now the thing is we have nowhere to be so our mentality is, "Why not walk"? And a walk it was. The best part was, we got to soak in so much! Speaking of soak, it rained, all day. It was also incredibly windy. But besides the weather, it was a gorgeous day. 

Once in the inner city the first most noticeable thing was the ups and downs. Of course at this point we had walked 9 miles so even a tiny hill was noticeable, but still. At some points you can look out over the tops of trees at the street on the other side. The next thing we noticed was the inclusion of trees and and smaller plants. You couldn't walk more than a half mile without seeing a park in the city. The plant life here is something that deserves a post of its own. 

Overall it was underwhelming. Our main purpose for going into the city was to get our transportation sorted out for Paihia and to open a bank account. The first was successful, the second… not so much. After some research we found out that we can just hop on a bus that will take us right to the Bay of Islands (Paihia). We bought the tickets which were about $30 US dollars each. We leave at about 10:15AM and arrive in Paihia at about 2:00PM. I'm so excited to get out of the "city" and into the more rural areas, but I'll talk more about that in a second. The banks! Ugh.. the banks… So, first of all, banks being closed on the weekend isn't just a US thing. We tried four times to find a bank called ASB, but every time we went to the location on Maps it was nowhere to be seen, apparently they're not meant for muggle eyes. Next, we decided to go with Kiwibank, but it's not open on the weekend. Defeated we decided to go with ANZ, the last bank of choice. We had went into an ANZ earlier but backed out wanting to go with ASB instead. We were further downtown at this point (mind you, we had walked about 14 miles at this point) so we approached a different branch than before… it was closed. Needless to say, we gave up. We're going to to tackle this bank thing in Paihia. 

The city was disappointing for a few reasons. One of the main reasons for coming to NZ was to get away from the madness of the westernized world. We want to live more simply, quieter, more beautifully. Cities don't offer that. Auckland was like any other city, crowds on sidewalks, honking cars (nowhere near as bad as Stamford, CT though), all the hustle and bustle one would expect. We only had one full day here and we're both happy it's so.

If I had one PSA so far, it would be ordering at Starbucks. I asked for blonde roast (first mistake) but they don't keep any blends on "tap", it's all made to order. I can only assume this is because coffee must not be ordered often. She proceeded to ask if I wanted milk in it, to which I replied, "I'll just add it in myself", mistake number two. I guess they don't keep milks and creams for you to add, they have to do it. Also, they don't use half&half, they don't even have it! So I asked for milk, she gave me 20 milk options, I just said "milk" again. I received my coffee a few min later with a cup of milk next to it. I'm going to use this trip as an opportunity to ween myself of coffee, wish me luck!

Until next time!

Ethan M.

NYC to TX

We walk out of the plane from NYC into the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and WOW! This airport is pretty swanky! We're surrounded by LED's and blue mood lighting coming from the massive skylines. Every single seat and bar is lined with iPads allowing you to order right off them and pay right there. Each restaurant is original, with food ranging from Mexican to Vietnamese, Italian to your standard Wendy's and of course Starbucks. But don't get me wrong, this Wendy's is brightly lit and swanky as well! Not to mention every single corner is booming with Devivlet Silver Phantom speakers! I know what some of you are thinking, "I don't know what those are…," take this chance to look them up! They run upwards to $3,000, its 4500 Wattz of intense power, reproduces music from 27kHz, going beyond the audible spectrum to the point where you feel rather than hear". Check them out on Apple.com under accessories.

Our final destination is about 15 hours away (insert gasp here) and soon we'll be telling you all about the NZ Airline and Airport!

Stay Cheeky Friends,
David M.