Wednesday, 8 June 2022

J&J Northland

 




It was time to hit the road again! Heading further North we made our way to Rainbow Falls, a bit of paradise tucked away just outside Kirikiri. A spectacular 27m waterfall is only a short walk, so great for kids. The spray of the waterfall creates a wonderful rainbow hence the name Rainbow Falls.


We stopped at the famous Mangonui fish and chip shop for lunch where you can eat locally caught fish by local fisherman while the ocean waves roll under your feet.




That evening we parked up at Tapotupotu Beach, a freedom camping Doc site which is New Zealand's most northern campsite and situated right next to the beach with a stunning white sand right on your doorstep. We got a spot nestled amongst the trees and relaxed in this slice of northern paradise. It also had an inlet, providing a perfect little spot for kids to safely swim. I could barely get Arlo’s clothes off him fast enough before he was in the water. The water was beautiful and warm and Arlo happily splashed about for ages.





The other best thing about this campsite is that Cape Reinga lighthouse is only five minutes away meaning that we could get up early and pretty much have the place to ourselves! We fell asleep to the sound of the waves excited for tomorrow's adventures!




Up bright and early the next day we finally made it to the top of the North Island! Cape Reinga is the northernmost accessible point in New Zealand, most famously home to a picturesque lighthouse and stunning coastal scenery. The number one thing to do at Cape Reinga is see the Cape Reinga Lighthouse! We got up at sunrise and had this whole place to ourselves, it was magical! From the car park it's just an easy-going 10-minute stroll to the lighthouse which is very family friendly. You’ll also see the joining point of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea.




Cape Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua in Maori is not only a stunningly beautiful place to visit, it holds great significance to Maori. This is where spirits come to descend into the underworld, leaving behind Aotearoa for Hawaiki-A-Nui, the land of our ancestors. The spirits slide down the roots of an ancient Pohutukawa tree which can still be seen battling the adverse weather on the edge of the headland. Another thing to note is that you can't eat there. The area surrounding Cape Reinga is sacred ground and it is tapu to eat or drink in this area. The car park has been moved off the sacred land and there are other picnic spots further up the road.




Back in our campervan we also made a stop at Te Paki sand dunes at the top of Ninety Mile beach. You can find these dunes right at the northern end, near the Te Paki stream. They are an amazing sight and the sand dunes provide some serious fun. Just a short drive off the main road north to Cape Rēinga, they are a small detour that delivers a big reward!




We felt like we were back in Dubai! Walking out onto them is like walking into another world. The sand formations, vegetation and continually moving sand really make you feel like you are heading into the desert. There’s a place where you can hire sandboards for those thrill seekers however, we had just as much fun running and sliding down them all on our own!





Northland is full of beautiful beaches that will take your breath away. We made a stop at Cooper’s beach. This brought back a lot of childhood memories for me as my Dad used to have a holiday property right on the beach here. So it felt special to be able to come back here with Arlo. It’s such a beautiful beach lined with Pohutukawa trees and little beach alcoves. You could tell we were in a sub-tropical region because the water was beautiful and warm, well much warmer than the beaches back home. The shallow beach is great for kids and Arlo also loved the little inlet as well.




Northland should be on everyone’s New Zealand travel Itinerary. It's amazing and makes an awesome campervan trip however, even if you don’t have a lot of time to explore, you can reach a number of amazing Northland destinations on a day trip from Auckland. I’m looking forward to sharing the next part of our family babymoon soon...The stunning Coromandel!


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