We had stayed in the Bunkdown hostel in Whangarei, where they told us about the Native Bird Recovery Centre, where you can actually touch a kiwi bird.
We thought an experience like this would cost quite a bit, but it’s only a $10 minimum donation to help keep the centre running.
This is Sparky, he was caught in a trap and lost his leg, he would have died in the wild, but here he has a full life, munching on worms and helping educate the children of New Zealand.
This was definitely one of he best experiences in New Zealand. Being so inexpensive too was a bonus for the budget traveler.
Robert, the founder of the centre is full of facts and information, and his passion for the birds and their care shows.
He found us worms to feed Sparky.
The centre helps all kinds of birds, the website even has a webcam to watch eggs hatching that have have been abandoned and rescued by the centre.
I have included the link to the website as this was literally the best experience, and it helps injured animals.
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.