This is the sunset over Russell – the view from our then much loved campervan.
And this is the view that greeted us the next morning.
We only spent one night in Russell, which isn’t enough. It was here that we met Tim and Jo Ann, while admiring the sunset, who later invited us to stay with them in Wellington. That is why I loved camping in New Zealand. The chance to meet other travellers that you just don’t get when staying in motels.
I was still in love with the campervan at this stage. My little house on wheels with a new view each day, cooking lovely fresh food and meeting new people.
Russell is a small town, with some lovely art galleries and craft shops. Sadly we didn’t have time to take one of the many trips around the Bay of Islands as we were meeting a friend of a friend the next day in Auckland.
Heading south back to Auckland we took a detour to the Hundertwasser toilets. I had seen the signpost to this on the way to Russell and was curious as to why toilets would be prominently signposted. I had done zero research for this trip. We had dates we had to fly in and out of the country and a campervan. No guide books and a basic map. That was it. An interesting signpost, let’s follow it and see.
The Hundertwasser toilets are located in the small town of Kawakawa. Designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser using recycled material, this work of art is a functioning and free public toilet. They are the most photographed toilets in New Zealand (and possibly the world).
It is also worth lingering in the small town of Kawakawa. While I wanted to live almost everywhere I visited in New Zealand, this town had such a real feeling of community. Time seemed to have stood still, and it has a train that goes down the middle of the street.
While we were there, the railway station was being repainted, by local volunteers.
I felt as if I could have moved I that day and have had made friends by tea time. Who wouldn’t want to live in a town called Kawakawa that has train going down the middle of the street?
Yes, I liked it here.
When I return to New Zealand I will make sure I spend more time in this beautiful country of contrasts and quirkiness.