Just got back from Tauranga!

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Not so long ago our friends from Croatia also arrived on the Working Holiday in New Zealand. If someone told us a year ago that we will spend the summer on the other side of the globe together we wouldn’t believe it. But here we are and it’s good to have someone from back home around here!

As we already opened our camping season now we are trying to be in the nature as much as we can. This time as a destination for sleeping under the stars we chose Tauranga, town on the east coast in the region called Bay of Plenty. It is unbelievable how beautiful this country is. I’m still not used to that on every corner you can stop to check out some great spots. First stop on our way to the southeast were Hanua Falls.

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It is very easy to find the falls in New Zealand, they are all over the place! And I was just thinking, is there a better place to relax, make some coffee and just enjoy in the sound of the water? That is what I like the most about camping – you can stop wherever you want whenever you want, choose the small piece of the meadow and make it yours for a while. That was our next step, Owharoa Falls.

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If you are going to travel around this part of New Zealand a great place to spend the night is Mclaren Falls Park. Camping area is huge so you can come here with a tent or camper. Very nice thing about this park is that here you can find a few walking trails. If you will wander during the night around the Waterfall Track you can even spot the glow worms. Beautiful nature, all facilities that you might need for 10$ pp make this camp a perfect place to stay.

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You can never tell what will be the weather around here so it can be hard to plan outdoors activities if you are going to rely on the weather forecast. We had a bit of everything. Rainy morning, hot sunny day, chilly windy evening, and you know what? It was perfect!

 

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Under the stars and near the sea: Camping in the Far North

Are you for a bit of wandering around the Far North? Let me take you on a trip! Last weekend was the perfect opportunity to open the camping season. We had a few days off, tent was ready, weather forecast wasn’t so good but, of course, it didn’t stop us.

Our first stop was Whangarei, nice town hundred and something kilometers from Auckland. Here we spent our first night under the stars, it just reminded me how much I love camping! There’s a few free camping spots but even if you need to pay for it, it is really cheap, under 10$. To make your traveling a bit easier you can find all the information about the camping spots via the free travel app called CamperMate.

It was pretty obvious that while visiting New Zealand spending time outdoors, surrounded with the magnificent nature, will be our favorite thing to do, so it was during this short trip too. While walking through the woods, over the bridge all the way to the Whangarei Falls the only thing we could hear was the song from the birds, sound of the water and rustle of the leaves under the feet. It was the best music ever…

Our second day on the road was the day when the rain didn’t stop for a minute. We are almost five months in NZ and it never rained that much 🙂 After a few hours of driving we arrived to our next stop for the night. Camping area just under the Cape Reinga is one of the most beautiful camping spots I’ve ever seen. Sun rays and the rhythm of the ocean woke us up in the morning. We couldn’t ask for more…

Tapotupotu Campsite, Tapotupotu Bay

Cape Reinga is the place from where the big number of adventurers start their Te Araroa venture, 3000 km long walking trail that goes from here all the way to the Bluff in the South. At this point the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean and you can really see the swirl of currents. It was a great feeling to stay there, at the end, where the only thing you see is the huge blue vastness. This cape is not quite the northernmost point of New Zealand, Northern Cape has that title but it is not open for the public so we couldn’t go there.

Sand-boarding on the Te Paki Sand Dunes was something that we really wanted to try and this was the perfect chance to do it because those giant piles of sand are close to the Cape Reinga! You can’t even imagine how huge those dunes are, it was like in the middle of Sahara. You can bring you own board or you can rent it for 10$/hour. Ohhh we enjoyed it so much! It is a bit hard to climb up to the top of the dunes but when you slide down you just have to climb up and do it again!

Last stop before heading back home was the Ninety Mile Beach. Beaches in New Zealand are really something special and I’m telling you, this one looks like it doesn’t have the end! It is actually “just” 55 miles long and it is officially a highway but it is suitable only for 4W vehicles. One day I’ll definitely take a ride but this time happy jump on it is more than enough…

Road trip New Zealand North Island (II)

After first three days on the road and all the beautiful nature around us we wanted more! We didn’t really have planned what we want to do and where we want to go because it is definitely more exciting to plan while you are on the move. After Coromandel, Rotorua and Taupo I took the map to see where to next! It is easy to travel like that when you have a car and our campervan was a perfect choice for the trip like this one. We rented it in one of the chepaest rentals here and it completely met our expectations!

When you have the equipment like this one in you trunk you can go to the end of the world!

So, our next stop was Cape Kidnappers, the home of the largest gannet colony in the world and I have to say: that huge sandstone looks really fascinating! You can’t get to the cape by car but of course there are other ways. You can take a helicopter, ride the tractor along the beach or you can walk from Clifton. It is eight kilometers long walk and it is possible to complete it only if you start at the right time. Before you go check the low tide times and make sure to have enough time to do the return walk. And what about the name of this cape? As captain Cook’s journal says in 1769. Maori wanted to kidnap Tiata, servant of a member of captains’ Cook’s crew. He was in the water when a Maori dragged him on their fishing boat but Cook’s sailors opened the fire and Tiata manage to escape. There it is, that is why today we have the place called Cape Kidnappers!

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On the next day we continued our ride to Wellington. On the way to the south we stop in Manawatu Gorge and went for a walk. It is really nice place where you can enjoy in the native bush and in the views of the river, reserve or windfarms. This track is situated east of the Palmerston North, it is on the SH 3, you can’t miss it!

In the end we arrived to Wellington, colorful small coastal city and we loved it! Finally we know why it is called “the coolest little capital in the world” and we totally agree with that nickname!

Food market is definitely great place to eat something delicious. Here you can find the food from all over the world.

While we were there we didn’t want to miss the chance to visit the seal colony at the Owhiro Bay. At the end of the 40 minutes long walk, to the Red Rocks, colony of around 150 seals are waiting for you. This rocks are formed by undersea volcanic eruptions and obviously make a perfect home for this cute creatures. Oh, what a perfect way to finish a road trip, isn’t it?

Time for the road trip: New Zealand North Island

We just got back from our seven day road trip around North Island. Oh man I enjoy it so much! Starting point was Auckland and we got all the way to Wellington. This trip was pretty different from our other trips and here is the story about the first three days on the way down. Maybe this could be a part of your great itinerary for a future trips around New Zealand.

From Auckland we went to Coromandel peninsula. We watched many videos about it and just needed to experience this magnificent place on our own. First stop was Hot Water Beach on the east side. Some volcanoes develop underground reservoirs full of the superheated water and sometimes it just escape to the surface. People from all over the world come here to enjoy in the private thermal hot pools. How to do it? You need to arrive here at the time of the low tide, dig up a whole in the sand (if you don’t want to dig with the hands you can rent a shovel) and the hot water with a temperature of 64 degrees will come up. Pretty simple, isn’t it?!

Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach

Other place on this peninsula, not far away from the Hot water beach, is Cathedral Cove, THE place with a naturally formed archway. I don’t know did you ever had the chance to see it but I’m impressed with it! We definitely have found the spot where we will spend the hot summer days. You can get there by foot, boat or kayak and it doesn’t matter what way you will choose because all the ways that lead here are impressive!

Here is the start of the walk to the Cathedral Cove

Here is the start of the walk to the Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove

City that we were very exciting to finaly visit was Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty region. This small town is mostly known for its geothermal activity, geysers and hot mud pools. The steam was following us all the time! It was a real experience to walk around the Kuirau Park while on every step something evaporates. It is definitely special place, we never saw anything like it. If you would like to take a bath in one of the thermal pools you can find few in Waiotapu and in Kerosene Creek which are about 30 km south of Rotorua. Just be careful and don’t dip your head in the water, it is not really healthy.

Kuirau Park

Kuirau Park

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Kerosene Creek, Waiotapu

Clear beautiful night greeted us in Taupo, small town located on the shore of Lake Taupo. The scenery here is magnificent, you can just sit on the coast and enjoy the atmosphere! Spots like this one are definitely one of the reasons why we came to New Zealand and we are happy because in this country stunning places are on every corner. While you are here don’t forget to stop on the Huka Falls, choose a trail for a walk or biking alongside the falls. It is a perfect place for a picnic, so take something delicious to eat!

Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo

Huka Falls

TIP: New Zealand is heaven for camping. Here you can find lot of areas where you can pull over, park your car or set up your tent and it is mostly for free! Here are my suggestions for this part of the North Island: Railway Reserve south of Coromandel Peninsula, Reid’s Farm near the Lake Taupo (this place is perfect) and ANZAC park which you can find just off the State Highway 2, right before Norsewood.

Road trippin’ continues!

Happy travels!

Reid’s Farm