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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
… to be continued…