If only every morning could start with a walk on the beach. And I must admit it was a well-deserved walk on the beach because the night before we had the great cicada battle. We managed to let a couple dozen into our quaint beach house and spent an hour hunting them down one-by-one and smashing them with the New Zealand equivalent of People magazine. We prevailed and were able to go to bed sans bugs.

We did a lot of driving today starting by heading north to 90-mile beach. It was a nice sunny day and we had a good view of the long sandy stretch of beach.

Being Sunday and driving through very small towns, there was not a lot of action or selection of eateries but we did find a cute cafe. Guess what it was called? No dear readers, it was not the Waterfront Cafe. It was the Waterline Cafe. I had a BLAT (bacon. lettuce, avocado, and tomato) sandwich. As you can see from the photo, they don’t mess around with their bacon.

We crossed a river on a vehicle ferry and then purchased our first tank of gas. $124 NZD for 63 liters which equates to $82 USD for 16.5 gallons or $5/gallon. At dinner, we were informed this is cheap. You youngsters may not remember this, but there was a day when you were trusted to pump your gas before paying for it. We have gone back in time in New Zealand.

Next ,we drove to Arai-te-uru Recreation Reserve to look at some really big sand dunes and more beautiful beach and ocean. At the parking lot, members of the Lions club watch the vehicles to ensure tourists aren’t robbed. The towns up north are smaller and the locals depend on the tourist trade, so the Lions help ensure it is a positive experience. This is another fact we learned from our friendly dinner mates.

It was sunny and 82 at the beach. We then drove 15 minutes to the forest where it was raining and 68 degrees. We saw New Zealand’s largest living kauri tree Tane Mahuta. It was very impressive.

Now here’s where things got interesting today. Have you ever read those stories about the people who drive into the desert and die because their GPS told them to? We took a shortcut that put us on a 50km gravel road. I wasn’t too concerned about dying of thirst or starvation as it was raining and we surrounded by lush greenery, turkeys, goats, cattle and sheep, but we will probably stick to the paved roads for the remainder of the trip. Sadly, the gravel road did not offer any gelato shops.

We are staying at the Lupton Lodge in Glenbervie tonight. This is our first B&B. It is run by a nice young couple. Our dinner companions were the director of the Auckland Museum and his wife from the UK and a couple that had just arrived from Idaho. Good company and lots of advice for tomorrow’s adventures.

Morrocan lamb and rice for me and steak & ale pie for Shawn

Daily ratings:
Waterline Cafe – 3 Kiwis
Lupton Lodge – 5 Kiwis

Steps taken = 2,641
Kilometers traveled on a gravel road = way too many