April 5, 2018 – Port Albert, New Zealand
Our journey through New Zealand continued as we drove down the narrow and winding road that led us off the Coromandel Peninsula. It was the Thursday before Easter and a never-ending line of cars was driving on the Peninsula for the long weekend – lucky us!
Since there was hardly any traffic leading in our direction we kept on driving until just after Auckland where we camped at a perfect spot in Gulf Harbour. Right next to our camper was a huge grassy area (for Levi to play and crawl on) and through the windows we had a front-row skyline view of Auckland. Just before dawn we even saw a penguin diving through the harbour.
On our way further North temperatures increased, a fact that seems funny when you live in the northern hemisphere. We stopped at the Hundertwasser toilet in Kawakawa and took a swim in the ocean at Kowharewa Bay before reaching the Bay of Islands on Easter Sunday. We strolled through Paihia and unwillingly stayed at a Holiday Park overnight since we could not find any freedom camping spot. The next day we took the passenger ferry for a half-day trip to Russel and enjoyed the warmest weather we ever experienced on Easter Monday.
We camped right at the beach in Doubtless Bay, certainly one of the best and most stunning spots during our five weeks in New Zealand. In fact we enjoyed it so much that we stayed two nights. In between we drove all the way up to Cape Reinga where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean collide. We reached the Cape just after 10am and were pleasantly surprised that there were hardly any other people. We also stopped at the giant Te Paki Sand Dunes on our way back (yet skipped the boarding down the Dunes – we have to come back when Levi is a little older).
On the West Coast of Northland we saw giant Kauri trees at Waipoua National Forest. Tane Mahuta, the Lord of the forest has an estimated age of about 2000 years. To protect the Kauri trees you even have to sanitize your shoes when entering and leaving the forest. We camped at Port Albert for the night – our last stop before Auckland…