I can’t believe we’ve been in New Zealand for over 3 months now. I don’t want to say it, but time sure does fly when you’re having fun (that’s all the cheesy sayings I will be using in this post).
We’ve been spending the last few months discovering the North Island, which to some may seem like a long time, considering other people go for trips around the entire country in just 3 weeks. But we’ve actually still not seen everything we want to see on this part of New Zealand.
We’ve been discussing whether to go north or south for our next trip, and ultimately decided to go to the far north region. Which turned out to be a good decision, as the night before we left New Zealand was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake (it was actually a series of earthquakes, but the ‘big one’ hit near Kaikoura). Kaikoura is a town on the east coast of the south island, about 180km north of Christchurch. Kaikoura is currently dealing with a lot of damage, as well as the north island city of Wellington. Wellington is about a 7 hour drive from where we were at the time of the earthquake, but it could be felt around most of the country. I didn’t notice anything and slept right through it, but Justin woke up from the bed shaking and cabinets rattling. However this quake has obviously left some (major) footprints, I hope everything will be back to ‘normal’ very soon for everyone in and around Kaikoura, Wellington and Canterbury.
Now, back to our trip. Our first stop up north was the famous Cape Reinga Lighthouse. Cape Reinga is the (almost) most northern point of New Zealand, situated about 100km north of the nearest small town, Kaitaia. Cape Reinga is mostly known as the place where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean come together. Māori believe that the cape is the point where spirits of the dead enter the underworld; ‘Reinga’ actually is the Māori word for ‘underworld’.
When we first visited the cape sadly it was so foggy (again) we could barely see anything. The rest of the day we just hung out in the car, waiting for the rain to stop (it didn’t until the next day). Luckily we’re driving around by ourselves an aren’t dependent on a tour bus, so we went back there the next day. Seeing Cape Reinga meant sleeping in the car and going without showering for a few days, but the views made up for all of that.
· Day 1 at Cape Reinga ·
· The next morning. We stayed at a campsite right next to the beach. ·
The next days we spent exploring the Bay of Islands, which is as tropical and amazing as it sounds. We did a little shopping in Kerikeri and took the ferry from Paihia to Russel. Something about the coastline, palm trees, little historic towns and just the vibe in general made us feel like we’d won one of those ‘too-good-to-be-true-ultimate-tropical-holiday’ trips.
The Stone Store, Kerikeri (New Zealand’s oldest surviving stone building)
· Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri · (ok, these don’t look thát tropical)
· Lunch at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russel ·
Russel. (All I want for Christmas is a house in Russel)
Next we went to Whangarei, where we booked an Airbnb with an awesome Croation lady whom we had some great conversations with. As an added bonus she made us cocktails and Croatian pastries, don’t mind if we doooo!
Found Jemima Puddle-Duck at Whangarei Falls
I blink, and he’s gone…
· Whangarei Falls, Whangarei. ·
Our last adventure during this trip was the one we were most excited about; the ‘Perfect Day Cruise’ with Dive! Tutukaka. On Saturday morning we drove to Tutukaka (I know, these names huh…) where we hopped on a cruise to the ‘Poor Knights Islands’ (rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the 10 best diving spots in the world) . ‘Perfect Day’ is a day-trip for non-divers, which offers sightseeing, kayaking, cave exporations and snorkeling.
For both Justin and me it had been years since we swam in the ocean, so it took a bit of getting used to, to say the least. Justin had seen this photo of someone in a kayak, underneath one of the rock archways, so of course he had to go and get a photo like that. I decided to swim instead of going kayaking, mainly because I just don’t get along with kayaks. I also can’t figure out how to properly use flippers, so I went without them (I know, I’m a troubled young lady). Needless to say, that was a stupid idea. Before we knew it we’d gotten quite far away from the boat, and I had a hard time swimming back. The current had gotten stronger, so at a certain point I knew there was no way I’d have the strength to swim back to the boat. Not a problem at all though, as the crew were floating around in little rescue boats to help anyone who was struggling. I did feel like a bit of a loser though, but oh well. Just before I decided to put my fist in the air (meaning ‘I’m okay but I need some help’), I thought I’d better put on my snorkel and have a look around before getting out of the water. When I looked down I saw a (little) shark swimming underneath me, not taking any notice of what was going on above him. Anyone that knows me will understand that for me, that was a very cool experience.
(Go ahead, zoom in on my face and laugh at me)
· The Rikoriko cave – the largest sea cave in the world. ·