Posted by: sunnyharvy | April 29, 2016

Onward to Northland

Coromandel Town charmed us. Of course, you gotta like a town that offers Freedom Camping near great restaurants, clean restrooms, a visitor center with free WiFi, and a laundromat!


The discovery of gold in 1852 brought a boom to this little town and many of the buildings from that period have been restored and re-purposed. Today many talented artists and craftspeople have moved here from around New Zealand.




Everything for the outdoors person… including sportsware!


Rare even in New Zealand – an independently owned supermarket.


Don’t forget to pick up the pig pellets with the milk and eggs!

Unfortunately, our final drive down the west coast of the Coromandel Peninsula took place on a rainy day, so I wasn’t able to take any photographs worth sharing.


Here’s what it would have looked like on a nice day (photo borrowed from Cycle Tour NZ’s website)

We were anxious to get up towards the Bay of Islands in Northland, so we drove right through Auckland, which proved much less stressful than anticipated. We think that choosing to do so on a National Holiday (Anzac Day) may have helped. We soon found even more beautiful beaches to explore.


This is Uretiti Beach where we camped just behind the dunes.


Silky white sand and beach grass – much like Cape Cod.


This place really delivered: a rainbow and a pretty sunrise.

Our next (brief) stop was in Whangarei, the northernmost city in New Zealand and the regional capital of Northland Region. It seems an interesting place, but this trip is not about spending a lot of time in cities, so we just took a quick stroll around.


Whangarei Town Basin


Loaded with huge catamarans – some serious money in that harbor.


Nearly secluded beach cove near our free camp site in Pataua during our tour of Whangarei Heads.


If you look closely you can see where our white van is parked across the Pataua River estuary. That long footbridge is all that directly connects the communities of South and North Pataua.


Photo taken on one of my daily sunrise walks.


Whangarei Falls

Just north of Whangarei is the Tutukaka Coast Loop Road, which we were happy we chose to drive.


A short hike from the road afforded us this view of Woolsey Bay.


And this one of Whale Bay.


Which we walked from end to end. Almost felt like the Caribbean.


Sandy Bay is the most popular surf beach on this coast. We free camped right next to the sand.


By day’s end we had it nearly all to ourselves.


Sunrise from bed through the back windows.


Floating feather


Anyone know what caused these tiny tracks in the sand?


We really enjoyed watching the surfers here and found it difficult to drag ourselves away.


  1. So what critter made the sand trail! Coromandel Town – so cute! The falls – spectacular! You get around!

    I retired! Another of Rick’s 65th birthday presents!

  2. This van seems to have better views to the outside….pretty country for sure!

  3. I must go!

  4. Spent ANZAC Day this year in Auckland and saw Jacinda and Prince William lay wreaths. A somber event.

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