Thursday, 2 March 2017


I have just had the most random weekend and it’s left me pretty pooped, but before I go into that weekend, let’s talk about the one before that – Antisplore!

So there’s a really cool festival called Splore that happens near Auckland every year. We were meant to go but we all left it too late to buy tickets so they were super expensive ($275 compared to $100 something if we’d done early bird) and we couldn’t bring ourselves to pay that much for something.  I suggested we have our own mini festival instead – Colin plays guitar, we can camp somewhere awesome, go near a beach and generally have a brilliant fun camping weekend away – and Antisplore was born!

We decided to return to Opoutere (which Amy had discovered a few months before when we went to Whangamata a few months back).  It has its own pretty remote beach for us to be loud and silly on, it’s surrounded by gorgeous country side, cheap and loads of space, and it’s close to Whangamata for shops and water based beach activities. 

We managed to get quite a large crew on board and I was so excited that I ripped off the Splore poster to create my own Antisplore one:

Some of us headed down on Friday night after work in an attempt to make more of the weekend.  Unfortunately it was raining the majority of the time but at least it stopped just in time for us to put up the tents before starting with avengence again.  We chilled for a bit then went to bed, waking up to a soggy campground and slightly leaky tents all round.  But not to be deterred, we had breakfast and arranged to meet the others in Whangamata, where the morning was spent kayaking in the pouring rain out to Donut Island.

hiding from the rain in the undercover kitchen

Some of us embraced the rain

Opoutere beach on Saturday morning with the rain front coming in

Opoutere beach

Donut island was AMAZING.  First of all, it was my first time in my own kayak (I have a kayak! It’s even more exciting than owning a car!). Second of all, even though it was pouring it down with rain, there was zero wind or swell which are the perfect conditions.  Third of all, I have been wanting to do this for ages so it was a bucket list tick. 

Donut island is named because it is shaped like a doughnut – i.e it has a hole in the middle of it, and can be accessed through a cave that you kayak through.  In low tide the hole in the middle has less water in it, creating a mini beach.  We were all meant to go out as one big group but due to us hiring kayaks from a different place to the others, we ended up splitting into 2 groups.  Me, Shanyn, Ben and Franzi ended up getting there first as we started from the beach access point closest to the island. 

As you enter through the cave you feel like you’re entering Jurassic Park – it’s really, really cool.  We parked up (is that the boating term?) in the lagoon and went for a wee swim and clambered on some rocks and drank a celebratory beer, waiting for the others to arrive.  15 minutes later and still no sign of them, so we gave up and hopped back in the kayaks.  Out in the distance, next to the other island we spotted the others, so we went over to them.  They were looking a bit confused as they’d done a circle of the larger island and hadn’t found any entrances, so we showed them the right island before heading off in the direction they’d come in for our own exploration. 

the lagoon in donut island. next time i go hopefully it'll be with Amy and her go-pro so can get better photos

swimming with Ben and his kayak in the rain.  The cave at the back is the one you enter through

We landed on Clark island and encountered a dead bird which I tried to put onto my paddle and bring in to bury but it kept falling off the paddle so I gave up eventually.

On the way back in we were playing in the waves and getting the boats very full of water, before heading back to the campsite stocked with booze and food for an afternoon of fun and games.  

We used kiwi (and a little british) ingenuity to tie up some tarpaulins to keep us dry - somehow magically Frank (my tent) ended up under the tarp which was pretty sweet for me, kept him nice and dry at night time!

my sturdy tent Frank to the left

tent city

Camilla did a yoga session which a few of us joined in on, then we went for a swim in the sea and a play on the beach, and had a slackline set up and a diablo. We cooked a big group meal of mexicany stuff. 

Someone had got married on the beach earlier on in the day and had made this cute little arch way

looks like Camilla is summoning the force and we're her superhero back up

take 2 - peeps on the right have got it all good, peeps on the left can't do normal poses

hugely enjoyable 3L bottle of champagne


i guess that's one way to use a slackline

Being a fake festival, we had to try make it as festivally as possible but on a budget, so we got out lots of glowsticks and Dan hosted a 'talent show' where Colin played his guitar and sang a few songs, there was a poetry reading and some other little things.  Ben spent ages lining us all up to take this photo below (and variations of it) which was fun until we got told off for making too much noise, so after that we went and sat on the beach for a few hours hoping for the clouds to move and the stars to show themselves - which they didn't. Still it was a fun evening and that night it didn't rain so no soggy tents for us!

first attempt

final (and probably 23rd attempt)

On Sunday morning we packed down our tent city and chilled on Whangamata beach for a few hours with lots of random conversation that started with Adnaan's vampire teeth and ended with dilated colons.  Sometimes I wonder how our brains work.

Lots of traffic on the drive home so didn't get back till mid afternoon, then I spen the afternoon doing life admin and cleaning and unpacking and reminiscing on our great weekend.

This is just a shout out to everyone that came - I am so lucky that I have managed to integrate myself into such an awesome group of people.  Though it was raining and miserable, not one person complained and everyone was keen to still go camping and hang out and pitch in with cooking and cleaning and preparation.  It helped it was warm and muggy rain and not icy cold rain - but it was still really awesome of everyone to still come and have a great attitude and join in with everything.  I love my little kiwi family out here :-) 

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