It's not possible, is it? Surely he's not going to try and compress the entire rest of the North Island into a week? And then one blog post?!
Hell yes I am. Look, there's so much to be said about the North Island that it actually makes it easier to generalise. What a blinding week this was. Charity cinema trips, cheese, roast dinners, sheep mustering, food festivals, comedy clubs - let's face it, you're looking at half a country here. More than half, population wise.
The high point for me here was almost certainly staying at Mt Huia farm stay for the night and going sheep mustering and cattle chasing the next day. Fantastic. A weekend on a New Zealand farm is a huge must-do. But the lakes are beautiful, the walks are challenging in places, the weather is…well, the people are nice and the driving is sweet. Although, when I was driving around it seems like every single main road - and I mean that literally - is being resurfaced. I've no idea how much time on my trip has been taken away by waiting for one bloke with a "Stop" sign to change it go "Go", but in places it felt like I lost a whole week to it.
It's a damn shame I didn't get to do the Tongariro crossing. But when one door closes another opens, and mountain biking through this country is a pain in the arse uphill, and then a bloody awesome downhill. I very nearly threw myself off a cliff in Tongariro National Park, but that's another story, one which I don't feel the need to tell the guy that rented me the bikes.
The North Island is alive with culture, and good timing (or forward planning, if you're a better person than I) can lead you into some excellent places to sample the vast number of cultures that have taken root in New Zealand, turning it into an international melting pot that culminates in Wellington, capital and cultural mecca. What a fun city. Of everywhere I've been so far, Welly certainly feels like it has the je-ne-sais-quoi that other cities in this country are missing - or maybe it's me that has been missing it.
Thanks to all contributors and Bluebridge for helping out with the ferry crossing with no stress whatsoever - good on all of you. Next stop - South Island, where I become a "Loopy" - the nickname given to the tourists who all drive the same route around the island. But then, there's basically only one road, so what can you expect?
Written by: Dan Castro
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Stay tuned for Dan's next BLOG!
The Mighty crew