Start of the year me and my father went out on a northland trip; Cape Reinga - yes I walked all the day down and all the way up; 10min walk down to the lighthouse, then a 30-45min walk back to the carpark up the top.
After we left the Cape, we were going to crash in the car half way - unknown to us, that was a bad idea! It was a mozzy haven down there. So at 11pm we booted it down to Taipa Beach to crash for the night in the car, breakfast at Wild Nekta - Cafe & Bakehouse for breakfast - which was delicious!! - We then travelled up to see Matthews Vintage Collection after having lunch with a local beer at Mangonui Fish Shop. After making our way around KeriKeri for a couple of hours, looking around, I tried to get to the Stone Store - but I couldn’t seem to get there, not sure why!? So we gave up and explored and after a bit we made our way to Pihia where a friend put us up for a couple of days - which made life easier for us to spend extra on things in Pihia. In Pihia, we explored a fair bit, just enjoyed the area and relaxed. We did splash out and go on a boat trip to Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise after going into the info center on the lakefront and asking whats the popular “thing to do” and was told straight off that this is it, so were like “done”. Booked it for later that afternoon. Absolutely loved it! 😍 Seriously, it was great! I recorded a fair amount of video and took heaps of photos.
Before we left Pihia, hooked my mate up with some drinks to say thanks for the accomodation, then we visited Waitangi Treaty Grounds and randomly met David Trewavas up on the grounds, which was a bit of a laugh! 😆
After leaving Pihia, we made our way down via Wooleys Bay in Matapouri, making our way around to Whangārei to stay for a couple of nights, at the Grand Hotel. (It’s a rundown hotel, cheap and is need a total reno, but fast internet and affordable! It was a relatively comfortable stay.) Before leaving Whangārei, first breakfast at Riverside Cafe with a bit of shopping spree at the New Zealand Fudge Farm Cafe, with a visit to the Claphams National Clock Museum. Leaving Whangārei, we made our way to Mangawhai Heads, spending the rest of the day hanging out at the beach carpark. We did try and crash in the car for the night again - but we left early in the morning after dad had trouble sleeping in the car again - so we cruised down over the mountain to Leigh, where we stayed for another couple of nights.
We left Leigh, travelled down through Owera, down to Auckland where we stayed for a night, in a Hotel in Queen St - we loaded up on shopping and caught up with some friends of mine in Auckland for lunch after visiting Kelly Tarlton’s and Motat and made our way down to Hamilton on our way home - with by that time, a very fully loaded heavy car.
It was an excellent trip, breakfasts everday on our trip was average $50/day - between $15-20 a meal each & then averaging $5 for a coffee, which kept us going most days right up to dinner where we’d find a nice resturant or diner or a good takeaways to visit for dinner. It not having to buy lunch so much, made it really affordable overall.