Zealand – North Island series 2

The North Land

The North Land (north of Auckland) offers too many things to explore! We were too ambicious to squeeze everything into 1 weekend getaway. Consequently, we had to skip the most important highlight of the trip, the iconic Cape Reinga lighthouse, the Northern most point of New Zealand. Words can’t describe how regretful I am feeling right now. In all fairness, it would take at least 3 days to really explore everything that this region has to offer.

Suggested itinerary: The idea is to drive from Auckland to Whangarei following the east coast, visiting all the interesting little towns/cities along the way like Puhoi, Warkworth, Waipu… Spend a night in the exciting Whangarei before reaching Cape Reinga on the next day. From the lighthouse, turn back south, but this time, follow the West coast line… Spend another night at Ahipara and you’re ready for next day full of fun at 90-mile-beach. Indeed, this is called a Twin coast discovery route which would clock almost 1000 kms. Be ready for some seriously fun driving time.

As usual, what can be seen while driving through New Zealand amazes me everytime. Am I lost in the Shire of the hobbits?

As usual, what can be seen while driving through New Zealand amazes me everytime. Am I lost in the Shire of the hobbits?

traffic jam...

traffic jam…

One of our favorite little gem in this trip is Puhoi village. It’s one of the two ethnic historic villages in New Zealand. The village was settled in 1863 by immigrants from Bohemia, an area which is now the Czech Republic.

everything in Puhoi is so cute! even their gravel little road

everything in Puhoi is so cute! even their gravel little road

When you are in Puhoi, don’t forget to visit Puhoi Cottage, the oldest tea room in New Zealand that serves delicious home-made scones, cheesecakes and the world famous Devonsire cream teas. The recipes are handed down from owner to owner. They even have a website and a facebook page.

pretty garden of Puhoi Cottage tea house

pretty garden of Puhoi Cottage tea house

 yummy home made berry cheese cake complemented by Earl grey tea

yummy home made berry cheesecake complemented by Earl grey tea

Another favorite is 90-mile beach. It is technically 55 mile (88km) long. The most interesting activity is not to swim in the clear water or dip your feet into its soft sand but to drive on this gorgeous beach with your car window down, head out, tounge out.

4WDs lining up, waiting for low tides to drive on this beautiful beach...

4WDs lining up, waiting for low tides to drive on this beautiful beach…

... it's my turn...

… it’s my turn…

photo taken while driving on the beach

90-mile-beach…driving to the sky

another one, so gorgeous!

…there’s no end to 90-mile beach

just as I thought I was the coolest kid, driving on this beach...something came up from a distance

just as I thought I was the coolest kid, driving on this beach…something came up from a distance

EPIC!

EPIC!

Besides driving and riding horses, catching seashells is so full of fun. The trick is to find seabirds! Where there’re seabirds, there’re seashells. There’s a limit of 50 pieces per person.

pipi

pipi. We collected about 50 of them. Cleaned and steamed them with beer. Delicious!

… to be continued…

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