The night of 20th of August will go down as the coldest night we EVER spent in a tent. It got down to –4 degrees.
We both shivered and tried to stay warm, but at that temperature it’s almost impossible. To make matters worse, the air mattress we had (bought in Dunedin) had a slow leak. After about 3 hours of use our backs were pressed against the ice like floor. So this meant I had to get off and blow it up again by mouth while Fem stayed squashed up against the side of the tent and not putting any weight on the mattress. After having to do this twice during the night plus coping with the sheer cold meant we both got very little sleep.
When daylight finally came, we shook ourselves awake with the sight that it would be a great day weather wise. So after a few cups of tea and a good breakfast we set of to explore the point. We realised that Castlepoint was really just a small summer town where people can get away from it all. During the winter months, it’s literally deserted. We were the only people in the entire holiday park apart from an old man on a higher cliff face behind us who we think actually lived there. As we walked to the point we passed all the other houses along the beachfront. They too were also empty or shut up. It was a rather strange feeling to be in a town with about 50 houses and there only being about 8 people present.
Once we got to the point itself, we were treated with great views.
We had the place to ourselves which was great, although we did see a small handful of tourists as we left.
I did visit Castlepoint 12 years ago on my first trip to New Zealand with my folks and I did enjoy the rough rocky area. This day was no exception. It was rough, it was rocky but there was sunshine so it was pretty!
After spending a whole day exploring around the town and walking along the beach, we headed back to the tent that night.
This time we were well prepared for the cold. We took in extra layers of clothes and Femke even had her second sleeping bag with her. We were ready for it! The night was thankfully not as cold, however it was the windiest place in all of New Zealand that night (this was confirmed by the news the following night). So there we were on the edge of an exposed cliff.
Now I just fit in our tent lengthwise. While I was just warm enough to get sleep, thanks to the wind, I had the walls of the tent occasionally flapping rather furiously which gave me the effect of being hit on the head with a pillow repeatedly. So not too much sleep again that night.
Morning came, and I think nature tried to say sorry for the cold and the wind by giving us a really good sunrise. We got the shot shown below just standing next to our tent. Then it was off to Napier…