You know those days that just fly by? Last week was full of those days! Together with Liselot & Merijn, we set up a plan to travel around the most northern parts of the North Island. And so, without further ado, I present PROJECT NORTH.
The Plan: To explore the most northern parts of the North Island. To discover new and amazing sites and scenes, ones unique to the country of New Zealand.
Starting Location: Paihia, New Zealand (35.2807° S, 174.0910° E)
Final Location: Auckland, New Zealand (36.8485° S, 174.7633° E)
So, with good vibes, positive energy and empty SD cards we started our journey in the early hours of Monday morning in Paihia and drove all the way to Kerikeri. Well, that was closer than we thought… In less than 45 minutes we arrived at our ‘motel’. We dropped our bags and went to the ‘Kerikeri River Track’ a track (as the name describes it) beside a river. On this track there are a few things you’ll definitely see; a spectacular 27 metre waterfall, and the fairy pools. The waterfall was stunning and the view was beautiful. And then there were the fairy pools, unfortunately the fairy pools weren’t that nice (and spoiler, there are no fairy’s in the fairy pool at all, bummer) so that was a bit of a shame. But the walk was nice and we really enjoyed ourselves, until….. we lost Merijn. Liselot and I were taking pictures of a tree and in just one second, POOF! Merijn was gone. So we went looking for him for almost 40 minutes, shouting and screaming his name. And there he was, sitting on a rock by the waterfall, relaxing, like nothing happened. Well I can understand it’s not always easy with 2 girls around you all the time. So… we forgive you ?
After a delicious burrito meal, we drove all the way to a beautiful beach to see the Super-Moon. So we sat there with blankets, drinks and positive vibes hoping to get a good view of the Super-Moon. But the clouds also wanted to see the moon and the covered our view, so unfortunately we were only able to see the moon for a few seconds, at least the drive to get there was really nice!
The day after that the weather was letting us down and it was pissing down rain the whole day. But we decided to go out anyway because we knew we would only be in Kerikeri for 2 days. We went to another waterfall for a walk in the rain. But it was worth it because once again, the view was amazing and the walk to get there was insane. In the meantime, Liselot and Merijn are getting used to the fact that I film anywhere, everything and everyone. The rest of the day we decided to stay inside and finding shelter for the rain.
The next morning was all about moving from Kerikeri to a little place called Peria. On our way there, we stopped at a town called Totara North. At first sight, all you saw was boats and blue seas. But upon closer inspection, we realized it wasn’t what it looks like. There were weird signs everywhere, empty houses and it felt like a Ghost town. That place really gave us chills.
After that spooky experience, we went to the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen in my life; Taupo Bay. A beach with white sand, blue waves and no-one but us three to explore this place. We were on the road almost the entire day, Merijn was driving to the most beautiful spots and we discovered so many great places! We just couldn’t stop taking pictures. (I thought that I take a lot of pictures, well Liselot takes more than enough for the three of us combined).
When the evening almost fell, we arrived at our AirBnB for the night. They called it “Magic Land’ and you could really say it was a magical land. A cute little Gingerbread house in the middle of the forest with lovely people. We had a great night and a good chat with the people and I would definitely like to stay there again!
The next morning, we drove down the metal road to our next destination: Pukenui. Of course we stopped many times to discover and see great beaches and make the best out of our small trip, we got some free Wi-Fi at the local McDonalds and already planned some other things for the next few weeks. Later that day, we packed our stuff and we were ready to discover the most northern areas of the North. Cape Reinga. The tip of New Zealand. Liselot and I been there before but Merijn hasn’t, so we decided to go there again.
And then we met this guy (next to me) just a few hours later. He was hitchhiking from Auckland to the most northern point of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. We picked him up on our way to Cape Reinga and drove all the way to the top. It was really cool meeting him because he is going to walk the ‘Te Araroa Trail’, a 3000 miles hike to the most southern point of the southern island. I wish him all the best, safe travels!! Cape Reinga is really windy as well! My hair can’t handle it! Do I have any proof? Why, yes of course!
When we got to our little cabin for the night we were very lucky there was much more to do in the area because it was a horrible place to stay. And we couldn’t wait to get out of there. So the next morning, we packed our stuff and as soon as we could and left the place in a hurry. We were heading to our next and final accommodation: Kohukohu. A tiny little place with almost more churches than houses.
We dropped of our stuff and went with the ferry to (again) a magnificent beach with big waves and a really nice cliff where I sat for a long time just staring at the sea. Unfortunately, the battery of my camera died that day so I couldn’t take footage anymore of one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to since I arrived in New Zealand. For me it was also a heavy track. I really need to buy new shoes, because I just kept falling and slipped down way too much. I still don’t get it… Merijn and Liselot wear Converse All-Stars, and they are just fine. And here I am, wearing Nike sport shoes and I just keep slipping and falling. I guess my spaghetti legs are just not made for tracks like this.
That was already the last day of our mini tour! It was a long drive back to Auckland and we stopped a few times. Among other things, we got to see the biggest Kauri tree of New Zealand. This Kauri tree is 51.5 metres high, 13 metres in diameter, and is the largest of his kind. You feel so incredibly small when you stand in front of that immense tree!
In 6 day’s we drove almost 1000 kilometres in Merijn’s car (Betsie’s the name), seen so many different beaches, and shared great laughter. I had an amazing and fun week with these two crazy people!
Here’s a little video trip of ours; PROJECT NORTH.