We took the car ferry over the Hokianga harbour.
After consulting a map we decided to head for the Mitimiti coast, this was a bit of a mistake as it was miles and miles of gravel road to find ourselves on a pretty bleak beach!
Onwards to the dunes. Now, everyone else sandboards down the dunes. I’ve already experienced hurtling head first down a sandy mountain in Namibia, so wasn’t in a huge rush to do it again. Instead, we did handstands and dug holes.
Finally, our goal for the day…Cape Reinga. The most Northern point of New Zealand.
As we had eaten the national dish (fish and chips) at Bluff in the southernmost point we had planned to do the same in the north. Cape Reinga is Maori sacred ground so no eating allowed. It was really peaceful there.
We don’t go too many days without an ice cream round here…
The west coast of the northlands is also famous for 90 mile beach (which is actually 55 miles long) apparently is called 90 mile beach because when it was first discovered it was explored on horse back, the maths was that horses can travel about 30 miles in a day, it took them 3 days, therefore its 90 miles long. Like humans, horses are slower in sand, so that’s where the sum went wrong!
90 mile beach was our last western northlands stop. Off to the east side now to Mangonui.
We had our little hearts set on fish and chips so, in the age old tradition we ate them in the car overlooking the harbour.
On our way out of Rotorua, we stopped at Rainbow Springs to see the kiwi birds. Rainbow springs was highly recommended in all of the guides, as the money paid for the ticket goes into conservation measures to keep the kiwi breed alive.
The park itself was a bit of a disappointment, with cages of various animals and bird shows.
The kiwi itself and the log flume made up for it though! (We weren’t allowed to take pictures of the kiwi, although that didn’t stop some people!)
Onwards to Matamata, where, as any true Tolkien/Peter Jackson/Lord Of The Rings fan would know, is where the LOTR and Hobbit movies were filmed.
It was really exciting to be on the actual film set, I did geek out a little bit.
On to the Green Dragon for some ale! Yes! (Harry Potter world need to take a leaf out of Hobbiton’s book and provide a butterbeer in the price of the ticket. Just saying.)
Yep, we tried on hobbit clothes.
Kiwis, flume rides, movie sets, all in one day! Doesn’t get better than this.