10/24 A Milkshake by Any Other Name

Waipapakauri Holiday Park to Ahipara Holiday Park

14 km

One more delicious sparkling juice for the morning (getting a little obsessed with these things) to go with breakfast porridge. Sunny skies today- I can’t believe how well the timing worked out to be inside in the first torrential day we’ve had. Back out onto the beach, and the meditation of momentum settles in again. It will be our shortest day, and then we will arrive at Ahipara, which marks the end of the beach.

The distance goes quickly, but we have unintentionally timed it at high tide, so we are consistently chased out of the nicely packed sand into the loose dunes above the high tide boundary.

In Ahipara we secure tent spots at a beautiful holiday park- the whole place is a work of art. (Annie, you would love working here!) There were murals painted on many walls, beautiful flowering gardens, tables and benches cut from huge varnished slabs of pine, a barbecue made from bricks salvaged after the earthquake in Christchurch.

The inside of the Lodge is well crafted masonry, and the tent area is grassy terraces, so with a small space it still allows many tents with privacy. Henry from the Netherlands works here, and it’s fun to see a familiar face.

We walk an exorbitant 2 km to the takeaway store for a cheap filling feed on fish and chips. The orders come out fried and salty, wrapped in yards of butcher paper, each package unfolding to larger than the size of the picnic table. They also have…milkshakes!!! Milkshakes? Hmm they have something they call milkshakes. Despite the range of ice cream flavors, the milkshakes are made with one- vanilla only- and then flavored with snow cone type syrups. We try to request milkshakes as we know them, but are thwarted. Dubious yet intrigued, we decide to give the NZ standard a try. Prana chooses banana, I pick cream soda.

They’re not…bad. But they definitely aren’t milkshakes as we know and love. We had heard this weird rumor that New Zealand didn’t have milkshakes, which seemed absurd- it’s not like it’s a third world country. It’s not like there’s a religious ban on ice cream.

Of corse they exist here, we reasoned.

Now we could see the truth under the rumor, where it had stemmed from. These creations tasted like sipping cold liquid Laffy Taffy, and while they probably created nostalgia for some, possibly even were considered delicious by a few, milkshakes as a food group would be dead to us for the rest of this trail.

Back at the park, we retrieve our resupply box and double check mileages, and the corresponding snacks and meal allotment. John has set up his tent not too far from ours, and he gives us good-natured grief about how much food we’re carrying. He’s carrying less than us, but plans to take longer- we shall see who wishes what by the end.

We are all excited for a change from beach scenery; even I, who loved it most, am ready for a break from the wind and blowing sand.

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