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Over the weekend, Sue organized a fun event to an “Escape Room“. There are various rooms that have different themes where the players are locked in and must find clues and use logic to escape from the room. Maybe you have played video games like this on your smart phone?

We did the Asylum room that featured spooky words written on the wall by a crazed scientist that experiments on people. It wasn’t really scary, but it was adequately difficult. We had 6 people in our group working together to crack the clues: Sue, Shalvin, Yvette, Stacy, Cassie and myself. Photos and videos are not allowed, so unfortunately I don’t have any photos to post here.

After the escape room, we stepped over to a nearby restaurant for drinks and snacks. We found a shady spot on the patio and chatted idly near the ocean. We wiled away the time to when we would be going to the Mission Bay area for dinner. Sue made a reservation for all of us at Dos Amigos, a Mexican restaurant in a trendy part of the city with bars and eateries. We swung into a german pub-style watering hole for drinks before heading to dinner.


There was a restaurant that offered a subtle taste of home.


The food at Dos Amigos was good. They had hot sauces that pleased and a jug of margaritas for $30 (which only served 2 glasses) that Cassie and I shared. That’s how it goes down here.


Photo by nice waiter on Sue’s camera via Facebook.

After dinner, Cassie and Yvette needed to get their backflips on so we stepped over to the beach. (click to view the animated gif).


That was it for the evening.

On Sunday, we got up leisurely and got ready to go out for breakfast. Cassie told me about a great little place called Goodness Gracious that has amazing breakfast sandwiches. We headed straight there and ordered our coffee. They don’t have drip coffee in New Zealand, so they only serve espresso drinks. A ‘long black’ is my go-to drink, which is comparable to an Americano, but different.


The rest of the day was spent planning our trip in the coming weeks. I would be going to my third farm for 2 weeks, and upon my return, we will be heading out for 9 days to adventure around the north island. We got the details worked out and sipped drinks all the while.

Once we had our plans set, we headed to get burgers.


Saw a Triumph and thought of Brandon.


After dinner vibes.




The next day, Monday, I was set to head south to Taumarunui to work on my final farm for 2 weeks. Due to unfortunate circumstances, I missed my bus. However, this meant that I got to spend another sunny day with Cassie. We took the littlest boy, Toby, to gymnastics and the park, we got bubble tea, and took a dip in the swimming pool at the house.

That evening, Cassie and Sue had rugby. This gave me an opportunity to take a walk up Mount Eden. I reached the summit just in time to catch a beautiful sunset. You can see the whole city from the top. The view is amazing.



I also noticed a rail that seemed familiar.


I made my way back to the house and had dinner with Cassie and Sue when they arrived back.

The next morning, I was to try again to get out to Taumarunui.



We made it to the bus terminal with time to spare the next morning. I boarded my bus and was on my way. The town was 4 hours south of Auckland and I occupied myself with my book and some podcasts that I had downloaded prior.

The ride flew by and I arrived in Taumarunui in no time. I wasn’t sure who would be picking me up to take me to the marae. A couple of young lads approached and asked if I was Fletcher. I confirmed I was and grabbed my bags. We made for a silver Ford wagon and I threw my bags into the back. We picked up another fella that had stopped in a shop to grab some shorts. The three guys were Drake (18, Texas), Moritz (21, Germany), and Tibo (29, France). We chatted and got to know one another. They had all been out at the marae for a week or more and already knew one another.

We cruised out to the marae about 10 minutes from town. Upon arrival, I met Paora, the main man, who was busy making fry bread. I made some coffee, ate fry bread and fresh cookies and got to know everyone. There was another wwoofer sitting at the table working on a laptop. Derrick (34, Scotland, residing in Portland, OR) was welcoming and approachable. We started talking and filling each other in on where we had been so far.



The next day, we headed into town to use the wifi at the local library. We worked for about an hour and a half before deciding to make our way back out to the marae. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the car to start. We all looked under the hood and scratched our heads. The farm car wouldn’t turn over. We tried a few more times, but this killed the battery too.


Eventually we got a jump from the vehicle next to us in the carpark and were on our way.

Later in the day, I wanted to walk around the marae and have a look. From the main building we were staying in, I could see that there were some interesting features. You’ll have to wait for the next post to see more. Here’s an indication of what’s to come. Thanks for reading.