Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Leaving Auckland

After checking out of the hotel, we went to visit long-lost rellies Danny & Marti, who live in North Shore. We walked down the road to the car hire pick-up spot and drove away in a new Corolla. We’d planned our route with meticulous care, so naturally took a wrong turn almost immediately on leaving the motorway, and took a rather circuitous route to their house. We found it eventually though, and met Danny and Marti. We chewed the fat over a cup of tea before heading off to the Northcote Tavern for a light lunch, then drove away north on SH1.

 …As, indeed, it seemed, every other bugger wanted to do at the same time. There comes a part in the SH1 when it turns from a 2-lane motorway into a one-lane road, and this caused a substantial tailback. Fortunately our hire car had Bluetooth so we were able to listen to the choons from my phone, until the traffic thinned out a bit. We branched off at Warkworth to find our next night’s accommodation, the Salty Dog Inn at Snell’s Beach. We checked in, dropped off our bags, and headed straight out again to go to Goat Island Marine Reserve, the reason for our visit.

Goat Island is famous for having some of New Zealand’s best snorkelling. It also had loads of people on this particular hot, sunny day in summer...no shit, Sherlock! If there were fish to be seen, they were keeping well out of reach. I did see one, and Nicola saw a plurality of fish, but I reckon you probably need to go there when it’s a bit less crowded to get the best experience. I think I’ll stick to the Great Barrier Reef in future for my snorkelling adventures.

That said, it was a nice drive and a pleasant beach, and the water wasn’t cold. After washing the sand from our shoes, we drove back to our accommodations for an evening meal in the Salty Dog and some beer and wine.

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