ui, why does time always pass so quickly…?

Starting off in Thames, from my last post:
With our shopping done we sat half satisfied on a bench along Polly St, the aparently “longest straight main shopping street of NZ”. Amanda didn’t find the right bikini nor a cheap enough fitting pair of sunglasses as the last 3$ one snapped in Miranda after just 3 days. And I didn’t find a cheap enough way to post a 3 kg bundle back home. NZ Post wants 60$ and no other freight company exist in this place.
The sun was throwing long shaddows when we had finished our sandwiches and packed up. With the fading light we left town. An old red 4WD stopped and a Nicolas Cage look-alike jumped out, he even seemed to have the same sort of humour and similar voice as we found out on our way to Waikawau Bay, in the north-east of Coromandel. His family owns a bach in nearby Little Bay where he was going to spend a couple days fishing, away from busy Auckland.

He dropped us off at the DOC campground right next to a surf beach.
The following night we hitched to Port Charles and continued to Stony Bay the next morning, where we got entertained by some amazingly tame ducks. From a DOC campground there the Coromandel Walkway links this roadend with the road to Fletcher Bay, providing magnificent views of the beautiful coastline. Fletcher Bay boasts another DOC campground along a sheltered sandy beach with big old Pohutukawa trees which are flowering in strong red at this time of the year. A bit further up the valley the easy going camp manager and local farmer Jim runs a tiny but cosy Backpackers. When we booked in only 3 goat hunters working for the DOC lived there…interesting charakters - I can tell you! We enjoyed having the first hot shower since Miranda and charged phone and camera. The next afternoon Jim lended us a seakayak and we paddled to the Tabletop Island near the bay. It was quite a struggle to keep the boat straight and gain distance as the wind, current and more over the fact that we hardly had the space to paddle together sitting in a 1-person kayak; keeping the rhythm evolved to a real problem.
On the island I showed Amanda the diverse sea fauna that can be found around the NZ coast. Kinas (sea urchins), different snails and mussels and I even managed to find a living Paua that I cooked up later that night - yummy. Did a bit of fishing as well and pulled out a butterfish.
As it was getting dark when we came ashore again we decided to camp another night at Fletcher Bay and hiked/hitched along the coast to Coromandel Town. After spending one night camping out of town we spend a day working on shell/paua jewellery and fled to the Tui Lodge backpackers when it got dark and started to rain, both of us didn’t fancy pitching the tent in the rain and last night’s spot was some kind of a dump anyway. Tui Lodge is a pretty cool place, you can use their bikes for free and everything is really clean and quiet. Went for a little bike trip around the harbour and did some shopping in town before we headed on to Whangapaou, where we found a beautiful sandy bay only accessable via a walking track.
Next day on to Whitianga; our last lift from Te Rerenga invited us to stay at his place in Whitianga. Thomas was an expatriate German chef who has lived in Coromandel for the last 6 years.
The following day I bumped into Amanda (not my one) and Jake who I knew from Darwin, Australia where I worked with Amanda’s boyfriend (now fiancĂ©) Dougie at the VIC. I had run into them in Whakapapa as they started working there shortly before I arrived on the mountain.
It felt as random as then when they came around a corner in their white little van and started waving crazily.
We were invited to their home in Kuaotunu where they share a nice green 2-bedroom house. We enjoyed a good feed with massive steaks and had “a few” beers. It was great to catch up with this fun gang of Aussies.
In the late morning Amanda dropped us back in Whitianga and the two of us spent most of the day around a table near the beach. That afternoon we went to the movies for “Harry Potter & the goblin of fire”. Was alright…
When we came out it was raining - and it wouldn’t stop till the next night!

The very short ferry (about 30m ?!) took us across the harbour. From Ferry Landing we walked through the rain till dusk and set up camp in the woods near Shakespeare Cliff. The whole next day was spent in my tiny tent, waiting for better weather and the opportunity to dry everything.

Hitched to Hahei and camped near the famous Cathedral Cove which we visited the next day.
That afternoon we managed to get a lift with a school bus out of Hahei back to the main road (SH25). An expatriate British girl gave us the next lift to Tairua. She said she would pick up every hitchhiker she saw to return the favour for all the lifts she received during her first 4 years in NZ when she didn’t have a car yet.

Short stop with buying snack supplies at the local 4Square + fish&ships at a take-away.
Yet another lift with 2 British travellers and their surf van to Whangamata. That place didn’t seem special enough for Amanda’s birthday the following day, thus we decided to try our luck getting to Tauranga (it was already 7.30 pm. We were double lucky with a lift to Waihi and another one with a cool Mauri couple to Tauranga city, arriving around 9.30 pm.
It took us a while to find some accomodation but finally settled into the Harbourside City Backpackers.
Moved to a nicer double at the Loft 109 Backpackers on Devonport St which was actually cheaper ($46 instead of $54 at the other) and we even had our own balcony! Cosy little place, too!
Amanda’s birthday didn’t really pass to her satisfaction… I just wasn’t able to make it special or romantic or anything…sigh :( … I guess it wasn’t very special to go shopping and take her to the movies. Even eating out didn’t turn out right, as we both slipped into an argument with starving stomachs before hand. I must be hopeless when it comes to romantic thinking… but hey, I can defend myself at least a little: Arrived so late in town, that I couldn’t prepare anything; no flowers, no special sugarfree, low-carb cake, no candles… I haven’t even found her a present - I wouldn’t just buy her anything, she deserves better :)

Anyway, yesterday was even less interesting! And now it’s getting late again and we still want to hitch out of town.
Off towards the East Cape! Then down the East Coast to Wellington and as I still have stuff in storage at a backpackers in Dunedin we need to make it down the south island before New Years, as my NZ visa will expire that day. We even had/have plans to get all the way up to Auckland to celebrate christmas with Amanda’s relatives… how all this is going to happen is kind of a mystery to me, as we are both soooooooooo slow…!

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