FUN IN THE Far North

Un­cover the beauty of this vast, un­touched re­gion

Go Travel New Zealand - - Northland -

We checked in at Auck­land Air­port, met by a bub­bly young man by the name of Hay­den. He said, “you’re the last to check in, so if it suits you, we will look at board­ing 5 min­utes early”. He di­rected us to the Retro Espresso Co ee car­a­van, where we got a dis­count by show­ing our Bar­rier Air Board­ing pass. Win­ning!

Co ee in hand we boarded through the re­gional gates. We rounded the cor­ner to Gate 49 where an­other young man in yel­low high viz met us and walked us to the air­craft. We boarded through the back of the plane and slid past 4 rows of Leather seats up to the Row 1 bench seat (right be­hind the pi­lot). Our pi­lot in­tro­duced him­self as Ken. He wel­comed us all and be­gan his safety brie ing, point­ing out the ex­its and how to op­er­ate the seat belts. He told us about the light route, weather and what we should ex­pect. We took o at 6:15pm and the view as we climbed out was a thing of ab­so­lute beauty. The Sun was out the left side of the plane set­ting be­hind the Manukau Heads. Out of the right was Auck­land City and the harbour was swim­ming in orange light.

We con­tin­ued the trek up to­wards the Far North. It was a clear night and once the dark set in we could see the lights from Whangarei, Kaikohe and Kerik­eri. Not too long later we heard Ken over the PA.

“We are start­ing our de­scent into Kaitaia. Weather in Kaitaia is calm with lit­tle wind and a chilly 10 De­grees on the ground. The weather to­mor­row is fore­cast to be ex­cel­lent and with that in mind en­joy the far north”. 15 min­utes later we were on the ground. A glance at my watch told me take o to touch down took a lit­tle over an hour.

We had booked a rental car with North­land Rentals and were met by one of their sta on ar­rival. As it was al­ready 7:30pm he got us on our way quickly and we were o to the Mo­tel to check in.

We found Kaitaia Mo­tor Lodge on­line. They were quite cheap which suited us! We dropped our bags o to the room and af­ter some quick ban­ter with Mary and Peter at the Mo­tel, we were o to the Beach Comber for steak and a drink.

Fri­day morn­ing we had a bit of work to take care of. For­tu­nately our meet­ings were wrapped up by 11am, giv­ing us time for an im­promptu day trip in the Far North.

Thank­fully, I had the fore­sight to pack shorts, Jan­dels and a tee shirt. For the rest of our roadie sup­plies ,Tom and I hit the main street.

Four bot­tles of wa­ter, a bot­tle of sun­block and a bag of Pineap­ple lumps later, we were in the car on the way to 90 Mile beach.

We hit Ship­wreck bay with a pizza and sat in the sun for lunch. The Begin­ner surfers were out in the SW swells which made for good watch­ing. Some lo­cals told us a four-wheel drive will get us to some bet­ter surf spots how­ever I don’t think our small rental could take it.

We con­tin­ued north, only stop­ping at Waitiki Tourist cen­tre for a last fuel up - a cou­ple of cold drinks and mas­sive three-scoop ice creams to bat­tle the heat!

Cape Reinga wasn’t much fur­ther. There were count­less busses and tourist al­ready there. I spent some time walk­ing around read­ing the plaques on the de­scent down to the light­house. The views were

phe­nom­e­nal, with the ocean reach­ing out on all sides and on a day like to­day you can’t help but stop and take a mo­ment.

Af­ter o er­ing to take some group pho­tos for some of the tourists, Tom sparked up a con­ver­sa­tion with some back­pack­ers from Ger­many. Af­ter swap­ping some travel tales and what’s on the cards next, some­how we all ended up on the road to the Great Dunes to try out sand boo­gie-board­ing. Know­ing noth­ing about this we were lucky that it was eas­ily sign­posted and there were plenty of places to hire Boards. It cost us $15 for the board hire. Af­ter a few runs down some very steep dunes it was easy to see that it was money well spent!

The day was get­ting on so Tom and I were back in the car to Kaitaia. Pete and Mary at the Mo­tor lodge were nice enough to hold our bags for the day. Thank­ing them we col­lected our gear, picked up some din­ner from Kai Thai and made our way back to the air­port for Bar­rier Air GB620 back to Auck­land.

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