Leaving Coromandel Peninsula behind we drove straight through Auckland (which we saved for the last few days of our New Zealand trip) towards Whangarei but not without a stop at Piora Falls, a chess factory and some shopping for Hazel.
The next day started with a morning
exercise for Kevin as he decided to climb Mount Manaia with its 1000
steps. It took him a good 90 minutes to make his way up, enjoy the
fantastic view and climb down again and he can confirm that there are a
lot (and he means a lot) of steps.
Next point on the agenda was a
leisurely stroll around Smugglers cove. On the way to the coast we
passed an old gun station from the second world war – built in fear of
the Japanese attacking New Zealand (as it luckily never happened the gun
only fired three test shots in its whole life).
Later in the
afternoon we stopped at Ah Reed Kauri Park to see a 500 year old Kauri
tree. These trees are only found in the northern part of the North
Island of New Zealand and can become very very old. Later on we had a
look at the picturesque Whangarei Falls where the local kids had a lot
of fun jumping from a tree into the pool above the waterfall.
Beachside Campground near Paihia was our home for the next two days as
we decided to add another lazy day in the region. The campground was
small and nice and we became good friends with a super cute kitten which
was happily exploring our tent.
After stopping at the nearby
Haururu Falls (yes, NZ has a lot of waterfalls) we continued our journey
up north and the more north we drove the less dense traffic became.
After lunch we drove the the last 100 km up to Cape Reinga, which is the
northwestern tip of the Aupouri Peninsula, at the northern end of the
North Island. Besides a fantastic view where the Tasman Sea meets the
pacific ocean there is also an iconic lighthouse. The whole place, which
according to Maori legends it’s the gateway to heaven for the departed,
feels very peaceful.
On our way back south we stopped at the
massive sand dunes of Ninety Mile Beach. It was an unique experience to
climb the vast dunes and play around in the sand. Just amazing what a
wide range of scenery NZ has to offer. Later on we pitched our tent in
The next day we continued south along the very winding
scenic route through a lot of forest and farmland. The whole area was
not very densely populated and green was by far the most dominant
colour. At noon we stopped at some hot springs near Kaikohe. The springs
were very basic, very hot and super smelly but for 4 NZD we wouldn’t
Later on we stopped again at Opononi for some ice
creams and admired the fantastic views from a nearby lookout. Last stop
for the day was at Waipou Forest where we saw more Kauri trees some of
them are apparently more then 2000 years old. These massive trees are
just super impressive. Night stop was at Dargaville where we had some
nice Thai food for dinner.
The next day we drove directly to
Martins Bay for a lazy day at the campground and a late afternoon swim.
One last time we slept in our beloved tent which was a great home for
most of the last four and a half month. Dear tent we salute you!
our New Zealand trip comes slowly to end we headed towards Auckland
where we would stay two days in the Silverfern Backpacker. After selling
our camping gear we had a look around the city center and strolled
along the harbour where we saw a big cruise ship leaving. New Zealand’s
biggest city has a high population of Asians and Asian restaurants and
food stores can be found at every corner of the city.