This has been a very short night. The room was warm, the air bad and outside was much of noise. I couldn’t sleep at all. That is why I went totally crazy: I stood up at 4:15 an checked out at 4:30.

My plan for today was to get the car I rented at the airport around 10 and then to drive up to Paihia in the Bay of Islands. Maybe I can get the car earlier. First I have to get to the airport. There is a 24/7 bus from the city center and the stop is only a few hundred meters away. A small walking tour early in the morning. When I arrive at the bus stop, one bus is leaving, which means I have to wait 15 minutes. When the bus arrives, I enter and want to buy a ticket – they don’t accept money or card payment. I have to buy on the website. Which I tried, but the bandwidth of the homepage is used up. The driver tries to tell me, that I need the bus WiFi… he didn’t get that it is not my internet connection that is wrong. He lets me in and try. Two stops further, a woman enters the bus with the same problem – homepage down.

In the end, I got the ride for free, because the bus couldn’t wait for me getting money. I will not complain about that. :) 17 NZ$ saved.

The AVIS booth at the airport is temporary unmanned, I have to wait 10 minutes. And I get my car. Without any problems or unreasonable payments that AVIS told me about (like a 3000 NZ$ deposit). Easy going and I have the car 5 hours early at the same price.

My Toyota Corolla for the next 8 days
My Toyota Corolla for the next 8 days

My car is 2 minutes away on the parking lot. A white Toyota Corolla. A nice car and I manage not to get in on the wrong side. Using my mobile phone and Waze to plot the way to the next stopping point. It is dark, I am a little bit tired and I have to concentrate the first 15 minutes to stay on the left side of the street. Not a problem at all. And after some turns I manage to actually NOT activate the windscreen wiper but the indicator. :)

Calling home to use some of my 200 included minutes to Germany that I have on my prepaid card. Never called someone 18.000 km away.

Driving along the SH1 towards my goal. First to Orewa, but not much to see here. The sun is just rising. The SH1 is closed due to an accident, so I try the coastal route, which at one place also is closed. It sends us back to the SH1 that still is closed, even if I already am further north. I should take the SH16. How the heck should I know, where that is. :) The “guard” manages to get me and a car full of non English speaking Chinese a lead car. The driver knows the way. The rest of the drive is just straight ahead, with a little detour in Kawakawa to get to Pahia.

Morning mood at the coast
Morning mood at the coast

Paihia seems to be the most popular retreat around Easter. Full of people and I checked just for fun, there is no accommodation to get here. Luckily I have booked my night at the hostel here and the next two nights an AirBnB in Kawakawa.

Russel beach
Russel beach

The hostel is found. Nice hostel with own bathrooms for every room. Putting my stuff away and take a walk down to the town center. A lot of people here and a lot of activities you can chose from. Tours by boat, bus, ferry, kayak, paragliding, whale and dolphin cruises, fishing… a lot. I chose the passenger ferry to Russel for only 12,50 NZ$ return.

Beach in Paihia
Beach in Paihia

Russel is the first settlement on New Zealand and the first “capital” before that was moved to Auckland. Now it seems to be a very popular holiday town with a small promenade along the beach. Not big and in a way cosy. I was told the view from the flagstaff is great. So I start waking uphill. Theis also a geocache up there, that I want to get. :)

View from flagstaff mountain in Russel
View from flagstaff mountain in Russel

Quiet a steep climb up there. Taking a break in the middle and finish the last stairs. All the people p there are cheaters. They took the car to the parking lot, 65 meters from the flagstaff. But I did the walk! :D And the view is nice up here. The geocache is a fast find and log and after some more photos I climb down again, to get to Russel and back to Paihia and the hostel.

Walking a little bit around town in Paihia, shopping some water and snacks. At the hostel, I don¨t do much more. Reading a little bit, looking up what to do tomorrow and charging most of my electronics. And I fall asleep very early (the day has been long from 4 in the morning).

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