Exploring the Northland

Lack of WIFI combined with lots of driving have made it such that I’ve managed to miss the last two WIP Wednesday posts I normally do. The last time I wrote was shortly after arriving in Auckland, and, like most big cities, there wasn’t too much out of the ordinary to report on besides not blowing your weekly budget.

Since then, we’ve managed to escape the big city with a friend’s borrowed station wagon, which doubles as sleeping quarters, to make our way through the Northland (North of Auckland) up to Cape Reinga, the northern tip of New Zealand.

Since Cape Reinga is a fairly long drive from Auckland (about 5 hours) we decided to stop over night in Whangarei (pronounced Fangarei, as the Maori pronounce the ‘Wh’ as a ‘F’ sound). We found a fairly easy sounding hike called the Hatea River Walk to try the following morning and decided to give it a go. The trail was gorgeous and well maintained, and at 8 am in the morning seemed to be used mainly by the locals on their morning jog.Hatea River Walking Trail

Who wouldn’t love to have this trail right in their own backyard?


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The trail culminates with a gorgeous waterfall.


After Whangarei, we headed over to Paihia for the much celebrated (and protested) national holiday, Waitangi Day. Waitangi Day celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, recognized as New Zealand’s founding document, on 1840.

Because of the differences existing between the English and Maori translations of the treaty, there is still debate to this day over what was agreed upon between the Maori and English at Waitangi. The day was packed with festivities and good music, then afterwards we made our way back to our car for a good sleep before heading up to Cape Reinga.

It was a long drive full of windy roads, we finally made it the following day, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.




The picture below describes the Maori legend of the two oceans meeting as one. Another interesting feature of New Zealand is how many of the signs around the country are almost always translated into Maori. Even the name of New Zealand has a Maori name, Aotearoa, meaning land of the long white cloud.


Since Cape Reinga, we’ve passed through a few stressful situations, including vehicle breakdowns and eating nothing but ham and cheese buns for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I am happy to report that since last Monday, things have been looking much, much better.