I Went To Taranaki And Some Other Places

Warning, there are a lot of photos and they are a mix of proper camera and iPhone.

This post takes place over Christmas/the start of January. So after Christchurch I zipped back to Wellington and had two hours to pack for a two-week camping trip in the North Island. My fella and I flew to Taranaki and had a beautiful Christmas with his family, who, like my family, eschew traditional Christmas celebrations and opt for a backyard-cricket-and-Pimms vibe, which suits me nicely.

And then, post-Christmas, Jack and I set off on our road trip! There was rain forecast for the entire time, but we remained optimistic, hit up some amazing small-town opshops and made roadside sammies on our way north. I found some great 80s cotton print dresses for $1 each, perfect for balling up in the bottom of our little shared duffel bag until my other clothes got too filthy to wear.

So first up we drove to Otatu Bay in the Coromandel, and on the way in we drove past a sign that said "FRESH OYSTERS", at which point we didn't even need to consult each other because, fresh oysters. We ate a dozen each, half battered and half raw, and they were a third of the price they are in Wellington. When we got to the campsite, we found that the family camping next to us had a boat and fished every day and they brought us even more beautiful fresh kai moana. It was a great start to the trip.

 It rained on the second night we were there and so we moved the mattress from our teeny tiny tent into the back of the car, at which point we realised the car was ten times comfier than the tent. So for the rest of the trip we used to tent to store our chilly bin, and just slept in the car, with our heads up the back looking out the boot window at the stars every night. It was gorgeous and perfect and I was grateful, as always, for being 5"1' while my tall boyfriend's feet dangled off the edge of our folded-down-back-seat makeshift bed. Sleeping in the car for that long also cemented my view that yes, I CAN live in a van while driving across the United States, which is something I've always wanted to do but been unsure whether it would be liveable.

The campsite and beach were great, in a calm little Coromandel inlet with pohutakawa everywhere . Also looking at these photos makes me regret not using my proper camera more and relying on my iPhone so much.


After one wet night, the sun came up and we dried all our damp bedding!


We drove 2.5 hours to Hahei beach and trekked over to Cathedral Cove, which was packed but lovely, and then arrived at Hot Water Beach at high tide, a.k.a. the complete wrong time to dig a hole down to the hot springs. We had a lovely paddle anyway. The Coromandel was basically exactly like the pictures made it out to be, and I am so glad I've finally seen it.

Next up we drove to the Far Far Far Far North, stopping off at the Hundertwasser Toilets, and camped out in a little farm site just south of Cape Reinga which is the northmost point of New Zealand.  First up we went to the Te Paki Giant Sand Dunes, which neither of us had even heard of until we saw a small reference to it in one of those little free tourist maps and decided they it was giant enough to have the word 'Giant' in their name, they were essential viewing.

And good god, I cannot make clear enough the scale of these things. THEY WERE SO GIANT. Approaching the dunes in the car, we saw a glimpse of one peeking through some trees and my throat immediately went tight - they looked like a series of massive sand tsunamis approaching land. All the photos in the world cannot show the largeness of these. We trekked barefoot up and down the dunes for maybe an hour and a half in the scorching northern sun, and every time we thought we'd found the edge of them there would just be another sand mountain on the other side. God. What fun.

 We saw all the touristy stuff, the lighthouse, the spot where two seas meet and cause whirlpools and so on. It was packed and very hot but so worth it. After that we were totally wrecked, so found a little beach to have a swim and some hummus sammies.

Then we drove to Paihia via 90 Mile Beach which was, true to its name, very long and also incredibly beautiful. Paihia was weird and way too crowded and we only hung around long enough to buy some local cheeses and be super disappointed that we couldn't find anywhere that sold oysters.

Then we set up camp at our last campsite, Whananaki, which is run by the Department of Conservation. It was bloody gorgeous, all postcard-New-Zealand with its thick native bush on cliffs surrounding the beach, rocky caves and tidal pools and grassy dunes. We did nothing but swim and read, didn't leave the campsite, and it was perfect. The family on the site next to us told us about a private beach down the road, a 15 minute walk through some bush, and when we got there it truly was private. Just us, of a sunny afternoon, under a pohutakawa on a picnic blanket with our Paihia cheese and enamel mugs of warm Riesling. 

After that we drove back to Taranaki and had one more night in Jack's parents' place before flying home to Wellington. Onaero was beautiful, as always.

Getting back to Wellington after this trip was kind of awful, only by comparison because being away was so great. South Island next summer?


  1. The computerised woven labels are vital to enhance the productivity of your business. They play a vital role in advertising your business.

  2. Every bit of this is so beautiful and summery, even the rainy pictures - I miss summer rain so much! It's pretty cold here right now so I am somewhat jealous (-:

  3. Just love your blog! I have actually just put you up for the Liebster award!!

    Read all about it in my most recent post!

  4. Good god, if ever there was a reason for visiting NZ this is it! Love your swimsuit! x


Thank you for commenting! If you require a specific answer to a question, you can find our email addresses on our 'about' page. xo

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...