Leaving the busy traffic of Auckland we breath a sigh of relief and of fresh air once we arrive at Waipu, our first stop on our 2 week journey to Northland to discover the beaches and sites of the winterless North - which boasts some of the best New Zealand weather.
Waipu is a small community, with a relaxed village atmosphere and interesting antique shops and some lovely locals. The first that we meet lets us in on where to find the best fish and chips in the area (always good to know!) and which beaches are best for swimming. On their recommendation we head to Langs beach the next day and we aren’t disappointed. The gorgeous white sands and turquoise water are the perfect way to spend the day and as we are at the end of the summer season we pretty much have place to ourselves.
Our next stop we head directly to Mangonui - a further 4 hour drive, which is our base for the next week. A lovely bach
right on the beachfront is definitely a great place to stay to discover the area and we have plenty to see and do here. Our bach is on Coopers beach with pohutukawa-lined golden sands, gentle waves and is the perfect location for long walks along the beach and exploring a few of the other beaches like Cable bay with its golden sands and delicious ice creams.
Mangonui is a historic fishing village of Doubtless Bay with plenty of friendly café’s and art galleries housed in 150 year old buildings and also the famous fish and chip shop that sits out over the water and is a great place to watch the sun set over the water while eating your fish and chips.
A day trip to Kari Kari Penninsula is a must; we take a picnic and drive to the end of the peninsula to Maitai Bay, which has to be some of the clearest water I have ever seen. There are plenty of divers going in and it’s also a great place to snorkel. The wind is coming in a bit strong today so we cross over the walkway between to the beach on the other side where there is also a DOC campsite
right (mental note to come back and hire a campervan to stay here!).
After a long busy day of swimming and reading we head back to Mangonui village for a milk shake and cake to end the day.
After our week in Mangonui we leave this beautiful area and head further north towards Cape Reinga – the furthest point of New Zealand's North island that you can possibly get. It’s a long drive out but definitely worth the view of the lighthouse and where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman sea meets in a turbulent whirlpool type effect. There are plenty of tourists out here – and as you aren’t allowed to eat here there is a wonderful lack of rubbish around and it’s pristine nature at it’s best.
For those keen you can take a sand board and surf one of the many large dunes in the area.
We decide to take the more relaxed option and have lunch at Tapotupotu Bay, just 10mins heading back from Cape Reinga. There is also a DOC site here, which has some of the best views I’ve seen at a campsite.
After our day trip to Cape Reinga we head west toward Ahipara, a small village (one café, bottle shop and a diary), and stay at a BBH in a lovely original Kauri villa called ‘Endless Summer’ which is the perfect name for an area which seems to always be warm and sunny. Full of happy travellers it’s a fun way to end our holiday by meeting some interesting characters and having shared dinners and getting to know new people.
Northland definitely lived up to my expectations and 2 weeks was the perfect amount of time to relax but also see plenty of what the area has to offer. For those of you wanting to experience a real kiwi beach holiday I would definitely recommend Northland in New Zealand.
Check out some activities you can do while in Northland