There is no denying, a New Zealand summer is among the best and last year (December) I was finally able to experience a classic Kiwi summer for the first time in a very long time!
It is tradition in New Zealand that after Christmas everyone heads off to the bach (beach/holiday house) with good food, lots of booze and your togs and towel. This year my friends and I hired an awesome bach in Opito Bay which is around 5 hours drive from Auckland. The bach itself was basic but the best part about it was these views.
We picked our rooms, settled in, poured some wine, cranked up the bbq and watch one of the best sunsets I saw in New Zealand.
Opito Bay is a very special area in New Zealand because it is one of the few places in New Zealand where it is possible to walk in the footsteps of wild kiwis. There are signs everywhere to say the kiwis are about and as soon as the sun sets you can hear the call of the kiwis all around you. It was remarkable, as a New Zealander I didn’t know towns like this existed, I thought kiwis lived in the south island far away from any humans so I was delighted.
From Opito Bay we drove for 30 minutes to reach a walking track that took us down to a secluded bay. The walk took around an hour and was a nice scenic walk through someones farm and then down to the beach. One of the things I love about New Zealand is that you can arrive at a beach and have it completely to your self. This was the case at Taronui Bay. The colour of the water was unreal and you could be mistaken for thinking you were on a Caribbean beach.
We swam, threw a ball around, sunbathed and walked around the rocks.
Marsden Estate Winery – Keri Keri
To get the New Years Eve celebrations under way we headed to Marsden Estate winery to sample some of their wines and take in the gorgeous surroundings. A tasting cost $5 but you were refunded that money if you bought a bottle of wine. The tasting took in 10 wines and a port and was a fun way to try some of the wines on offer. We then made our choice, bought a bottle and headed outside to the lovely gardens to enjoy our wine.
It was the perfect way to see off 2016, the sun was shining, I was surrounded by my nearest and dearest friends and I was home for the first time in ages. I was so happy!
We finished off our wines and got another bottle for the celebrations later in the day and headed back to Opito Bay.
New Zealand is well known for its star gazing and because there was less light pollution up north it was a great place to try out the night time setting on my GoPro. This was my first time using the setting and I’m pretty pleased with the results.
Russell – The Bay of Islands
Russell is a fantastic day trip if you are near the Bay of Islands or Paihia. It is a quaint colonial town which has some fantastic old buildings and churches and of course beautiful beaches. After taking a short ferry from Paihia, we met up with some friends here after new years for a lunch at The Duke of Wellington. This pub and restaurant is iconic in Russell and we snagged a table outside for the 15 of us!
The food was delicious and the wine was flowing, it is a great place to sit back, relax and take in the laid back nature of Russel.
It wouldn’t be a kiwi summer without an ice cream so we all grabbed one on the way to explore the tiny town.
We stopped in at the local church which was surrounded by beautiful hydrangeas and before we knew it it was time to head back to the ferry.
The last couple days in Northland were filled with more beach time, kayaking, the biggest ice cream I’ve ever seen and spending quality time with my friends.
Check out my video of my time in Northland, New Zealand.