For the first time in a few years Guy and I actually went somewhere other than a friend's house for New Year. While I'm all for going to a friend's house on New Year's Eve (a BBQ, Singstar...what more could you really want?) it was nice to go somewhere I've never been before.
Originally I was going to just go up to Auckland and hang with Guy for a few days at his parents' empty house where he wanted to stay and look after Hercules (the golden retriever who was originally Guy's dog but has become the family dog since Guy moved down to Wellington 4 and a half years ago) while his parents holidayed in Nelson. But when some friends invited us to join them camping in Northland and Guy was really keen to go I thought, 'Camping. Not the biggest fan but I'll give it a go. Northland. Cool, I've never been up past Auckland' (well not that I can remember - apparently Mum, Dad, and I stayed in Paihia for a while when I was a baby but really, does that count?).
What I didn't realise at the time was just how much land there is past Auckland! It took us 7 hours to drive to Tapotupotu Bay (including a slight detour to drop Hercules off at a kennel outside Kaitaia) which is really beautiful and has a wonderfully maintained DOC camping area right on the beach.
(You can't see the collection of tents and campervans in this photo as they're tucked away to the right, out of sight from the top of the hill)
Surprisingly enough, I endured the cold showers (they didn't feel so cold after being in the sea which was freezing - I only went in it twice for about 30 seconds, first thing in the morning to help wake me up). Luckily enough, the spot our friends who had arrived earlier had claimed was close to the flushing toilets, not the long drops (super super bonus!). And the canned meals and mosquito bites (that are still plaguing me nearly a week later) were worth this:
The view from our tent.