A 7am start to the day does not feel like it is getting any easier, but that was when the tour bus picked me up from the hostel. Once all the tourers has been picked up David, our driver/guide, gave us a brief run-down on what we'd be doing today.
Firstly, the trip is going to take between 11 and 12 hours. What!? We're going to be on the road for 11 or 12 hours? Where are we going? NZ isn't that big!
Okay, so we're going to see the Kauri forest in which a board-walk that was constructed for the Queen's visit several years back, stop for morning tea, drive to Cape Reinga (the northern-most point of NZ), lunch, drive to the sand dunes at the start of Ninety Mile Beach (which is really 64 miles long), sand tobogganing, drive the length of 90-Mile beach, ice-cream, drive to Manganui, have fush and chups ;-), then back to Paihia.
Phew! Sounds like a lot.
Well, that is pretty much what we did, but the time in each place was somewhat constrained simply due to how long it takes to get from Paihia to Cape Reinga. So the day felt more like a whirlwind tour, taking photo's to "look at later", and seeing so much but not really seeing anything at all. And I sorta got the impression that David has been doing this for so long that he'd lost his passion for it too, so that he was not so much entertaining as just informative. He knew his stuff alright, but the best guides I have experienced managed to get their charges involved and thus entertained. It was an interesting trip, but not one I would do again.