So the time had finally arrived when I was asked to go on a travel trip with greenpeace! I was stoked, apart from the fact that it collided with the time my mam was coming. Exact timing believe it or not... 3 whole weeks! After a lot of thought and planning, I had sorted it with my mam and boss that I would do the road trip for 2 weeks and in turn take a paid week of leave off to spend time with my mam. We were all happy! I had some time to show my mam around before I left and she had full use of my car while I was gone which would be great for her. My flat mate and friends offered to take her out and show her around which was super nice of them. Even though I felt terrible leaving, it worked out well for both of us and I would now be travelling the north island for two weeks ending in Matauri Bay with everybody else from GP for an annual weekend of cultural fun!
Jared and myself left Sunday evening with the door te who drove us to Auckland to pick up out van. After we got our hands on our awesome graffitied Wicked van, we set off to Mount Eden to pick up se GP bits and pieces before heading to Thames to spend the night before we started work the next day. Arriving at midnight, after driving for ages in the tail end of Cyclone Lusi, I randomly checked the roster once more only to realise it had been changed and we are now in Paeroa. Straight away we headed 30km back down to the place I was familiar with and stayed the night in our van. The next day we placed shamrocks on our faces and boppers on our heads for our day working in Paeroa before driving to Thames. It was by chance that we met a couple at the public BBQs down at the beach who offered us a place to stay... Their guest caravan. We ended up having some Paddys Day drinks with them back at their caravan nearby their house and admired the incredible 180 view of the ocean from the edge of the caravan that scarily sat on the hills edge. After heading into town for more drinks, we headed back later that night to stay in our van which was parked roadside by the caravan. It was a tad more hygienic lets just say. Oops!
Waking up the next morning to the beautiful view was priceless and we were just thankful to have had a place to crash without risking a 'freedom camping' fine! Common in the coromandel! We headed off to spend the day working in Thames which I loved! It was a beautiful town with a beautiful backdrop of lush Forrest and the people were super friendly. Braden then met us later on that day to join the team! It wasn't long before we hopped in the van, picked up some more groceries for a feed and headed off to Whangamata. This was one of the coolest little towns is seen in New Zealand so far and Jared thought the same. Work wise, the town was dead but it kept us occupied with it's strip of quirky shops and amazing beach! Jared loved it so much that he was adamant that he would move there. After a half day of working and a half day of sun bathing, we hopped in the van and headed off towards Auckland where we stated for the night in the van. The next morning we headed from Auckland to Orewa which was a pretty cute beach town with many Greenpeace lovers :)
We arrived in Orewa with a team of 3 and left with a team of 2! Jared had decided to end his time with GP! It was official, I had no street team, I was the original member and now the only member! But hey, onwards and upwards. Not letting it get us down, we spread the good greenpeace word around Orewa and then drove to Whangarei where it turned out the door teams were working! We met up with them, many who is met through training and working in Auckland previously, and some who would get to meet for the first time then! We met up wth them at their holiday park, had some beers, created some power animals for each other and called it a night! The next day after work, we went and cooked some yummy Thai curry wraps from the back of the van, down by the Whangarei falls. With full bellys we headed to the liquor store and then back to meet the 'doories' again. After a few drinks in town, a nice shower back at their holiday park and a few games of mafia, we headed to bed. We prepared to wake up early for a morning working at the markets. That afternoon we headed up to meet the team in Paihia, stopping off in Kawakawa home of the famous Hundertwasser toilets where we bumped into everybody! After a brief watergun battle we sipped on some beers as we headed up to the bay of Islands! Beautiful Paihia...!
When we arrived in Paihia, we headed to The Peppertree hostel which the team had booked. Us on the otherhand, being the street travel team, had out van for comfort! As luck would be, GP booked us in with the others for the night which turned out to be so much fun! We drank, played beer pong, sang and danced the night away in various bars before ending the night with a dip in the ocean right by our hostel. It was a frickin great night! I will however add that the owner of the hostel was a twat and even though the signs around the hostel stated 'no noise after 10:30/vacate by 11:30, we were told to quit beer pong at 8:40pm because people were trying to sleep above us! Take a run and jump Mr, it's a hostel not an old folks home! super annoyed we carried on for a bit longer and in no time her came back and warned us of an eviction. Note taken! The sign should have said 'Do not stay here of you wanna have fun!' .... Rant over! ;)
The following morning, after waking up with a headache and a room full of sand, I got myself ready for the day! Paddle boarding/kayaking we had planned! After a yummy Mexican breakfast, we headed to the beach to look for my lost watch, before going back to the hostel to watch a movie and chill. 2 movies later there I was plonked on the couch,with a blanket over me, eating fijouas and toast, with some of the others. It had been mentioned earlier by Sarah and Johan that they were keen to get tattoos and so the conversation started, and eventually ended with an appointment for 8 of us with a local Maori tattoo artist in Waitangi. It was 8pm by the time we rocked up at this lovely woman's house and well after midnight by the time we were all done. I guess! We had left after our tattoos were done in order to get back to Whangarei. We had all agreed over and over that this was 'the most spontaneous thing we'd ever done'. It was 7 of us Greenpeacers and a German girl named Fine :) The lovely lady named Paitangi was super cool and had a great array of wooden carvings she had done, dotted around the converted garage. She explained to us about her Moko- the tradition Maori tattoo on her chin, her experiences and herself as a person. It was a great experience to meet her and in would recommend anyone to go to her while in Paihia! She is also very affordable especially with group rates ;)
And did I mention what tattoo I got??? I decided on a random stickman on my ribs but instead of just giving the peace sign, like I had mentioned earlier, I got him in Warrior 2 yoga pose :) Pretty random i know! But when In Rome... Aka Paihia :) (with awesome people) So week two will consist of 4 days travelling around before venturing up to Matauri Bay on Friday for our epic annual Greenpeace shindig! This place, for anyone unaware, is the memorial place for the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior. I had visited there with Amy on our little road trip in January and here is a taster...
Pretty cool eh? So let's get going with a week two and bring on Matauri Bay in a few days!
Peace out world travellerz! xx