New Zealand Land Diary: January 2020
Camping Adventures by Campervan
New Zealand is all about natural attractions. It has a reputation for untouched landscapes, welcoming wilderness and spectacular scenery. Along with all the Kiwi’s on Christmas Holidays we found the best way to experience all of that picture-postcard perfection is undoubtedly by camping: it’s cheap, fun and hopefully will put as little civilization between us and beautiful New Zealand as possible.
Campervans are very popular in New Zealand, particularly when everyone is off for the Christmas holidays. Camping is a number one past time and just seems fit in well with the laid-back culture of the Kiwi’s. So off we went in our van with a bed and basic camping supplies: chairs, table and stove.
From Whangarei to Dargaville, Kauri Forest, Opononi, Ahipara, Cape Reinga, Toupo Bay, Matauri Bay and Opua
Rick Taylor recovered ancient kauri from swamplands near his home in Dargaville on the Kauri Coast, in Northland during 2000 to 2003. He had samples carbon dated – the results show that the ancient kauri had been buried for around 3860 years!!!
His gallery/studio has been operating in Dargaville for over 22 years and he welcomes wood turners and those interested in the art of wood turning from all around the world to visit. We had a pleasant visit with his wife and enjoyed browsing their studio before we grabbed some delicious fish-n-chips for lunch and headed off for more explorations.
We tried to get into the campsites at Kai Iwi Lakes but, everyone had the same attraction to the blue water fringed with white sand beaches…campsite was full so off we went to the forest
The Trounson Kauri Park had a spectacular campsite and considering the fact that most of the campsites were full we went ahead and committed to two nights.
The two days allowed us to do day trips exploring all the aspects of this wilderness area. The forest is also home to North Island brown kiwi population; try as we might to spot one… these guys were quite elusive.
Waipoua Forest is famous for the biggest and oldest kauri in the whole of New Zealand! Tane Mahuta (The Lord of the Forest) and Tane Matua Ngahere (The Father of the Forest) are the two largest kauri in New Zealand
Opononi: Waimamaku Coastal Track
Stumbled into some funky one horse towns in our explorations…Waimamaku was a treat
Rawene is a town on the south side of the Hokianga harbour. This cute town is full of historic charm. We walked around the heritage buildings and looked in on some charming art galleries while we waited for the next ferry
Catching the ferry to Kohukohu
Ahipara is at the southern end of 90 Mile Beach. Martin just had to go to check out the surf; it known to have one of the best left hand surf breaks in New Zealand. Beautiful unspoiled sandy beach was packed with “land yachts” on New Years eve. The lady at the campsite warned us there might be a big party…lol Kiwi’s were as sedated on New Years Eve as anything else we have seen since November. We were asleep before 10PM.
Couldn’t have planned it better…celebrating the first day of the year at the tip top of New Zealand Cape Reinga
Breathtaking Vistas of Cape Reinga
Spiritual moment for a Native Maori in the backgound
Cape Reinga Cape Reinga is also known as Te Rerenga Wairua in Maori. Te Rerenga Wairua means “the leaping-off place of the spirits” – for the Maori people, this is where a person’s spirit comes after death and leaps to their eternal home.
Dramatic hiking along the entire penusula.
We took the drone for a flight and captured our pinprick selves on the top of the cliffs!
It was New Years Day in New Zealand and the whole country was out camping. We tried several campsites around the Bay of Islands and they were all at capacity. We considered heading all the way back to Whangarei in the late afternoon; we were tired. I made one last call to Matauri Bay Holiday Park and got lucky; someone was just leaving and they would hold the spot for us.
Matauri Bay Holiday Park is one of the most well-known holiday parks in New Zealand. I am so glad we got to stay there. We me some fisherman towing a fishing line out with a kayak and had a good time with them until they had to pull the line in.
NZ named ‘Greatest Country on Earth’ for seventh year in a row
“I’m not the only traveller who has been to a small part of New Zealand but wants to see it all… New Zealand is not really a place you can ever “do” with certainty. I fear you will always want more. It’s hardly surprising that Telegraph Travel readers have just voted it their favourite destination in the world for the seventh time in a row.” Per digital travel editor Oliver Smith
Next Stop…Royal New Zealand Yacht Club and Americas Cup Village in Auckland