New Zealand: Along to Kauri Coast

Leaving Paihia

Campsite with the two campers

We awoke to our first sunny day in New Zealand, we decided to leave as soon as possible in order to enjoy the sunshine while it lasted. The fact that the showers stayed cold even after putting our coins in for hot water ensured that this decision was respected!

Sunrise in the Bay of Islands

As the day before the rain and early sundown had prevented us from walking through the Mangrove forest to Haruru Falls we took advantage of the sun to have a picnic breakfast next to the falls.

Driving to the West Coast

The rolling hills of Northland

The drive to the West Coast went through some spectacular countrysides. Unfortunately we were distracted from following our map and had to double back at one point but it was worth it.

The rest of the drive went without incident and we were able to enjoy the countryside full of gentle curves, both horizontal and vertical.


As we reached the west coast we decided to stop for a short break, and decided on Opononi as it was the first place we would reach on the coast. As we entered the village end we spotted a terrace as we came round a corner which looked out at the bay and over to 90 mile beach.

Cris, Opo and boy 90 Mile Beach Looking across the bay

In fact Oponani was famous for a tourist of a different species, Opo the dolphin and it turns out we had stopped just next to a statue in his honour. A quick photo and brief shopping trip later and we went back on the road.

Northland forest

Tane Mahuta

From Oponani we headed into the Northland forest along some the tightest bends we were to find in the New Zealand roads. We were aiming for the largest Kauri tree which was just 5 minutes walk from the road.

The Kauri trees are definatly huge and you can see why this particular example is called Tane Mahuta in Maori (Lord of the Forest) standing at over 50m in height.

Down to Wellsford

Kauri coast countryside

We continued down to Dargaville where we stopped for lunch at a resturant called "Blah, Blah". Just our kind of place with organic vegtables and a great atmosphere.

From Dargaville we drove generally south until we got to Wellsford. At this point we needed to figure out if we were going to take the State Highway One to Auckland or to continue along a smaller road along the coast. We decided to stop and meditate on this issue over a coffee.

To the coffee we added some delicous carrot cake and a caramel and chocolate slice and it was perhaps this sugar that aided us in our decision making. We decided to continue down the coast.

Arriving to Auckland

Sunset on the Kauri coast

The coast road was much better than we had expected and as the sun was setting we had a fantastic view of the sunset. We passed one picnic area where a river flowed into the sea with a small dock iluminated the last rays of the sun. We're weren't in time to stop there but maybe next time we pass that way.

The sun had completely set by the time we reached Helensville and we were soon rejoining the State Highway One in order to pass through Auckland to our stop for the night in the southern suburbs.

With a few days of driving under our belts the motorway didn't present us with any difficulties (although we got a terrible fright when Joel's watch alarm went off!) and we soon found the exit we needed and shortly afterwards the campsite.

Due to our late arrival the campsite was closed but there was a notice that said late arrivals should park up and check with the office in the morning once it opened. We parked up and settled in for the night, following our new evening routine: update the journal, plan the following day and fall asleep!

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