Before the road trip we took a weekend away from Cambridge to visit Sarah's dad in Katikati and then her friend in Tauranga. Katikati is not far and in the heart of the Kiwifruit farms. Her father, Stewart, is a wonderful, charming man. He lives on this beautiful property with avocado and apple orchards, passionfruit, and delicious tomatoes. I must've eaten at least three large tomatoes a day, along with all the salad fixins.
This was the place I was finally able to connect with the internet world, but only through dial-up. It seems everyone has slow internet here. Most are very behind in technology and fashion. It was easy to sleep in the ambience of the lush farmland. That night we also went to visit her Nana, a lovely older world traveler, and the cutest little woman ever (especially because of the Kiwi accent!). She made us a seafood pie, a popular Kiwi dish. She lived in a community that resembled the Golden Girls show and I absolutely loved it.
The following night was far from quiet. We met up with friends in Tauranga to go dancing. After about four hours of everyone getting dolled up, we hit the town. People were lining the streets on this Saturday night. I'm guessing there was nothing else to do, and since the drinking age is 18 you tend to see more youngins out at clubs/bars. The unfortunate thing about going out to clubs is the cost of drinks. Drinks are roughly $10-12 so it's smart to pre-drink before you get there. The problem with that is alcohol is expensive in general. $20 for a 12 pack and $40 for a small bottle of Jose Cuervo. Ridiculous! They also have premixed drinks like Jack n' Coke and Vodka Redbull in cans and bottles. It's a bit weird, but a lot of people are keen on it.
When we finally hopped into a club they were playing techno music. Good thing I was tipsy because that type of music never changed for the hour we danced there. When we got to another club I was stopped by a very intimidating Maori about my tattoo. After I told him it was from Hawai'i he was cool with that and later protected me from an annoying drunk Kiwi. Guess it pays to show it off! Speaking of drunk Kiwi guys...they have no game! They stare at you for ages and never talk to you or dance with you. The only guys I had up on me were Indian, but I wasn't a fan so I made the girls block dance between us. I'm still amazed at how shitty the club music had been, all techno and dance, with no top 10 remixes or booty music.
One redeemable place that Tauranga had was Cornerstone Gastro Bar, which played old 80s/90s music and was full of hot Maori men and women. That night they had a live band playing the best 90s covers for rocking out! It did (kind of) make me feel old to enjoy that place rather than the teenage clubs, but I didn't care. Good music is good music.
My take on Tauranga: I could live without going there again. Mt. Mounganui was nice, but there are nicer mountains to climb on the North Island.