We arrived in Whangamata with the Billabong Pro Surf Contest in full swing. Bummed to see the crowds, but inspired by the surfers, we decided to stay on the beach to have a splash.
Ava and I discovered about 50 or so hermit crabs that had washed up on the beach. One of which was particullarly ready to leave it's shell and we picked it up just as it jumped ship!!! This odd sight was accompanied by small, brown, round starfish and little clear blobs that looked like legless jellies. No one could tell us why this sudden appearance of shellfish and sea life had made their way to the exposed sand.
This is a portrait of Kyle's surf buddy and our campground neighbor Ben. In the morning Ben and his girlfriend Lindsay took us to one of their favorite spots with the promise of smaller crowds and good waves. The place was Paunui Bar
I took this photo of one of the boys surfing at Paunui Bar.
The next day we went out searching for hidden rocks along the beach. After descending a steep and slippery trail we came upon a perfect beach break, hidden from sight, with four friends playing in the waves. As we passed quietly by (not wanting to bum out the locals) one of them had only enough time to do a 180 then leap off his board onto the sandy beach just next to me. We looked at each other and as he gave out a huge laugh, I knew we were cool to play on the rocks surrounding them.
On our way to Lake Taupo we stopped in Rotorua, the capital of thermal activity in New Zealand. The entire city smells like sulfur due to all of the boiling mud pools and hot geysers the city is built around. It is also the Maori cultural hub. This is a park we visited in the middle of town.Ava is our avid bug hunter. She even gives them kisses when she says goodbye.