Posted by: sunnyharvy | April 24, 2016

We Begin Exploring North Island, NZ

We’ve been on North Island for ten days now and this is the first chance I’ve had to go online with enough time to update this blog. Too busy exploring! We have also been taking advantage of many Freedom Camping options, which means few (if any) amenities. Today it is raining, so we checked into the somewhat pricey Miranda Holiday Park to soak in their hot pool, take showers, and spend time catching up online.


Pulling away from the ferry dock in Picton as we say a sad goodbye to South Island.


Queen Charlotte Sound.


Last view of South Island headlands.


The ferry route (left to right).


We were happy to have a sunny, albeit breezy, day for our crossing.


Oldest lighthouse in New Zealand as we approach Wellington Harbor.


The sign we continually seek.


Beach view from our free camp site on Raumati Beach. “Raumati” is the Māori language word for summer. I bet this beautiful beach is hopping in season. Was still pretty nice during our mid-Autumn visit.


Our view in the opposite direction.


And out the van’s back doors at sunset…ahhhh.

While we were in Raumati Beach we enjoyed a rare night out. How could we resist when there was a fantastic restaurant, Waterfront, just a few steps from our camping spot. The prawn kebabs and pan fried calamari were very tasty and the service friendly! I can’t even describe the Pomegranate Parfait.


So here’s a photo of it. No idea why the creator called it a parfait, but it was delicious. See Al’s hand on the spoon? He could hardly wait to scoop into it.


Waterfront Restaurant a short walk from our van.

In order to make the most of our limited time (3 weeks) on North Island, we were advised to head directly north out of Wellington for mid-island. After our night on the beach, we continued on SH 1 North to Waiouru where the NZ Army Museum offers free overnight parking. The history of the New Zealand Army is explained here with an extensive collection of artifacts, audio visuals and realistic displays. All excellently done, but depressing as every exhibit featured wars (of course).


This example shows one of the modern war exhibits.

Waiouru is on the south-eastern North Island Volcanic Plateau. Our first glimpse of the area’s geo-thermal features is a distant view of Mount Ruapehu, an active volcano, as we drive the Volcanic Loop around Tongariro National Park.


Next post coming soon.


  1. Pomegranate parfait! Mmmmmmm…. and the scenery is delicious too. Glad your ferrying went well!

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