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10 Things to Do in Northland

Posted by Corrin Miller on
10 Things to Do in Northland

Mid - July I set out taking my business, Smooch to the road in search of a work life balance and adventure! This is part 4 in my journey   

Northland I Love You! 

What to do in Northland (My favourites anyway)

Waterfalls, beaches, massive Kauri trees, bike trails, sand dunes and some pretty freaky rocks!
It's hardly surprising that when I was only moving about 15km each day that I have run out of time visiting this wonderland but what's a girl to do when there's beaches and walks at every turn? 
45 minutes I drove one day, that was out of control and I had to slow down! :-)
 Waipu Cove:
 If you don't do anything else in Northland. Do this walk! It's like Punakaiki of the North except different :-) Pack a lunch and make a day of it. You can walk there and back but there had just been some massive rains and I didn't feel like anymore mud scrambling. We also had another 10km bike ride to do once back at the start of the walk so we walked to the end and hitched a ride back with the local courier driver, Brian. Hanging around a public loo isn't something that I would normally do or encourage but lots of people stop to use the public loo so a great place to hang out and score a ride back to town.
The rocks are amazing, all volcanic with individual features. 

Chillin on a rock with The Poor Knights Islands in the background

Waipu Caves:
Wow! This is really cool, albeit spooky too so take a change of undies! There's only so many stalagmites and stalactites a girl needs to see but we went in quite far with no sign of the end and were rewarded with many glowworms. 

Tutukaka Lighthouse:
A friend, Marnie-Jane called and asked how far I was from Paihia. I exclaimed excitedly that only an hour away. She said you've been gone over a week and Whangarei is only an hour from Paihia are you sure you've actually left?!! There's just so much to do around his area and I guess that's why I only moved 15km or less every few days and now why I have run out of time but I'll be back! 
At low tide you can walk across this stretch of beach, with the tide rushing in we didn't risk it. As they say, save something for next time
Tane Moana: 
What stories could this over 1000 year old (give or take a few hundred years)  Kauri tree tell us? 
The largest tree on Northland's East Coast.  He's a beauty

Whangaruru Pennisula: 
"Do you like fish? " Was hollered out at us as we arrived in the Doc Camp. "Yes, sure do" was my instant reply. "Murray you can go out again!" Exclaimed Jocelyn. Murray heard this and I thought I may have heard a squeal with delight as he grabbed his fishing kayak and headed back to the water. Jocelyn would love a steak but had to wait until a non-fish catching day so they were both excited to be able to give snapper away and we were willing receivers. 
Whangaruru has stunning beaches a great headland walk and free fish from Murray.  I can't guarantee you'll meet Murray but there are many Murray's in NZ so you just may get lucky. We met another one on Koutu, except he was called Nash.
Whangaruru was the place of my maiden voyage in my blow up kayak. The rocks posed as a bit of danger for a blow up but I was also fingers crossed that the sting rays would keep their barbs tucked away as they darted through the water directly underneath me. One barb fired in my direction and I would be swimming back! Swimming?... well some kind of arms flailing, legs splashing type forward movement. 

Photos below....Crossing over on the Russell - Paihia Ferry and then a chicken took to my roof to escape the constant pressure from stray roosters. She was a bird in hot demand. Persistent cocks behaving quite foul. From one chick to another I decided to go for a longer walk to give her more 'flying solo time.' 

Love this sign as if you look closely you will see a rope swing hanging from the tree. A case of enter at own risk :-)  Only brave souls would make the jump from shore to rope though. It was further than this chick could fly....

$3 a night at the NZMCA camp for self contained vehicles and I got to go to sleep to the soothing sound of a tumbling waterfall. (It actually was) No, I didn't get up even once for a wee :-) 

Pou Herenga Tai: Twin Coast Cycle Trail:
From Opua, East Coast to Hereke in the Hokianga, West Coast we rode 115kms (can do it in 87km) worth of rural Northland and hot chocolates available at many cafes along the way.  Scenery, bridges, rivers, inlets and waterfalls make it pretty cool. The downhill leg on the last day was awesome. I'm a bit of a wimp with downhills, my brain has registered finally that falls going downhill can hurt but I loved this one! 

This church is at the mission where the third signing of The treaty of Waitangi was signed

 Manuka is full bloom

I entered the tunnel of doom and survived to tell the story

Love how they've built the new bridge over the old

Done and dusted time for beer! 

Sand Dunes / Ahipara / Cape Reinga - Te Wairua (where two waters meet) 
Being completely alone at the top of the North Island, Cape Reinga could have been spooky but it was very moving. The legend says that after you die in Aotearoa New Zealand your spirit departs through this point. Being so quiet and on my own without distraction I really felt a strong spiritual presence there. It felt like a good time to thank all of my ancestors for all the times I had asked them for a sunny day, or a easy passage in whatever I was doing. I guess no one from my lineage was a gambler as I wasn't able to thank anyone for any giant lotto windfall. 
Sunset on 90 Mile Beach, Ahipara with a young seal travelling solo

                 Kind of cool fish hook at the top of this hill and yes I was early enough for a sunrise!

Karikari Pennisula
I shall return! What a place. My lingering along in Northland has had to come to an end sadly so I didn't get a great chance to chill and soak in the vibes of Doubtless Bay but I did get a few photos
Apparently this area has some of the whitest sand in the world

Hokianga Harbour, Koutu Point Koutu Boulders, Omapere and Wairere Boulders
Sunset is on Koutu Point near Opononi in the Hokianga Harbour
Sammy the Seal there gave us quite a fright, as we were innocently walking Sammy darted out in front of us. Sending us and Sammy screaming in 3 different directions.

Historic buildings line the streets (street) of Rawene

Cheeky monkey! Colin and I enjoyed Northland together in our campers. He lives in his full time.
 I'll miss having a travelling neighbour!...or will I, with photos like that! 

Wild hair in the wind and not sure about my orange skin! 
The moss on the Wairere Boulders is pretty cool. Photos didn't do this place justice
Opononi and Omapere didn't fail to please 

Is it wrong to want to bring a bottle of bubbles and sit in these little pools in the summer?

Last Saturday I did a market in Kaitaia. I stood next to a local who exclaimed 'it's a bit chilly.' I was in a skirt and t-shirt so yeah nah I couldn't agree. Sorry, I exclaimed but as a girl from Wellington I can tell you that this isn't cold. :-) 
My search for the equator hasn't quite been reached but I drove as close as I could and one day perhaps I'll be able to get on an international plane again but until then I am loving Aotearoa New Zealand. 
This weekend I'll be doing two markets in Kerikeri if the giant thunderstorm heading this way decides to alter course...fingers crossed. 
After Kerikeri it's back to Kapiti to attend the big Fielding 2 day Market and to make another truck load (literally) of product so I can be off again. 
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