Far North Expedition November 2014.

As we had been working non-stop on our new place in Te Horo we decided we needed a bit of a change and never having been further North than Kerikeri decided it was time to rectify this deficiency.

So off we set, taking a moment to visit the new NZMCA site at Whangarei.

NMCA Property Manganese Point

Beautiful place with great views. Certainly coming back here.

Had a look through the AH Reed Kauri park in Whangarei which was so-so but the Whangarei falls, after a lengthy walk, were spectacular.

Whangarei Falls Whangarei Falls

Onwards pausing for fish and chips at (allegedly) the best Fish and Chip shop in New Zealand. We beg to differ but a nice little town.

Mangonui Mangonui

Parked up behind the Fire Station which is a POP to discover that the local volunteer fire fighters were holding a community Fireworks display that evening. Wine by Fireworks, excellent. Very friendly bunch and a lot of fun.

Mangonui Fire Works Mangonui Fire Station

Many kilometers later and we arrived at Cape Reinga. Considerable effort has gone into presenting the site for visitors and it is all extremely well done and quite a moving experience although a bit crowded.

Cape Reinga Cape Reinga

We spent the night at the Tapotupotu DOC camp which is at the bottom of a fairly steep dirt road with dire warnings of doom at the top but is a bit overstated and we had no trouble at all. We could have taken our old 1964 Bedford bus down it without much trouble. Pleasant spot and very popular with a nice beach and well constructed board walk over the wetlands. Next morning we went back to Cape Reinga early in the morning so there was only one other person there. Quite a different atmosphere and well worth doing. Then off to the large sand dunes to try a bit of dune surfing. Easier said than done and those dunes are hard work to climb but have to do these things at least once. Well actually probably only just once.

Cape Reinga Doc Camp Cape Reinga Doc Camp

Heading back down south again to the Hokianga Harbour via Tane Mahuta (impressive lump of tree but apparently not the largest in the country) to see the Wairere Boulders which are unique in the world being eroded basalt (not limestone which they resemble) which is not supposed to be able to happen. Apparently it is due to the acidic reaction of Kauri run-off and does not occur on this scale anywhere else in the world. Interesting.

Wairere Boulders Wairere Boulders

Back down south and heading around Mount Egmont/Taranaki on state highway 45 to have a look at the Maui field visitor centre when a ute pulled onto the road and started a U-turn in front of us and no amount of braking was going to slow down our 4.5 tonne van in time. Even steering across the road and into the ditch didn't help and that brought an end to this trip. Both vehicles un-drivable.

Bent Van Bent Van

Many hours later the van has been retrieved by a very nice chap and on it's way to the panel beaters in New Plymouth.

Retired Hurt Retired Hurt

And so back home by rental car (paid for by AMI insurance who were excellent throughout). The van took over 2 months to repair (being a bit old but in surprisingly good order for it's age according to the insurance assessor) but should come through none the worse for the experience. Not so sure I can say that about it's owners but time will tell. An interesting experience and well worth visiting Cape Reinga if you get the chance.

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Last Reviewed: 16-January-2015 By Preston@actrix.gen.nz