Melanie and Cathy's travels to Australia and New Zealand (and now Cathy in South East Asia too!) 2005/6 travel blog

Scary maori fella

village where the movie "Whale Rider" was filmed

The whale rider

The film props are still there


Our lunch spot


I'm on a horse! Look, that's its head!

Mel and Chelsea on horseback

A great way to see the scenery!


Tricia did it too!

Me and my partner (Brownie)


In the local 'swimming pool'!

Cathy is a little dubious!

What am I demonstrating?

A kid up a tree - their equivalent of a diving board!



We've obviously found a warm spot!

Up really early in preparation for our surfing lesson with Magoo. Pk, Cathy and I went in the first session with Toby. We were kitted out with wetsuits (mine was quite possibly a child's one and it stopped at the knees - reckon that's why I had so many bruises!) and boards and were driven to the beach by Riccardo (Swedish). His car is probably the scariest I've been in. It screamed at us the first time he tried to start it and it had no fuel, and was generally a rustbucket. Riccardo, on the other hand, is cute as. Total surf dude. Long blonde hair, driving in bare feet... When he parked at the beach the car had no sooner stopped (radio still on!) and he was sprinting up the steps to the lookout to see what the surf was like. So cute!

The surf lesson was SO much fun! I think I've found my sport. I fell off loads and have some excellent bruises to prove it! BUT I was the only one who stood up (Pk claims she stood up as well but there were no witnesses!) I did it more than once and for longer than a second! Woohoo! I came away exhausted and bruised... but a very happy girl!

We arrived back at Surf Chalet and had showers and got organised to leave. It was now that we realised that the East As tour was going to be relaxed and chilled. We were supposed to leave at 11am and it was 12 before we managed it. And it was Jerry's fault we were late - he went surfing! We really were on East Coast time!

We drove along the coast (looked a bit like home but with sunshine) to Whangara, the home of Paikea, the Whale Rider. There was a film made here and there were still props able to be seen in the town.

We stopped for lunch in Tologa Bay. In an Irish pub (Jerry said this was because of the Irish presence on the bus - we rule!) We had time to walk along the beach. It was nice to get our feet wet (and some - I got attacked by a sweeper!)

Later we drove through Ngati Porou country where we had beautiful views of Mount Hikurangi and the Waiapu river. It was a lovely scenic drive and Cathy and I made it memorable for Jerry and Rachel. We spent the entire tour laughing, giggling and dancing behind them on the front seat. Lots of fun!

We arrived at Eastenders Farm Stay in Rangitukia in the afternoon. We were booked in for a two and a half hour horse trek and we were slightly dubious seeing as we were already sore from the surfing. It was a roasting day and the horse trek was hard going. It didn't help that Cathy and I got the slowest horses in the entire group. Mine was called TipTop (Cathy's was Brownie). Our guide, Reg, only had one arm and a hook for the other!

After the horseriding we went with Jerry and Rachel to the local 'swimming pool'. It was part of a river. It had a tyre strung up to a tree and Jerry and a local kid took it in turns falling in from great heights. Rachel jumped from the edge while Cathy and I floated gracefully. Pk sat on the bank and was official photographer. Afterwards we went back to the farm and had a Hungi for dinner - traditional Maori way of cooking food- underground. It wasn't as nice as the one we had in Rotorua but edible all the same.

Pk and Cathy did some bone carving. I did the dishes and then sat round the logfire chatting with the rest of the group until my eyes couldn't stay open any longer.

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