Monthly Archives: July 2023

North Tip of the North Island

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.  

Whangarei Falls

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!

Whangarei Falls Hike

Whangarei Falls Hike

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.

Cape Reigna

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!

Road Trip Highlights

Did you enjoy riding along with us on our month long road trip across the north and south islands of New Zealand? We had so much fun exploring and adventuring  and sure hope you have the opportunity to explore it in person some day.

If you are interested in getting a copy of our itinerary, please email us at  The itinerary is broken down by day, with kilometers to each location, links to all activities, bars, restaurants, and hotels.  Here is a recap of our road trip.

Overall journey was well over 5,000km and took us about 28 days.

Here are highlights of each major stop:

North Island

Auckland- The City of Sails: Sky Tower and Viaduct

Loads of fun in Waitomo starting with the beautiful glow worms

And The Lost World Adventure where we abseiled 100m into the earth!

The road trip continues to Wellington, the southern most point in the North island and the capital of NZ.

South Island

We take a ferry across the straight to the South Island.  We visit the Nelson Classic Car Museum and take a Sky Wire ride over the valleys and trees.

The Abel Tasman Forest has several really cool hikes and caves to explore.

Next we make our way down the west side of the south island:  Westport, Charleston, Greymouth and Inchbonnie.

The absolutely beautiful pancake rocks stun us with their unique beauty.

We took a phenomenal helicopter ride over the Franz Josef glacier and dozens of other glaciers.

We get perplexed at Puzzling World and see a huge waterfall in Wanaka.

Definitely one of the highlights for me was our Shotover Jet Boat ride.  A truly thrilling and exhilarating experience!

My favorite day was our trip to Milford Sound where we took a 5.5 hour bus ride, 2 hour boat ride, and 45 minute plane over one of the world’s 8th wonders!

We make it all the way to the southern most point of the south island, Stirling Point at 46 36.53!

Stewart Island

Although we did not technically “drive” to Stewart Island (as you can’t bring your car over), we did take a ferry and enjoyed exploring this “3rd island” of New Zealand.

Our road trip finally turns us around and we have to head back north.  We start by going NE toward Dunedin which has the world’s steepest street (San Francisco has the world’s crookedest street).

We find beautiful, little blue penguins and a steampunk museum in Oamaru!

Christchurch is a city of potential being rebuilt after several natural disasters.

North Island

Tongariro National Park is the home of the world’s best one day hike.  Even though we could not do it, we did manage to hike over 15miles in 2 days.

Lake Tapu has many hot springs, geysers, and mud pools.

One of my favorite waterfalls is Huka Falls where 200,000 liters of water push through the falls every 9 minutes.

Orakei Koroko Geothermal Pools fascinated me with the vibrant colors, geysers, and hot pools.

The road trip continues on to Rotorua where we take a float plane over the lakes, volcano, and hot springs.

We loved the Redwood Tree Walk where we crossed over 28 swing bridges!

And we conclude our road trip with a relaxing day at Polynesia Spa where we soak in acidic and alkaline hot springs.

A truly once in a lifetime experience to be able to explore this amazing country by land.  Even though I felt like we saw a lot, we did not touch on so many other wonderful things.   I think a return visit will be in our future.

Events from this blog occurred in mid-February to mid-March 2023.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.

Polynesia Spa & Hot Springs in Rotorua

Rotorua is famous for all of its geothermal hot springs and the best place to go is Polynesia Spa.  They have 14 pools and 13 private pools that can be rented for 30-minute increments.  The 14 main pools are a combination of alkaline and acidic pools which have very different healing proponents.

We had 45 minutes before our private lake view pool time so we hopped in to the Rachel pool which is alkaline at 41C and is the hottest pool on the grounds.  They had a lovely waterfall just behind Matt in the upper photo.

We then move over to the Priest Spring which is acidic and meant to be really good for joint and muscle pain.

This alkaline pool was about 40C and had a huge rock arch that provided shade and privacy.

I know it looks like there was nobody in the pools with us, but I just got lucky and creative with my shots.  There were dozens of people with us at each pool.

Private Alkaline Pool

It is finally time to go to our private deluxe lake view pool.  I had no idea what to expect.  When we got there I was a bit surprised and disappointed.  It was really just a small room with a small pool that had 3 thin walls.  But, it was our private small room.

We took advantage of our time and enjoyed every minute of our 35 minutes before heading back to the public area.

Spending a few hours at Polynesia Spa was a great way to end the day and our month long journey on the road.  The hot springs were healing for our bodies and our souls.

Events from this blog post occurred in mid-March.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind live events.  In our last blog post we tramp 20 meters off the ground across 28 bridges in the Redwood Forest.