The early morning sun was glaring down on the tents and woke everyone up with the feeling of being baked inside! Getting out and then repacking, it was time to find Totara Rd., for TUB &co.’s home to be over the next few days. The hunt ended up only lasting about five to ten minutes since the group wasn’t far to begin with, they practically camped in the back yard! The gorgeous white beach house was well equipped with a large balcony facing the beach, beautiful french sliding doors and a trampoline for extended fun. Unfortunately, the group would be locked out and just staring at the house until friends would arrive with the key.


In the meantime, Kelley and Ian got the wonderful idea of getting colored chalk. Normally one would draw on the side walk and drive way, but this beautiful white and pristine home reflected like a blank canvas and away they went.

Finally, the key arrived! Everyone ran into the house to claim a room before the other 15 some kids showed up. By chance VNTRbirds scored the master bedroom! A huge bed, with own bathroom, closet and French doors to the back yard. Perfect. The girls unpacked, made it a home, and set out to the trampoline! This is the start of the next few blurry days.



The first night was great. Everyone was excited to be in Coromandel and together because, let’s face it; this particular group of people is amazing. VNTRbirds really appreciate the friendships they have made while on their maniacal adventure. Music was loud, beers were cold and champagne flowed continuously.


In the morning Kelley woke up and felt more than refreshed, but motivated. She set out to the beach, then showered, dressed and got to work on Jaybird’s 21st birthday present. Since the small shops of Matarangi only had so much to offer, she ended up with a coloring book (including colored pencils), a red bull and pistachio nuts (Jay’s favorite). By the time she made it back, the house was waking up and people were ready to go out to the beach.

The forecast for the week said sad, rainy days, but in reality it was gorgeous! The sun was out and about just like TUB &co. Big holes in the beach were dug, sun was soaked in (some more than others) and choreographed sword fights entertained. Back at the bach some stayed and started up a slip n slide on a giant Auckland banner. Incorporating a boogie board just made it that much more enthralling.

As the afternoon rolled in, dinner was cooked up and enjoyed out on the balcony. Chalk murals continued to be created all around the outside of the house and more people kept showing up. When the birthday party for Jaime’s 21st was in full swing, TUB could count more than 25 people running about. Four tents were set up in the back yard and bodies everywhere. Good thing there were no neighbors!



During the night, everyone catered to Jaime’s alcohol supply. Then, throw in some chocolate cake, champagne and being thrown around in a chair while the party sang happy birthday numerous times and that was Thumbs Up Bird’s experience. Kelley found some silly string and made friends quickly after putting it to work. Bed was taken in early by all that Saturday.


Sunday’s morning was full of cleaning. With chocolate cake on the floor, beer bottles placed in the most inconvenient spaces (like behind the microwave), split unrecognizable gunk on tables and Kelley’s silly string stuck to all doors and walls there was a lot to do. Though, when there’s 20 plus people living in a house, clean up goes rapidly and everyone was out once again playing hacky sack, jumping around and out on the beach.

The Kiwis from Auckland that the birds met on their first Ruapehu trip joined in on the party the last few nights and decided to take TUB &Sumi to Cathedral Cove. Making lunch, packing up the car and checking that cameras were in hand, TUB &co. set out on the hour drive. With insane twists and turns every 30 feet, the girls were playing squash the watermelon in the back while Kieran cut some tight corners.

Once signs were spotted the car was full of chatter. The boys were ready to show the girls around another perplexing region of their country, New Zealand. The walk was all downhill starting with wooden steps leading to a lookout deck. The Pacific Ocean steals the sky’s blue and drowns it beneath its own waves. VNTRbirds could stare at the alluring waters for hours. Though, the boys wouldn’t let them doddle any longer and down they went towards the beach. It was a 45 minute walk, adding time for Jaime to take pictures, but soon enough TUB &co. popped out to a sunny, open plain of sand surrounded by cliffs.
This day was dedicated to earning adventure points. Crawling in and out of caves, rock climbing around the ocean to feel the waves splash up on them and swimming about the cold water were only a few ways the crew started loading up on points. In the middle of the water there was a large plateau of rock that the group climbed up and jumped off just to boost their adrenaline. But the biggest feature of Cathedral Cove is the cove itself. Jumping the ropes to the colossal mouth of the cove was slightly intimidating. And the walk through the damp and darkened, stone tunnel gave the birds chills of excitement.









On the other side were more rocks to climb around on, ocean and kayakers ready to take on the sea’s challenge. The day continued on and it was almost time to head back and start the final night of celebration! Saying goodbye to Sumi’s eleven year old love, Vincent from Germany, the group hiked back up to the white Subaru and got ready to join the chaos.

The last night was not as energetic, but didn’t lose any of its luster. Jaime drank her yardy (a glass a yard long full of beer) in a great 25 minutes. The slip n slide didn’t get any action, but the roof was a new hot spot. Everyone in the end was just dreading the morning to come. So a dance party broke out to draw it from people’s minds.
But the next morning did come, and it came way too early. Cleaning began with scrubbers outside for the chalk production, vacuumers and moppers inside for the floors and whatever that stuff in the shower was. When 9AM came around, the Wellington crowd started to roll out to catch their bus. VNTRbirds were packed and threw everything in the big red van, but didn’t want to turn back for goodbyes. Forty, Kieran and other Aucklanders won’t be seen again until the next time TUB can come over to the land of the long white cloud so the emotions of the house ran high. Hugs and reassurances that everyone would keep in touch were given before it was time to depart.

The bus and flight home were full of TUB &co. trying to catch up on sleep and not thinking about what they were leaving behind. Love to all who took place in finding the bach and more to those who showed up to party and celebrated with VNTRbirds. You all were the best company and TUB will never forget it. Well, what they can remember!

– VNTRbirds