“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Leaving Kawhia, I traveled the same magnificent road I entered on, leading to Cambridge. I spent the night in Cambridge with a family friend, blissfully welcoming a few home comforts after my trailer trash introduction to van life. From Cambridge I hit the Thermal Express Highway. A fantastic road that took me through Hobbit country, though I did not stop to visit their obesely commercialised burrows. Eventually arriving at the thermal lake of Rotorua, I stopped off for a visit.
Rotorua didn’t make much of an impression on me, despite the hype. The lake wasn’t all that picturesque after the drive, and rotten sulfur hung about awkwardly like a flatulent co-worker. Sure, there are plenty of adventurous activities there, but aren’t they really just cheap thrills? Having walked around a bit and stared at a bubbling sulfur pit in the sand, I headed just out of town to stand amongst redwood giants and bask in their shade for a while before pushing on to the hazy seaside haven of Matata.
Not too far down the road, along the great Pacific Coast Highway, I petered into Matata where I have been camped out a few days now. A marvelous campsite perched on a huge sand bar. I got a spot sheltered from the sea wind by a small dune and some bushes. Not fifty meters from my home on wheels to the water. Down the quiet Mid-East coast of the North Island, Matata is removed from the hussle. A beach haven for the weary traveler. Very little happens here beyond the whisper of daily necessities and blurred contemplation. I have run as far as my legs will take me down the beach in each direction, finding nothing but the sun, the sand and an impossibly vast expanse of Pacific ocean. And sat in a sun stroked daze, on the deserted beach, trying to grasp the immensity of what lay before me. And whiled away afternoons with friendly neighbors; our troubles slowly melting and dripping down our backs. Stretched thin in time.
I need to escape this haze at some stage, and find my way to Mount Doom, but there is still time.
So pump up the Kingston Town beat and listen to the sunshine hey, cause I’m here to stay.