After we broke down and got a new set of wheels we headed inland to Rotorua. It's one of the most active thermal regions on the planet. Hot mud pools, hot springs, and the Pohutu Geyser. It's quite a sight, only downside is it smells of sulfur (steamy rotten eggs) throughout the whole area. We only spent the day in Rotorua.
That evening we cruised north of Auckland and pirated a campsite in Orewa in front of a little cove beach. Got up the next morning and headed to Mangawhai Heads. Mangawhai Bar is an open ocean bar at the mouth of the estuary. It's a long paddle across the channel, and a long walk for the camera-woman... :)
It was a LOT more fun than it looks from the photos. The right is a shortish steep bowly drop that reforms into a bit of a wall on the inside before peetering out in the channel. The left is really long and fast, but the swell angle was wrong this day and it was mostly too fast to make, basically a beautiful closeout with a few corners.
Here a few from the lefts up north. The good left I surfed was way out on the headland. That stretch of left points starts at Supertubes and runs through Mukie's 2 and then Mukie's 1. The waves were really quite good, very fast and steep. I rode the 4GF Standard and was very happy with it's performance. I got quite a lot of comments from the peanut gallery on the speed and "interesting technique", no one in the water had seen anything like it, except for the one guy who said," I haven't seen that since Greenough in Crystal Voyager. I used to watch it over and over in college". I also got a few comments on Tatum's riding and just the fact that she was out in a real swell.
We camped in the traditional Maori grounds inside Wreck Bay and must say a big thanks and huge respect to our hosts. They were friendly, humble, gracious and generous with all that their land has to offer. The day after Christmas we got up and Tatum and I went to Sandy Bay, Mike's local for some saltwater to wash off the hangover. I had a bodysurf while Tatum rode her mat. After i was feeling better I ran in and grabbed the camera and shot her getting a bunch of fun ones to the beach. She got stink-eyed by a couple of local longburgers who could barely surf (Mike had to go to work so he wasn't with us), but she just laughed at them and kept charging.
We camped at Mangawhai on Christmas Eve, and Christmas morning we packed up and drove up the coast a bit to Mike's in Whangarei. We watched his kids open presents and drank beers from noon til midnight, talked story, laughed, ate like kings, and generally caught up like we had known each other for years. They took us in like family, fed us incredibly well, let us shower, and sleep in the driveway. Until we got to his house, it hadn't felt like Christmas at all, but as soon as Ollie and Max started ripping through presents we felt right at home.
The truck driver is Mike's younger son, Ollie. Future charger.
This is all for now. As soon as we get back, Tatum and I are packing up the camping gear and heading south to post up in the Yamba area for a while. Hope to get some waves at Noisy Ocean and some of the other North Coast points.
In the words of our Maori hosts, "Chill brah, all good brah, Go Hard Brah!"