The One and Only, New Zealand:
- New Zealand’s first capital, Russell.
- Ride the ‘Great Dunes’
- Visit Cape Reinga AND do the hike
- Snorkel with LARGE Snapper.
With a population of only 4.2 million, its easy to get yourself off the grid in the youngest country in the world. New Zealand has plenty on offer, but the Far North really show cases the beauty that can be found in this country. Deep blue water and white sandy beaches it is simply paradise.
Goat Island snorkelling:
With our car packed with surfboards, skateboards, snorkelling gear and camping equipment we set off on a roady to the tip top of New Zealand: Cape Reinga. Starting in Auckland we made our way to Goat Island for a snorkel amongst some of the biggest Snapper I have ever seen. Goat Island is approx. 2.5 acres of NZ’s first marine reserve, it is sacred to the local Maori and is a popular tourist destination in the Summer season.
With our kit on; snorkel, fins and wetsuit we jumped in. The water was surprisingly warm and beautifully crystal clear. As soon as we swam out about 20m we came across the most magnificent sight of HUGE Snapper, Kina and seaweed. After about an hour of snorkelling and exploring the reefs and fish we set off on our next stop Pakiri beach. Pakiri beach is an isolated beach located just up the road from Goat Island, it’s off the grid with not many people around. We got out of the car, threw round a frisbee, went for a swim and just simply enjoyed the sun and salty air.
Once we were finished up in Pakiri beach, we headed to Russell. Luckily I have family living there and they let us shower and sleep for a night. Russell was the first capital in New Zealand and has become a nice small touristy town with quaint shops and plenty of sights to see. Catching the ferry across to Russell is the easiest and best option.
To the Cape!
All clean and ready the next day we headed straight for the top: Cape Reinga. With a 3.5 hour drive ahead of us we set off in the morning to make the most of our time up north. Stopping in small towns on the way: Kerikeri being one of those to have a look around and see what the towns had on offer. The sights in the Far North are unbeatable. The blueness of the water and the 1000’s of islands speckled all over the show are really something you cannot forget. Once you get further up the North the towns get smaller and the people get less and less. With 90 mile beach a great sight to see we stopped off and scoped out the beauty of it. 90 mile beach is wicked, there are bus companies that drive up and down the beach to give you the true New Zealand experience. Unfortunately our car couldn’t make it to beach so with a quick stretch of the legs and walk on the beach we jumped back in the car and kept driving north.
We made it to Te Paki sand dunes and were blown away by the views and the HUGE dunes we were about to conquer. A steep hike and a few short breaths later we made it to the top. We carried a surfboard up with us and slid back down the dune on the board. What a great adventure! After a few runs up and down we set off on a little stroll across the top of the dunes. They seem to just go forever and ever. It felt like we were in a mini Sahara Desert, really random in New Zealand!
With another quick slide down, we continued on to the Cape. We arrived at dusk walked to the light house took our photo and enjoyed the sunset. Once the sun went down the rain started and tonight we would be camping… We drove to the camp site, took out our gear and set up our tents, at this stage only drizzle. As soon as we were washed and ready for bed, sleeping on the hard cold ground, the rain really set in. I think I got about 4 hours sleep that night because I was certain our tent was going to crumble under the heavy rain. Luckily in the morning everything was still intact, although very wet BUT the sun was shining. We drove back up to the Cape and went on an hour long hike down to a hidden beach. We saw no one for the 3 hours it took us to walk down, hang out and walk back up the track. It was a wicked beach with rugged surf and bright blue water that I certainly recommend every one who visits Cape Reinga walk down to this off the beaten track beach and experience serious isolation.
All done with our hike and enjoying the sun we set off to Ahipara for a surf. When we arrived the surf was perfect, small, clean and consistent. We suited up grabbed our boards and ran into the warm water. Within 20minutes the rain started again and the surf got even better. Teaching one of friends how to stand up and ride the waves. We caught so many waves and had an amazing time. Planning on camping again this night, the rain put us off and we drove until the rain stopped which landed us all the way down in Coromandel. Another beautiful coastal town with not a lot of people and not a lot of shops this place is truly all about the relaxation.
Kayaks in hand we headed down to the harbour jumped in our rigs and set off for a paddle around the bay and a quick fish by the mussel farms. The sun shining, the blue water beneath us and fishing rods in hands, I’m not sure how New Zealand can get any better.
We are lucky to truly live in paradise.
Keep posted more articles coming in soon!