Friday, March 27, 2015

Back on the Mainland

Our last day on The Barrier could be considered a half day . We weren't due out until mid afternoon but with a couple of hours drive ahead, we pretty much had to leave as soon as we were up and fed.

We had the good fortune of being able to borrow Mum's car to take off island and down from Auckland to Wellington so we had to take the slow ferry back; about a 5 hour ride, leaving out of Port Fitzroy (an area of the island I forever want to call Fort Pitzroy).

After eating, packing the car with our stuff and some basic camping supplies and stopping by the school to say goodbye to Mum we were off towards the next part of our adventure, traversing the Mainland, or at least the North Island which to those on the Barrier is considered the Mainland.

Upon arrival at the Port, we parked up with an hour or so to kill and went in search of a place called The Hub. We'd been recommended by Mum to stop there for a burger and she'd heard that they had the best burgers on the island there.

We found it right by the launch. It was basically just a serve - over counter with a grill and deep fryer inside. The recommendation was a good one, the place did a pretty solid burger for us each with decent chips and a canned drink to boot. I had a very kiwi burger with a bit of egg in it as well as the standard meat patty, lettuce, and a bit of tomato sauce which matched well with the scorching hot day.

Once the boat got in, we waited for the workers to unload whatever supplies and such the ship had brought over from Auckland before they started to load us all on. In true island style, taking the car on board was a very casual experience. We basically just drove it down the road from where it was parked and backed it straight onto the main deck of the boat, left it be and found a seat up the top.

The view as we left the Great Barrier Island remains one of the most spectacular sights I have yet seen in my life. It even tops coming into the Marlborough Sounds on the Cook Strait ferry from Wellington to Picton. Beckett and I were pretty much out on deck looking out at everything until we were well away from the island into the Hauraki Gulf.

Once we were away from the island itself, there wasn't a whole lot to see except a wide expanse of water so Beckett and I settled into a few quick card games before nodding off for an hour or two of sleep.

The only thing of real note to happen during the trip other than the incredible views on the way out was some of the crew fishing off the back of it. They put out a line as the boat was going along and a little while into the trip there was an announcement over the loudspeaker from the captain to go down to the back of the boat and have a look because they'd caught something.

From memory it was a Kahawai that they were pulling in but I could be wrong on that. We watched them reel it in on a hand line and bash it over the head to kill it once it was on deck. It was a good 10 to 15 minutes of entertainment for all of us on board.

As I said before not a lot else of note happened on the ferry. We slept and played cards when we were both awake. After what felt like a long time but in hindsight wasn't a very long time at all we arrived safely at the port of Auckland.

By the time we arrived and disembarked with the car it was dark and neither of us, Beckett less than I for obvious reasons, were hugely confident on the navigational side of things. We were all booked in again at Aida's for the night, which was lovely of her so all we had to do was find out way out of central and into Papapakura.

Eventually by some miracle and my very limited knowledge of Auckland geography we found our way onto the motorway headed south. We got into Papakura somewhere between 8 and 9 PM and were expecting to just crash out after a day of not really doing a whole lot.

Erica had other plans though and we ended up spending the evening going around a bunch of the clubs in central Auckland which was fun even though it was a relatively quiet night.

We had an absolutely stunning time visiting The Barrier and a relatively smooth journey home from an utterly surreal place which I hope I will continue to be able to visit often in years to come.

The next post here will be about the beginning of our journey out of Auckland and down the North Island.

Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

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