Welcome back to the last instalment of the Northland Road Trip. In all honesty, this one doesn’t really make too much sense. I’m talking about the Karikari Peninsula and Tāne Mahuta… two things that are in polar opposite directions, but hear me out.
We did Cape Reinga in a day, then came back down south and stayed at our AirBnB on the east coast, in a place called Cable Bay. We had planned to spend a third night over on the west coast after our day of exploring, but things didn’t work out and we decided to head home. We head off down the West Coast so we could visit the famous Tāne Mahuta. For those of you that don’t know, Tāne Mahuta is the biggest Kauri tree in the world. At 16 metres wide, she stands tall in the middle of the Kauri forest being the inspiration for the Avatar movies. But first, let’s rewind to our time in and around the Karikari Peninsula.
// The Karikari Peninsula \\
A small peninsula on the North East coast of New Zealand, the Karikari peninsula is not to be missed. With coves and bays a plenty, unique lakes and incredible 360 scenery, the Karikari peninsula was definitely a pleasant surprise. Our AirBnB hosts gave us so much information about the area, we really were spoilt for choice. We spent the night researching whilst eating our homemade pizzas, made a plan and set the alarms for 5:00am. Yep that’s right, 5:00am… we were heading out for sunrise.
Having heard so many great things about Matai Bay, this was our first stop on our trip up the peninsula. Down small gravelled roads, across bridges and down into the car park, Matai Bay is well and truely out the way. We parked up and waited… waited for what turned out to be one of the best sunrises I’ve ever witnessed. So many colours, ranging for vibrant pinks and reds, all the way to burnt oranges. We sat on the beach and watched as a new day was upon us, clicking away on the cameras and taking in everything nature had to throw at us.
We made our way back to the car, punched in the directions on the Sat Nav and made our way 20 minutes south, towards Coca Cola Lake. A place I had never heard of before and somewhere that got it’s name for looking like you guessed it, Coca Cola. So still, so peaceful with the faint sound of the waves crashing over the headland. A great place for travellers due to the freedom camping site, right on the beach.
// Tāne Mahuta \\
Another piece of New Zealand’s history, Tāne Mahuta. The biggest Kauri tree in the world. It’s said, when they felled the Kauri forest, they left Tāne Mahuta as they thought it was infested with the Kauri Dieback Disease and being the smallest tree in the forest, they thought it would naturally die and fell itself. They were wrong, Tāne Mahuta continued to thrive in the forest, making for what is today, a top tourist destination.
At 16 metres wide, can you image just how huge all the other trees were. Tāne Mahuta was the smallest one in the forest. Insane, right. Take the short drive down the road and you’ll reach the Kauri Tree Walk car park. This is where we stopped to make baguettes before wrapping up and heading out for a walk. Only a short walk, I would highly suggest visiting. There is something about the Kauri trees that is like no other. You know what the trees in Avatar look like, right? Yeah well that’s exactly what the Kauri trees look like. Well worth the visit.
After slight confusions with our AirBnb host, we decided to drive on home. A three hour drive was ahead of us so we stocked up on the snacks, the drinks and the coffee, put on the perfect road trip playlist and made our way back to Auckland. A super long day but well worth it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… there is something so unique about Northland, New Zealand that you can only put your finger on it once you’ve seen it. If you’re coming over to New Zealand and planning a road trip, make sure to schedule in Northland.
| By Harrison |