Back home after the 4 days road trip to Northland with too many memories. Sharing experience is lovely as it rekindles the moments one more time. So, I am here to relive the days on road to Northland with our toddler. To add to it, this is our first long road trip in New Zealand.
Well, we always wanted to travel around New Zealand. But where to start was the big question. Ste’s choice was Northland. We had just 4 days as Easter holidays for the trip so Ste’s choice won the battle. We were so worried about Elsa as we were not sure how she would react or accept the changes to her daily routines from food to sleep timings. We decided to go for it because we felt, unless we do it we will not know how it is.
We chose Paihia, Kaitaia and Opononi as our base to travel around. Booked hotel, motel and a farm stay for new experiences. Fuel got filled up; Packed groceries, fruits, snacks, baby food and cooking needs; it was all set to start with so much of energy and positive vibes hoping that weather would favor us.
Friday Morning we very well started around 8 with the mist still covering the roads. We just pierced through the white fairy smoked mist along with the sunrise helping us to create a clear way. It was beautiful. Moreover, the feeling of travelling to the northern tip of the country where each day begins was great. Below is our route map for the 4 days north land road trip.
Northland route map
Day 1: Auckland to Paihia
From Auckland to Paihia, we took the SH 16 towards waipu due to heavy traffic on SH1. Our first stop was Piroa falls 6 km from the SH1 towards Waipu.
Piroa falls is one of the beautiful falls around Auckland. Just after rain, the greens looked greener and the water seemed so fresh with the beautiful sun. The timing was perfect. The special thing about this falls is that it is just 200 meters away from the car parking lot. Easy to walk and the streams are less dangerous even a kid can play in the stream. Elsa was happy and enjoyed the fresh water with her daddy. Also, there was none when we were there. We felt all private; it was totally fun-packed. Loved the ambiance very much. I recommend Piroa falls for families. Though, the road towards Piroa is not good still it is worth.
Then the next thing was Waipu caves. After rains it was wet and slippery. We didn’t walk the caves. We couldn’t do it because with a kid it was difficult. Also, we were not ready for it. So if you have younger children, think twice. Moving northwards, our next stop was Whangarei i-site which is a must for a newbie if you are not sure about what to do in a city.
Then , We visited Whangarei falls. Whangarei falls is one of the best in Northland. The first time I see a falls from the top. If you happened to visit this falls, you will be walking on a bridge over the stream of water fiercely about to fall from a height then you walk down to see the real falls falling. Just 100 meters from the road it makes a beautiful spot. I would recommend it as a must.
We wished to visit Kauri clock factory but luck was not on our side, it was closed for Good Friday.
Towards Paihia, we also visited the famous Hundertwasser toilets in Kawa kawa. Indeed, the toilets seemed unique but a toilet is still a toilet. Otherwise, First day went really good than expected with lots of free and play time for Elsa.
We reached Paihia and spend rest of the evening in the coastline town in one of the beach hotels. The town seemed busy for Easter holidays.
Day 2: Paihia to Kaitaia
Day 2 was quite interesting with not much travel but with a lot of leisure time to enjoy and live the place. Paihia, the birth place of the country had so much to offer. Many tours are happening here. We didn’t want to rush and cover everything so our choice was Waitangi Grounds. First, we went to visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the treaty of Waitangi got signed between British and Maori people.
The guided tour was informative followed by the Maori cultural programme was terrific. It was one of the best moments during the trip.We reached there by 9:30 and it took more than 2 hours in the Treaty Grounds. We, then drove to Kaitaia. Cooking, eating and relaxing at Ahipara Beach was all did that day.
Day 3: Kaitaia to Cape Reinga to Opononi
It was the Easter day. Packed food for the day, got ready and started round 9 with the visit to the nearby church. First thing on our mind was Ninety mile beach. Our local hotel manager warned us about the tides and about the real beach cum road. Especially, Te paki stream is quiet dangerous unless your vehicles are good enough to pass through. BE careful with the Te paki stream exit, as it might pull in your wheels if you try to get down for a picture. Drive without stopping was the advice he gave especially on the Te Paki stream exit. Otherwise the long drive along the sand dunes beach is very much adventurous.
We just chose to see the ninety mile beach and not to drive along the beach. We went through the Waipapakauri Ramp to the 90 mile beach. 90 mile beach is vast and mesmerizing. Nothing is visible apart from sea, sun and sand covering one end with the sea, the other end with the huge sand dunes leaving room between for vehicles which is actually the beach and the road.
Then the sand surfing comes at the Te Paki Stream end. Borrow a surf board for $15, climb up the dunes and slide down; it is fun but be careful with your eyes as we saw many people got sand dusted eyes.
We also visited Gumdiggers park which has the 150,000 year old buried kauri forest. We paid $25 for two adults and it took around 40 minutes. It was informative. The roads to the park were very bad.
Finally, reached the top north end of New Zealand, Cape Reinga where the two oceans meet, the Tasman and the pacific which is visible as a clash between both. The little history, the light house, the place and the location speaks it. I have always felt like living in one of the corner of the world but when standing near the edge of the light house I felt I was actually standing at the tip north corner of the world. Cape Reinga was striking.
Day 3 was bit tiring since we had too much to see and a lot of walking and a lot of driving. Spend the rest of the day at opononi in a farm.
Day 4: Opononi to Auckland
After a tiring day and a sound sleep, some instinct woke me up in next day morning to get out. I was just astonished to see what was outside. We were among the hills on the top with the view of other crowded hills playing hide and seek in the mist. Sun is the finder and we were just watching their play. It was one of the best beautiful thing ever in my life. I just felt that our effort of travelling got paid of there.
Staying in a farm is one of the great experiences where you don’t just get a room to sleep and refresh but also you get to see and feel the farm experience living in the midst of a nature land where sheep graze around, the trees bearing delicious, fresh and ripe fruits, the veggies growing along and the nice people who live there actually. A perfect stay, the sunrise and a breath-taking scene in the morning, a perfect start for the day and of course a perfect day to end our 4 days trip on road. We couldn’t ask anything more.
On the way back, we visited the Waipoua forest and the country’s largest majestic kauri tree which is estimated to be aged around 2000 years. It was hilarious and huge. It is just 5 fives away from the motorway.
Then towards Auckland, We visited Kai Iwi Lake. This lake is one of the serenic lakes I have seen. Copper sulphate colored water and white powder like sand is all about Kai Iwi. The crowd and the activities in water makes it live and refreshing. We enjoyed it t the most with some relaxing time for calming down with the water play before reaching Auckland. Elsa had a very good time there.
Finally, we did it. It might not be the best ever trip but it was fulfilling. We are happy for making it. We might not have covered all attractions but what we did was marvellous. We didn’t rush. We had a lot of time to play and enjoy. We might not had great ideas before travelling to Northland from Auckland but now we have great information to share with you all.
I would just describe that New Zealand has many faces to be experienced and experimented in many perspectives. What we had experienced is just a slice of the delicious cake of different flavors. Yet more slices of flavours to taste.
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