Beautiful Bays, Rugged Coastline and Clashing Seas

Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , Auckland,
Friday, February 3, 2012

Getting to grips with our new van didn't take too long and before long we were out of Auckland, driving along the highway and heading North. We did a bit of grocery shopping to stock up our van and then the first stop was to Goat Island, a marine reserve known for having giant schools of fish seen in the shallow waters by the beach. Apparently it's even been known that people have spotted Orca (Killer Whales) from that marine reserve. Unfortunately, this wasn't quite our experience of the place. We snorkeled for about 3 minutes before Katy's mask filled up with water, she got salt in her eyes and then couldn't see. After several attempts and drinking a few litres of salt water, she gave up leaving me to get some photos of the fish. Well... there were about 5 of them. So, Goat Island didn't quite live up to expectations for us but I'm sure on another day it would be awesome! 

To make up for not seeing any snapper, we ate snapper at the nearby cafe.
The next day we drove for around 7 hours in total, making our way all the way up to Cape Reinga, the very Northern Tip of New Zealand including a stop for lunch at 90 mile beach. The drive there was beautiful as we were driving through forests and over hills where we could see the rugged coastline. 

From the tip of Cape Reinga you can actually see where the Tasman sea and the Pacific Ocean meet and we could see the opposing waves clashing together in a line. The scenery from the peninsular is absolutely breathtaking and we learned a bit about Maori culture as this is a very sacred site to the Maori people.  They believe that their souls cross over to the next world where the Sea and the Ocean meet. The drive there was very long and windy but it was certainly worthwhile and the views from the clifftops were fantastic.

So after a long day exploring the Northlands we made our way to the Campsite (Maitai Bay) which is located right next to one of the most beautiful beaches we have seen. It has a white sandy beach in a secluded cove with some small waves and absolutely gorgeous scenery. The beach there was virtually deserted apart from the few people staying at our campsite, so when we got up at sunrise we had the place all to ourselves.

After our sunrise stroll, we quickly packed up and headed further South to the Bay of Islands. The islands (and this area in general) are often featured in promotional videos for New Zealand as the water is crystal clear, there are dozens of small islands jutting out from the Pacific Ocean and there are plenty of dolphins in the area too (supposedly...not that we saw any). We drove up Mount Bledisloe so that we could get some good shots of the islands and it really was a stunning area. 

Next stop was a small beach off the beaten track which was recommended to us by a girl who works in one of the supermarkets. It was called Oakura beach and we had chip butties and went for a swim. It's awesome to have the Campervan because you can just stop off, have a swim and then we used our solar shower for the first time to clean off before hitting the road again.Loving this Campervan business!
The other great thing about New Zealand is the accessibility of awesome ice-cream. Most of the convenience stores are called Dairy's, and they have fresh and amazing ice cream for a couple of dollars (1/3rd of the price of the same thing in Oz). This is both good and bad news, may not be able to fit onto the plane by the end of this trip!
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charlene on

everything is gorgeous - the people, the scenery and (especially) the van!!!

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