Published: February 8th 2012February 6th 2012
Four days after returning from my holidays I was off again. Not quite so exciting this time: no planes, no foreign languages, no foreign currency and sadly not quite as much sun. All of that said, it was a lovely weekend away, celebrating Waitangi Day in Northland.
I had travelled up to Omapere, about 3 1/2 hours drive north of Auckland, with Cam and Ness, for the long weekend. Cam usually lives in Melbourne, but is currently based in Auckland for work, and Ness is from Christchurch, so was enjoying a respite from the earthquakes; however both are old friends from my Wellington days.
We had booked a bach for three nights on the beachfront, in Omapere. Or so we thought. It wasn't exactly beachfront, but the beach was only a very short walk away. The beach was lovely, with gorgeous soft white sand, unlike the black sand that most NZ west coast beaches have. I have to admit rather sheepishly though that I can't talk about the water - it never quite got hot enough for me to get in.
It was the very definition of a relaxing weekend. We achieved almost nothing, other than sleeping in,
reading books, enjoying cocktails and wine in the evening, and some tiki touring of Northland. I've been up that way before, but it was a good ten years ago and I'd forgotten how isolated this part of NZ is, despite being a few hours drive from Auckland. The Bay of Islands on the East Coast is its prettier cousin, which makes it much more touristy and very popular for Aucklanders on escapes from the city. However despite the fact it was a long weekend and every man and his dog was on the road, the Hokianga was blissfully peaceful.
On the Saturday evening we drove a couple of hundred metres up to the scenic viewpoint to enjoy the sunset. We took a bottle of Moet, an iPhone and some speakers, and sat back to enjoy the sun setting on the west coast. It was truly beautiful, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. A NZ woman walked past at one point and offered to take our photo, which was kind of her, hence we finally achieved a photo with all three of us in it.
On Sunday we drove up to Rawene, about 20 minutes drive
away. Rawene itself was a very sweet little town. It boasts a cute little art gallery, lots of friendly locals, and a very nice cafe where we enjoyed a delicious lunch of fresh fish and salad. From there we took the car ferry over to Kohukohu, and drove about an hour along a windy country gravel road to Mitimiti. It was very remote, but worth the effort. We found ourselves on a remote part of the western coast in Northland, with almost nobody else in sight. There were some locals fishing off the rocks and that was about it. It was typically west coast - rugged, windy, and very beautiful.
Monday was a public holiday, and sadly time to come home. We drove back through the Waipoua Kauri forest, which was a stunning drive. We stopped briefly to enjoy a forest walk and visit Tane Mahuta
, New Zealand's largest known living Kauri Tree. He is certainly impressive, and the forest is very beautiful.
The weekend was a real treat. After six weeks away in places thousands of miles away from NZ, it was nice to remember just what beautiful scenery we have been blessed with, and
how lucky we are to live with it on our doorstep. It really is great to be home.
There are more photos below