My family, Kimberly and Troy, came for a visit to the North Island after they spent 10 days in the south island. We had each day all planned out but did not account for the increment weather. Unfortunately, a rather large storm system had plans to visit the North tip of the North island during the same time.
We decide to make the best of it. On their first day in Whangarei we go on a 10.6km hike. I had never visited the Whangarei Falls – despite being in the area for 6 months. Since it was raining when we left, we decide to drive to the falls. As luck would have the rain stopped or at least slowed to a drizzle!
The Whangarei falls were beautiful with loads of water from the recent rain storm.
Our plan was to hike around the falls and then drive to another waterfall. But it was so nice out that we just kept hiking. We crossed lots of rivers and everything was such a vibrant green!
Along the way we stumbled across the “Canopy Walkway.” There were a surprising amount of Kauri trees in this beautiful forest. I just love these majestic trees! They are simply stately and regal without even trying. Just by merely growing for centuries.
Of course we are required to clean our shoes as we enter and exit the park. Kimberly got a surprise when she stepped on the green peddle which shoots water on your shoes and up your legs.
We ended up crossing over to another track and came to a beautiful lookout point. Then we took the Ross track back to Whangarei.
Our total walk ended up being 10.6km and we were exhausted, hungry and thirsty. We did not plan to walk this far and left our provisions and water in the car back at Whangarei falls. Oops.
North Tip: Tana Mahuta
The next day we all gather into the car and head east toward the Waipoua Forest. The first Kauri tree we come to is the “Father of the Forest” called Tane Ngahere (bottom two photos) and then we drive 10 minutes to the “Lord of the Forest” Tane Mahuta (top photos).
Tane Ngahere is 16.41 meters around, 29.9 meters tall and has a trunk volume of about 208.1m. Tane Mahuta is 51.5 meters tall and has a trunk volume of about 244.50 meters.
We continue north and make our way to 90-mile beach. It was a gloomy rainy day so we just did what everyone else does and drove around in circles on the beach – just because we could.
The next day we drive all the way to the North tip of the North island, Cape Reigna. It rained and rained and rained the entire drive up there. We were not surprised as the weather showed the storm system hitting the north tip on the very day we were visiting. We had heard that gusts could be as high as 45kts. But we wanted to see what we could see.
By the time we got all the way to the parking lot of Cape Reigna, the rain had stopped! What, seriously how amazing and lucky for us.
It was still blowing really hard when we started the walk. We had a fun time trying to walk and stand at the outer tip. We later learned that the winds were actually gusting up to 70-75kts! Oh dear. Check Matt leaning into the wind in the lower photo.
We leave Cape Reigna and head to the Bay of Islands and Russel. It was a beautiful drive through the windy roads, over the mountains, and across the valleys.
We enjoy a lovely lunch at Omata Vineyards which I highly recommend! The restaurant overlooks the vineyard and they have wood burning stove.
A truly lovely property that would have been absolutely breathtaking on a normal, non-rainy day.
Here are just a few fun photos worth sharing.
It was a super short visit, but so nice to be able to show the North Tip of the North Island with Kimberly and Troy. Unfortunately it was time for them to head back to the States. Lucky for me, I was blessed with a beautiful sunset later that night to lift my spirits.
Events from this blog occurred at the end of April early May. Our blog posts run 8-10 weeks behind actual live events. Did you read our NZ North and South Island Road Trip highlights from our last blog? Super fun recap!