Whangarei Highlights

Pronounced Vahn-gher-eye, it’s about 130 km north of Auckland. I spent 2 days there and unfortunately it rained the entire second day. I had already booked my bus ticket further north so I couldn’t stay another day.

– Whangarei Falls Hike- 26m high and some of the most famous falls in New Zealand, they were beautiful (as is so much of NZ).

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The hostel I stayed in was literally around the corner from the falls.

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The trail continued on all the way to town, my guess is 7km or so. My plan was to hike to the town center and depending on how I was feeling either walk back or take the bus back.

I started with my roommate, a friendly German named Marcus and we hiked the first part of the trail together (and he took the first handstand photo of me!). He was heading to some nearby caves so about 45 minutes in we went off in different directions. The trail followed the main road for a bit then continued into the woods. There was a scenic lookout along the trail.

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I thought the m meant meters. Not so. It meant minutes. Of straight uphill, inclduing many many stairs.

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It took the full 40 minutes. The view though, was entirely worth it. On the way down I decided to run and made it down in just under 15 minutes.

After that, the remainder of the trail was quite flat. I hiked all the way into town, bought some food for dinner, chilled out at a cafe for a bit, enjoyed a delicious coffee and then took the bus back to my hostel.

-Gymnastics- I went to another gymnastics practice, this time at Whangarei Gymnastics Academy. Their gym was huge but surprisingly lacking in equipment. I later learned they moved to this space about a year ago from a much, much smaller gym. Almost everything in the gym was new.

The floor was probably the hardest floor I’ve ever tumbled on. Hard and not bouncy at all. Awful. Being old, I ended up not tumbling too much. They did have acromat beams though, which I had never been on. They were decent. Not the best, but certainly not bad. I ended up only doing beam and floor, as their vault was not set-up for timers and well, yeah, bars. No explanation needed there.

The girls I worked out with were very friendly. They were 12 and 13 and there was 1 older girl who was 25, which was pretty sweet. We chatted for a long time about the lower levels, judging, rules, old routines etc.

Before I started my practice there was a kids gymnastics class run by a woman from the US (who I later learned is a minister at a church in the town). She was amazing with the kids. Incredible. And it totally brought me back to growing up in the gym, the things she said, the was she talked and coached. It made me wish I was 5 again and just starting out.

That was all that was accomplished in Whangarei. I wanted to hike more but the second day it rained. Not a light drizzle but a steady rain all day, with periods of heavy downpour. Hiking would have been miserable. Instead, I wrote 4 blog entries, and updated facebook with photos, called my parents and gchatted with friends. It was a good day for catching up.

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