A Glimpse of High Season Conditions
New Zealand adventure travel has many facets. The long weekend of Auckland Anniversary Day in January lay ahead. Despite our spontaneous decision to visit Cape Reinga we managed to reserve an on site caravan in Pukenui.
|Lighthouse at Cape Reinga|
Very early on Friday I left Auckland to drive up north. The first stop was in Russell in the Bay of Islands. Here I picked up my children and Mum who had spent a week there exploring the bay and taking part on a dolphin discovery tour.
A beautiful sunny day started off the long weekend. In Okiato we crossed on the ferry to Opua and visited next the public toilets redesigned by Friedensreich Hundertwasser in Kawakawa. For friends of his unconventional use of form, material, and colour it is a must see.
Highway No 1 led us late afternoon to Ninety Mile Beach. On the beach an atmosphere of New Zealand adventure travel conquered us. Twice an angler caught a sizable fish within minutes his line broke the surface of the sea.
Well after the presumed time we arrived in Pukenui. Fortunately the campsite hosts had kept the caravan for us. After the check in and the first inspection of the park we were confident to spend pleasant short camping vactions over the weekend there.
By now everyone was longing for some dinner. Out of the city meant also the shops and takeaways closed earlier. Just in time we put our order of fish and chips in the local takeaway shop.
Fed and refreshed we thought of an early night. After all it was a long day on the road. Within a short period it became clear this was going to be a lengthy night. Mosquito decided to feast to hundreds in the caravan. Every single slit closed we fought back. Never before have I seen so many mosquito in one place. The closed caravan provided additionally a generous scent of old age which was discomforting. Anti mosquito spirals didn’t help much to better the situation for a sensitive nose. So a great deal of the night was spent catching these flying invaders and scratching the bites.
Since then a soothing creme of manuka and aloe vera became our companion on all outdoor trips to take care of insect bites, sun burns, and bruises.
Worn out we packed up in the morning mutually agreeing to spent the next night somewhere else. We decided to make the most of the day ahead and to think about the resting place later.
Back on Highway No 1 with course to Cape Reinga lighthouse. A beach ride was out of question with our car. For beach roads a four wheel drive is advisable.
In case you are planning to hire a car: Many companies like Ace Rental Cars add an exeption to their terms and conditions for beaches and specified roads. Check apart from your contracts the tide otherwise it is easy to get trapped on the beach.
Arranged ahead with starting point in the Bay of Islands there are adventure bus tours along the beach to Te Paki and Cape Reinga available.
Innocent our New Zealand adventure travel just started. The road changed its surface from sealed to gravel about twenty kilometres before Cape Reinga. On the left soon the Te Paki Stream Road guided us to enormous sand dunes. Majestic and unexpected they gave a lot of fun sliding them down on our boards.
The lighthouse was our next stop to observe the impressive meeting of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Mum didn’t feel to well after the long dusty drive. So we picked out Tapotupotu Bay for her to take a nap while the kids and I followed the example of one angler on the rocks.
Challenging our fisher luck we threw fishing lines into the sea. Much to the delight, of a fisherman watching us, I got myself hooked on the line shortly thereafter. Lacking experience and skill we gave up and explored the bay instead. At the end of the bay was a reserve with camping facility nestled alongside the riverbed.
With no tent or motor home this option passed us and we started our return. We still had to find a place for the night. Optimistic we enjoyed the picturesque landscape and the sunset. It turned out we were out of luck this day on road No 1. In Kerikeri at half past nine finally we had dinner and decided to drive home. Though, it was still a long drive to Auckland City. We saw the end of our New Zealand adventure travel by sunrise.
In review of our New Zealand adventure travel long weekends and holiday seasons need to be booked ahead even on tent sites. Driving a New Zealand camper van or motor home to stay in provide a lot more flexibility and freedom that comes with it.
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